The news about Ishant's omission from the playing XI broke just ahead of the toss, when Pankaj Singh was handed his Test cap by former skipper Sourav Ganguly.
After the second Test in Lord's, where Ishant took career best figures of 7-74 to help India to a 95-run victory, skipper M S Dhoni had raised some concerns about his fitness after the medium pacer had bowled a long match-winning spell.
But in the first two days of practice leading up to the match here, there were no hints that Ishant was nursing an injury. He didn't bowl on Friday and it was hinted that he was just recovering from the physical exertions of the second Test.
Ishant did bowl yesterday, a day ahead of the Test, and was reportedly seen walking off midway through the practice session with an ice-pack on his left ankle. The team management though denied that this was a fitness issue at all.
Even during the press conference, when asked about his bowling attack composition, Dhoni did not mention that there were any concerns regarding Ishant's availability for this match. Then, on the morning of the Test, he was ruled out of the game.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma was also drafted into the side in place of Stuart Binny, with India's five-bowler theory coming to an end. England won the toss and elected to bat first. They made three changes to their XI, with Jos Buttler making his Test debut in place of keeper Matt Prior. Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan were brought in for Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett.
India (two changes): Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma (Stuart Binny out), MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pankaj Singh (Ishant Sharma out), Mohammad Shami.
England (three changes): Alastair Cook, Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler (Matt Prior out), Chris Woakes (Ben Stokes out), Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan (Liam Plunkett out), James Anderson.