India vs South Africa, 2019 - 2nd Test - India Predicted Playing XI

Will Kohli make any changes for the Pune Test?

Indian team
Indian team. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sahil Jain

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After the three-match T20I series finished at 1-1, India drew first blood in the three-match Test series. They were clinical in their performance at Visakhapatnam as they beat South Africa by a margin of 203 runs. After winning the toss and batting first, India rode on the big centuries made by the openers and they racked up 502 before declaring.

South Africa fought hard too. On the back of tons from Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock, the visitors kept the deficit down to 71 runs. However, India bossed the game from the second innings as they put the foot on the accelerator and set South Africa a target of 395 with a little over a day to go.

The Proteas crumbled in the fourth innings to hand India a 1-0 lead in this series. Hence, India gained 40 World Test Championship points as well which solidified their position at the top. The action now moves to Pune for the second Test where India will try to seal the series and create history by becoming the first team to register 11 successive Test series wins at home.

Here we bring you India’s Predicted XI for the Pune Test:

Openers (Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma)

Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma opened together for the first time and had a wonderful outing. Both of them scored big hundreds as they laid the platform for India’s first innings total. The duo shared a mammoth stand of 317 runs in the first innings and made South Africa wait for 82 overs to get their first wicket of the series.

Agarwal scored his maiden Test century which he then converted to a fantastic double ton. Meanwhile, Rohit who opened the batting for the first time in Test cricket could do no wrong. He blasted twin centuries as he scored 176 and 127 to run away with the Man of the Match award as well. It was his acceleration in the second innings that allowed India to set a big target. Hence, Agarwal and Rohit will continue at the top of the order.

Middle-order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha)

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The famed Indian middle-order didn’t have a lot to do in the first innings after Rohit and Agarwal set the platform. Each one of them got starts but couldn’t make it big. Barring Cheteshwar Pujara who made just 6, everyone got starts in the first innings.

In the second essay, Pujara seemed to be struggling at one point. However, he switched gears and complemented Rohit beautifully. The others put the foot on the paddle and helped India score quickly with the declaration insight. Kohli and Rahane looked in decent touch while Saha scored 21 in the first innings and didn’t bat in the second. Despite Saha’s indifferent game behind the stumps, he is set to continue as the first-choice wicket-keeper in this series.

All-rounders (Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin)

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Hanuma Vihari didn’t have a lot to do in the first game. He was dismissed for 10 trying to up the ante. He bowled nine overs in the game and was largely used to help the two main spinners change ends. The spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are simply unstoppable at home.

Time and again, they have spun a web around the opposition and they did the same in the first Test. Ashwin picked up eight wickets in the game while Jadeja returned with six. Moreover, the latter’s contribution with the bat was excellent as well. Jadeja had scores of 30 not out and 40 while Ashwin didn’t have a lot to do with the bat. Hence, they will be itching to have a go once again.

Bowlers (Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami)

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Indian fast bowlers have been magnificent in the last couple of years. They were very good even in the first game. Ishant Sharma picked up a wicket in the first innings and was relentless. On the other hand, Mohammed Shami was fabulous in the second innings as he picked up a five-wicket haul.

The pace-bowling duo has done really well and have used both the new ball and the old one very effectively. Ishant is the workhorse who can bowl long spells and give nothing away while Shami can make an impact in no time, just like he did in the second innings where he blew away the South African batting line-up. Hence, they will continue to lead the pace attack which means Umesh Yadav will be on the bench once again.