Johannesburg: The Indians led by Virat Kohli have a final shot at redemption when they take on a high-flying South Africa in the third Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Having been totally outplayed in every department of the game, a sense of uneasiness and doubt has creeped into the Indian camp- a team that looked like a well-oiled machine few months ago. Team selection issues have taken centre-stage in the two Tests so far and simply, things haven’t gone the way Kohli would have wanted for his team. Although South Africa have already won the series 2-0, this Test match at the Wanderers is by no means, a dead rubber.
Pride would be at stake as the Indians finally look to pose a threat to the hosts, who have seen the young guns step up and rise to the occasion. India still is the number one team in Test cricket and would give in their all to take atleast something away from this three-match series. But for South Africa, it is all about toppling the Kohli led side.
A win in Wanderers would do a world of good for Faf Du Plessis and his men who would then have the opportunity to overtake India during their tour to Australia in March where they need to win atleast two Tests. If they fail, then they would have to depend on India losing out against England.
Ajinkya Rahane, who has been kept out of the playing XI because of, ‘form’ related issues seems likely to finally get a game. Kohli would also look forward to take out the positives from both the Tests and field a team that would pose a tough challenge to the Proteas at home. Despite being in controlling positions in both the matches, the Indians have failed to capitalise and have let the game slip away which has resulted in both the losses. Kohli thus stressed that they would focus on controlling those situations and not letting them go away this time.
“We are going to treat this Test as an individual Test match – we need to come out and play our best cricket and try to be in the same positions we were in the first two Tests and then try to consolidate on it and actually close the game,” he said.
With pride up for grabs, the top Test sides clash once again in the battle of titans. Although one clearly has the psychological advantage over the other, the contest would turn out to be a riveting one as India, for the first-time in nine series have faced a serious challenge in the five-day format. Who would come out on top this time?
Probable playing XI (India): Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel (wk), Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma/Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.
Probable playing XI (South Africa): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi.
Match would begin at 1:30 pm IST and would be telecasted live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 1 HD and Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD.