The third and final Test of South Africa’s tour of India gets underway this Saturday at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi. Although South Africa began the tour with on a positive note by levelling the T20-I series against the hosts, it has all gone spirally downwards for them in the longest format. While all the talk was about Jadeja, Ashwin and the eminent spin threat, the trio of Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli has pummeled the opposition into the submission. With pride and valuable points up for grabs in the ICC World Test Championship, South Africa will look to overcome an injury and form crisis to reinstate their credentials in the Test format although they face a huge task against an in-form India side, hell-bent on making it 3-0 in the third Test.
India vs South Africa, 3rd Test
October 19th 2019, 9:30 AM IST
JSCA International Stadium Complex, Pune
The pitch generally favours the spinners with the batsmen also able to play their natural game once they get themselves in. The previous Test here between India and Australia saw Steven Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara score hundreds indicating the nature of the pitch. But, with the ICC regulations in play, a more sportive and result-oriented pitch is on the cards
The weather forecast isn’t great for this game with thunderstorms expected on all five days. All the signs direct towards a tame draw although the nature of the pitch would suggest otherwise. With the persistent rains, the seamers could come into play early on.
Injuries: No injuries were reported from either side
Probable Playing XI
Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohd Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma
South Africa is facing a few injury troubles with Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram ruled out. This paves the way for Zubayr Hamza and possibly, George Linde to make their first appearance in the Test series. There are doubts over Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, who haven’t done much to cement their place in the side. Their batting performance as a unit revolves around those of Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, who haven’t been able to score big hundreds like their counterparts. While Vernon Philander should keep his place in the side, Anrich Nortje should make way for Lungi Ngidi for this game.
Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and George Linde
Going on current form, Ravindra Jadeja, Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma warranty a place in the side without any question. Along with him, Ravichandran Ashwin, who is the highest wicket-taker in the series with 14 is also a worthwhile option. Cheteshwar Pujara has happy memories at this venue with a hundred to his name against Australia in 2017. He is preferred over Virat Kohli in spite of his career best performance in Pune. As for the wicket-keeper slot, Quinton de Kock is picked while Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar should also score some runs with the South most likely to bat twice while the same cannot be said for the Indians though. Mohammad Shami has impressed with his ability with the old ball and should pick a few wickets alongside Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi in the fantasy team for this game.
1. Ravindra Jadeja
2. Cheteshwar Pujara
3. Ravichandran Ashwin
Quinton de Kock, Points: 70-72, Grade: A
Mayank Agarwal, Points: 84-86, Grade: A
Cheteshwar Pujara, Points: 140-142, Grade: A
Rohit Sharma, Points: 70-72, Grade: A
Faf du Plessis, Points: 70-72, Grade: A
Dean Elgar, Points: 50-52, Grade: B
Ravichandran Ashwin, Points: 100-104, Grade: A
Ravindra Jadeja, Points: 140-142, Grade: A
Mohd Shami, Points: 55-57, Grade: A
Lungi Ngidi, Points: 60-62, Grade: A
Kagiso Rabada, Points: 70-72, Grade: A
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