Suresh Raina India
Suresh Raina will hope to see his name in the playing XI for the fourth Test against AustraliaReuters

India have plenty to think about heading into the "dead rubber, but there is still pride to play for" fourth Test match against Australia in Sydney, with new captain Virat Kohli set to make a couple of key decisions when it comes to his team for the final game of the Test series.

MS Dhoni has retired and the obvious replacement will be Wridhhiman Saha, barring a late injury problem. How interesting it would be if Saha were to pick up an injury in training – the wicketkeeper had his right thumb bandaged, according to ESPNCricinfo – forcing Dhoni to come out of Test retirement and don the gloves for one final time in whites.

Saha, despite the strapping, though, did bat and keep in the nets and that suggests there is nothing to worry about on that front.

There is plenty to ponder for Kohli in other departments, though, with that decision to be made on which batsmen to play in the final Test match of the series – Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul.

While Kohli, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, despite his not-so-great performances in the series, are definitely in, two of Raina, Rohit, Dhawan and Rahul will miss out the final Test.

Rohit looks like a certain candidate to sit out, having been dropped for the third Test, and it remains to be seen who joins him on the sidelines.

Rahul had one of the worst Test debuts you are likely to see, with the right-hander, so composed in domestic cricket, playing two pathetic shots to throw his wicket away in both innings in Melbourne.

However, you cannot judge a player by one Test match, and Kohli and the rest of the India management might want to give the right-hander, who scored tonnes of runs in the Ranji Trophy last season, another game to prove he belongs.

If that is the case then it could be a straight fight between Dhawan and Raina, who was given a long run-out in the nets on Monday.

Raina has been sitting on the sidelines desperate for that opportunity to make a Test comeback, and with Dhawan looking like a batsman who will not give you more than 20-30 runs in an innings, it might be best for India to propel Rahul into the opening slot alongside Vijay and give Raina an opportunity in the middle order.

The fact that Raina can bowl a few overs also works in his favour, and he is arguably the best fielder in this India team and a safe-as-a-house catcher in the slips.

While one of Raina, Dhawan and Rahul will be disappointed, there are a few decisions to make for Kohli on the bowling front as well. Mohammed Shami has been way too unpredictable and could be replaced by either Varun Aaron, who is back in Australia after flying to India for his grandfather's funeral, or Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Indeed both of the bowlers could come in, with Ishant Sharma looking tired and weary and Umesh Yadav giving away way too many runs as well. With the Sydney pitch always likely to aid spin, India could go in with an extra spinner in Karn Sharma or Akshar Patel, or even go ahead with five bowlers, even if that looks unlikely considering India's brittle nature with the bat.

At the other end, you have Australia, who will be missing the services of Mitchell Johnson, who was ruled out of the final Test match with a tight hamstring.

Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were in contention to replace the tearaway left-armer and Australia have decided to go with a similar bowler and namesake in Starc, who was not too impressive earlier in this series, even if he has put in some commendable performances for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.

"I'm sure he's looking forward to playing out here in front of his home ground at the SCG," said Australia skipper Steven Smith. "I think having one left-armer's good for us.

"The way we've seen Mitch go back into the Big Bash, it looks like he's bowled exceptionally quick. We're looking for hopefully for more of the same he's produced in the Big Bash this week.

"If he sustains that for long periods and if he keep that type of pace up and sustain it throughout whole day he's going to be an extremely amazing bowler."

The rest of the lineup remains unchanged for Australia, meaning another opportunity for Joe Burns to cement his place in the team.

Australia XI (confirmed): Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Steven Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

India (confirmed): Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Wroddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.

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