India vs South Africa, 3rd Test – India's Predicted Playing XI

India vs South Africa, 3rd Test – India’s Predicted Playing XI

The team management is in a tricky situation with regards to the Playing XI ahead of the third Test.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After the triumphs down south, the Indian juggernaut will move towards North India for the third Test against South Africa. The visitors, after suffering a 203-run loss in the first game, sank further in the previous encounter. They were handed over an embarrassing innings and 137 runs loss in Pune. While the focus for them is on finding the right team combination, Team India has got other plans.

In MS Dhoni’s hometown at Ranchi, they’d want to settle for nothing less than a clean sweep. Such is the brand of cricket they are playing that they will push for a win at all costs. While there is a rain threat looming ahead of this match, Virat Kohli and his men will hope to dominate the opposition in the limited time that they get. While the pitch is quite dry for the third Test, the conditions are expected to be overcast on all the five days. Will that prompt any change in the Playing XI?

Here is what the Possible Playing XI could be for India:

Openers (Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal)

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After the twin centuries in the Vizag Test, Rohit Sharma suffered a failure in the second Test. Kagiso Rabada bowled a testing spell and put doubts in the mind of the batsman. In the end, he was successful enough as he managed to find Rohit’s edge and sent him back for just 14 runs. The third and the final Test is going to be another trail for Rohit Sharma as the new ball is expected to swing around. His patience and shot selection in such conditions will be looked at keenly and he’d hope to come good this time.

Mayank Agarwal, on the other hand, has been quite fabulous. He followed his double century in Vizag with another hundred in Pune. In India, he is an absolute beast and understands the conditions really well. Thus far, he has done everything right to justify his spot as an opener in the Test team and will want to continue doing well.

Middle Order (Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk))

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Cheteshwar Pujara was going through a lean patch before this series. However, he’s got back-to-back half-centuries now and that should keep him in a good space. He will be vital at number three for India if they lose one of the openers early. Virat Kohli took a while to register a Test century this year. But when he got there, he ensured that he made it memorable by bringing up his highest Test score. He is hitting the ball beautifully and is toying around with the bowlers.

Ajinkya Rahane will continue with his position at number five. He looked good with a half-century in the last match and will want to get a big score in Ranchi – the same place where he led the Indian Test team for the first time. Wriddhiman Saha will get a go ahead of Rishabh Pant once again. In testing conditions, he’s been inspirational behind the stumps and has lifted the team up with his efforts. Saha hasn’t had to do much with the bat but will be eagerly waiting for his opportunity.

All Rounders (Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin)

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be licking their lips after looking at a dry wicket at Ranchi. They are expected to get great amount of purchase from the track and will look to trap the South Africa batsmen in their spin web. India will rely a lot on them just as it was in the previous two games.

Both of them have been hitting beautiful lines and lengths perplexing the batsmen. While Jadeja could get into this team as a pure bowler alone, his performances with the bat have been an added incentive. He was the ‘Man of the Match’ the last time a Test was played at this venue.

Bowlers (Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami)

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Picking the three bowlers for this game could be slightly tricky for Virat Kohli and Team India management. While the dry pitch prompts to add an extra spinner to the attack, the overcast conditions suggest otherwise. The Indian captain, though, is likely to go ahead with his tried and tested attack. The pace troika of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami haven’t bowled much in this series.

Thus, there is no such workload factor that comes into play as yet. With the older ball, there could be some reverse swing on offer as well. Thus, all three pacers are likely to play this game. Umesh Yadav, who was included in the side for the last match, has bowled well and should retain his place. This implies that Kuldeep Yadav might have to wait further for his opportunity.