South Africa vs India, 3rd Test Preview: Pride the priority for India in Johannesburg
The Indians will be hoping to salvage something from the already lost Test series.
Published - Jan 23, 2018 6:43 pm | Updated - Jan 23, 2018 11:01 pm
Having played and lost two Test matches already, Virat Kohli‘s formidable India side has been on the receiving end of a relentless brunt of criticism. The fact that they travelled to South Africa with such confidence, despite their under-preparedness was one of the highlights of the ordeal.
However, while they have conceded the series, one of the many losses in overseas condition, the Indians have been pulled-up for their poor shot selection. Run-outs have also been a feature of their batting while the dropped catches too have not gone down too well with the stuffed shirts behind the scenes pulling the selection strings.
For Faf du Plessis, this series has been one of redemption. He had been a part of the side that toured the subcontinent earlier and had been handed a thumping no less. An unassailable 2-0 lead in the series may have shut his critics for the time being, but there is still a point to prove at the Wanderers.
While the red-hot pace attack has ceased to disappoint in conditions favouring them, the manner in which the batting has fired has been least expected. They seemingly have a lot more confidence as they bat with the batsmen choosing to back themselves by taking calculated risks at will. In short, du Plessis will be hoping for more of the same as they take on India in the final Test.
All eyes will be on India’s Virat Kohli as he makes an attempt to get his team selection right this time around. A few eyes will also be on South Africa’s pace battery that has been an absolute joy to watch for many. The Indians do not have the worst of records at the Wanderers having won a Test match at the venue in 2006 when S Sreesanth ran riot. An intense encounter is on the cards, but the manner in which the Indians would go about their team selection remains to be seen.
What they said
Kohli’s antics in the presser following the match did not go down too well as many lashed out at the Indian skipper for his outburst. While the press awaits the recall of Ajinkya Rahane, Ravi Shastri has come out and addressed the under-preparation of the Indian side. “There was a thought [to send the Test specialists early] but then you are disjointed,” Shastri said. “Even as a team you are disjointed. Who is going to handle things here? Preparation wise or whatever. Those thoughts can be put out in hindsight. But, in hindsight, I would say the best thing would be, reach there two weeks earlier.”
While Shastri came out in defence of the Indian side, Vernon Philander reiterated the Proteas spirit prior to the start of the match.
‘’We want to win each and every Test match that we play,” Philander said in Johannesburg on Monday. “There is no dead-rubber game for us, we will prepare as well as we can over the next two days to make sure we are ready come Wednesday. There are no dead-rubbers when we play any team in the world. It is always hard work when you play back-to-back Test matches,” he said.
Aiden Markram, the rising star of Proteas cricket has suffered a side strain and will not be risked in this game. Thenius de Bruyn is expected to take his place with Hashim Amla opening the batting alongside Dean Elgar. Temba Bavuma has been ruled out as well following a finger fracture.
Reports have suggested that Chris Morris might replace Keshav Maharaj due to the pace offered by the Johannesburg surface. Lungi Ngidi is certain to keep his place following that impressive performance in the second innings in Centurion.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (C), Thenius de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock (WK), Chris Morris/Keshav Maharaj, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada
Although it is highly unpredictable what Virat Kohli has in mind for the final Test, it is clear that Shikhar Dhawan will make his way back into the side following an injury to KL Rahul. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to come into the side for Ravichandran Ashwin following the reputation of the surface assisting pacers. Parthiv Patel had a horrific outing in Centurion but it isn’t likely that they will opt for Dinesh Karthik.
Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami
Head to Head Record
Overall: Total number of Tests played – 35, South Africa won – 15, India won – 10, Draw – 10
In South Africa: Total number of Tests played – 19, South Africa won – 10, India won – 2, Draw – 7
Focus will be on-
After King Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane has been perhaps the best Indian batsman in the current scheme of things. His exclusion in the side was met with shock while the skipper went ahead and put his faith in Rohit Sharma who has had a terrible series so far. However, Rahane is a gritty cricketer and is expected to feature in the third and final Test at the Wanderers. He will be the point of focus as far as the Indians are concerned.
The former South African skipper has had a dismal series with the bat. With a bevvy of low scores, Amla’s solidity at the top of the order has begun to wane. However, with an injury to Markram, the 34-year old is expected to open the batting alongside Dean Elgar. It remains to be seen how he performs up the order.
0 – Team India hasn’t lost a single Test at the Wanderers, the only team to have an unbeaten record.
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