Virat Kohli & Co. will be looking to salvage pride when they take on South Africa at Johannesburg in the third and final Test of the three-match series starting Wednesday.
After succumbing at Cape Town and Centurion respectively, India will be hoping to show a better version of themselves and move on from the disappointment. In this dead-rubber Test, it will once again highlight India’s battle against the Proteas pacers. India haven’t enjoyed success in any of their previous away tours in South Africa and this time too they have lost the series 2-0. Therefore, it is all about starting afresh in a place where India have never lost a Test match.
|VENUE||Matches||India (wins)||South Africa (wins)|
Selection and Team news
India will be hoping to have a look at vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was dropped for the first two Tests. It will be interesting to see whom Rahane replaces in the side. Even Parthiv Patel’s place is not secure as the side could also see themselves fielding a third different wicketkeeper in three matches after the player failed to impress with both bat and glove at Centurion.
Dinesh Karthik was called upon to replace the injured Wriddiman Saha and could get a look in. The bowling attack is likely to be the same that was seen at Centurion. Kohli had stated after the last Test that the players have been below par and need to have a hard look at themselves. So what the Indian players will offer this time will keep the fans eager.
Cheteshwar Pujara will be hungry to prove his potential in overseas conditions after failing in the first two Tests.
South Africa are unlikely to make a change to the playing XI and will probably stick to the same four-man pace attack that did the job comfortably at SuperSport Park. There is a possibility of all-rounder Chris Morris getting a look in but who he will replace remains to be seen. Spinner Keshav Maharaj has been scarcely used and if Faf du Plessis decides to change his side then the former could be omitted.
Opening duo of Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar could be called upon to bowl some spin if Maharaj sits out.
Alert! Slip cordon at it this moment #TeamIndia #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/jWXAB3Jhf6
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 22, 2018
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Pacers once again hold the key
Both sides have bowled well in this series and have taken 40 wickets each over two Tests. The Wanderers will once again await the pace batteries of both sides as they will hope to extract what the pitch will have on offer. For the Proteas all eyes will be on Lungi Ngidi, who had a dream debut in the second Test as he went on to pick six for 39 in the 2nd innings. Kagiso Rabada has been in prime form and so has Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
For India Ishant Sharma was superb in the 2nd Test and will be expected to lead the attack. Ishant was not only amongst the wickets, but also kept the runs in check. Mohammed Shami has found the rhythm once again as Jasprit Bumrah too has impressed with his variations. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin too has stepped up and Kohli will once again hope to use him wisely and attack with him.
Leading wicket takers in the series
- Vernon Philander (SA): 10
- Mohd Shami (IND): 9
- Indian pacers have taken 30 wickets so far at an average of 25.80 in the series
- Proteas pacers have taken 36 wickets so far at an average of 18.60
Plenty of pace and bounce is expected with some sideways movement. This will delight the pacers and Indian batsmen will have to bat their heart out to avoid collapses.
ALSO READ: South Africa vs India 2018: Proteas Pacers Steam In High To Seal 1st Test
Kohli & AB de Villiers, the key at Wanderers
India’s batting have faltered badly in both Tests and there has been too much pressure on Virat Kohli. He played superbly in the 2nd Test smashing a fantastic 153 runs in the first innings. He will once again hold the key for India and look to take the weight of the side’s batting on his shoulders. But the others need to support him and build partnerships.
On the other hand AB de Villiers too steeped up for his side with the bat and in the field too he excelled. Just when the others besides Faf du Plessis have not been consistent, India’s prime target will be AB. He defined the Proteas’ fightback in both Tests and got them to a position of safety.
Kohli: Matches 2, Runs 191, Best 153, Average 47.75
AB: Matches 2, Runs 200, Best 80, Average 50.00
India: 1 M Vijay, 2 SKL Rahul, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Parthiv Patel 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 AB de Villiers 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Chris Morris, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lungi Ngidi
Time (IST): 2:00 pm
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