Ind vs SA 3rd Test: India eye consolation win

Visitors will look to avoid a whitewash in the final Test.

Johannesburg: Faced with the prospect of a humiliating whitewash, a desperate India would be aiming to make the right selections against an unrelenting South Africa in the third and final Test, starting here on Wednesday.

The hosts have already sealed the series win, after winning the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs and the second Test in Centurion by 135 runs.

This was the first overseas Test series loss for India under Virat Kohli (discounting the 2014 loss in Australia as MS Dhoni was full-time captain back then). The tour has also also ended India’s streak of nine consecutive series’ wins since 2015.

The side, however, will not lose its no.1 Test ranking despite even if the rubber ends 0-3. As if responding to the severe criticism of selections so far, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to return to the side, after mysteriously sitting out the previous Test.

Jasprit Bumrah, a surprise selection in both the previous Tests, is expected to be left out. While all five pacers bowled in the nets on Monday, a more certain hint emanated from the fact that four of them — Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami – batted in pairs and took first-strike on the freshly-rolled practice wickets.

The Indian skipper is expected to make at least one more change though. Since Sunday, when the team regrouped after a three-day mid-tour break, Ajinkya Rahane has batted the longest in nets.

He has had four long practice stints over the past two days and is assured of a starting spot after Rohit Sharma scored 78 runs in four innings at Cape Town and Centurion.

Despite Rahane’s anticipated comeback, however, it isn’t assured that Rohit will make way. India could yet go in with six batsmen and an all-pace attack at the Wanderers.

They were certainly mulling this strategy 48 hours before the Centurion Test, so it only seems logical that this is again an option on a green pitch with ample pace and bounce. Overall, the scenery has changed quite drastically for Kohli.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story