Dharamsala [India], Mar. 25 : Ajinkya Rahane is leading India in the deciding Test against Australia in Dharamsala, as skipper Virat Kohli was ruled out following a shoulder injury, causing a major blow to the guests.
Australia captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat in the fourth Test, and also went with an unchanged team that drew the third match in Ranchi last week.
Ajinkya Rahane became India's 33rd Test captain while left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav makes his debut.
Ahead of the coin toss, it became quite clear that Kohli would not be playing, as he was visibly missing from the warm up.
Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar stepped in for fast bowler Ishant Sharma. After sustaining the injury on day one in the third Test in Ranchi, Kohli had made it clear that he will not play the Dharamsala Test if he was not "100 per cent" fit.
"When we put these things in place the first thing I said was 'I'm not different from anybody else'. The same process applies for me as it does all the other members of the team. There's no special treatment for anyone. If I'm 100 per cent fit for the game is the only condition that I will take the field. The physio wants to give it a bit more time till I can test myself and will probably make a call on it later tonight or tomorrow before the game.
We'll have to give it that much time more for me to make that call with the physiotherapist," Kohli said on Friday.
Australian captain Steve Smith had expressed confidence in Rahane, saying that he will be able to lead India in Kohli's place.
Responding to a question about the impact of Kohli's absence on India, Smith said, "I think (India) would be fine.
I think Ajinkya Rahane would probably step up to captain their side. I thought he did a pretty good job last week when he was out on the field in Virat's absence." Squads for Dharamsala Test: India: L Rahul, M Vijay, C Pujara, A Rahane, K Nair, R Ashwin, W Saha, R Jadeja, B Kumar, K Yadav, U Yadav Australia: D Warner, M Renshaw, S Smith, S Marsh, P Handscomb, G Maxwell, M Wade, P Cummins, S O'Keefe, N Lyon, J Hazlewood The series is still level at 1-1, after the third test ended in a draw in Ranchi.
Australia had won the first match by 333 runs, before India bounced back with a 75-run win in the second game.