India axe Gambhir, Raina

India have left Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina out of their squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match series against Australia.

The left-handed Murali Vijay and the uncapped Shikhar Dhawan have been selected in the absence of left-handed duo Gambhir and Raina, while Harbhajan Singh is one of four spinners in the 15-man squad.

India's highly-regarded batting line-up misfired in their series loss to England at the end of last year but Gambhir was not the worst offender, scoring 251 runs at an average of 41.83.

However, the left-hander, who averages 44.18 in his 54 Tests, has not scored heavily for a while, with no Test hundreds to his name since January 2010.

He has been axed and Virender Sehwag, who ended a two-year century drought during the England series, may drop into the middle order so Vijay and Dhawan can open together.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has earned a maiden call-up to the Test fold after impressing in recent limited-overs series against Pakistan and England, and his fellow seamer Ishant Sharma has been selected despite concerns over his recurring ankle injury.

Ravichandran Aswhin, Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha are the other members of the spin quartet alongside the veteran Harbhajan.

The first Test gets underway in Chennai on 22 February.

India squad: MS Dhoni (captain), V Sehwag, S Dhawan, C Pujara, S Tendulkar, V Kohli, R Jadeja, H Singh, R Ashwin, P Ojha, B Kumar, A Rahane, A Dinda, M Vijay, I Sharma.