Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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India's tryst with injuries continues as they look to put together a fit XI for the series decider at The Gabba. A day after Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the tour on Monday, and it emerged that Hanuma Vihari (right hamstring injury) and R Ashwin (back tweak) batted through pain to save the Sydney Test, there is an injury cloud over Jasprit Bumrah ahead of the fourth and final Test starting January 15.
Bumrah was seen clutching his abdomen repeatedly during Australia's second innings on the third day's play in Sydney. He even left the field once for medical attention. However, he bowled 25 overs in all, in a total of 87 overs that India sent down before Australia declared.
Bumrah has had the most workload among fast bowlers among both sides, bowling 117.4 overs across the six innings so far in the Tests. Bumrah, who was rested for the T20I leg of the tour to play India's warm-up fixture in Sydney, has so far featured in each of the three ODIs and the three Tests.
While the physio may have to work overtime to get him ready, India's already inexperienced attack will further be depleted if he is ruled out. If that happens, Mohammed Siraj - all of two Tests old - will be the spearhead, alongside Navdeep Saini and one of the uncapped T Natarajan or Shardul Thakur. India have one other reserve fast bowler in the squad - rookie Kartik Tyagi - who has been used as a net bowler. Tyagi, however, featured in the first warm-up fixture.
Meanwhile, if Ashwin too is deemed unfit, India may have to turn to Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist-spinner, or allrounder Washington Sundar, who stayed back to assist the side after being part of India's T20I series win in December. Kuldeep, who was one of India's finds of their tour in 2018-19, was left out of the five of the six white-ball matches and went wicketless in his only first-class game on tour in Sydney.