South Africa vs India, 3rd Test: India's predicted XI for Cape Town
- Captain Virat Kohli is expected to return to lead the side in Cape Town Test
- Hanuma Vihari may retain his place after he played a gritty innings in the Johannesburg Test
- Fast bowler Umesh Yadav could play the third Test
India and South Africa are set to face each other in the series decider in Cape Town from Tuesday. The three-Test series is currently level at 1-1. India won the first Test in Centurion by 113 runs while South Africa bounced back with a remarkable seven-wicket win in Johannesburg, so the third and final Test at Newlands, Cape Town is going to be a thriller. India will aim for their maiden Test series win in South Africa.
India’s regular captain Virat Kohli, who missed the second Test due to an upper back spasm, is expected to return to the XI as indicated by head coach Rahul after the Johannesburg Test. KL Rahul, who led India in the second Test, will be free to focus on his batting. Rahul, the centurion of the first Test, will be key for India to post a big total. Mayank Agarwal, despite his poor string of performances, is expected to be backed and play the third Test as an opener.
Change in batting department likely
However, there is going to be some changes in the middle-order with Kohli’s arrival in the team. Hanuma Vihari, who played gritty 40 not out in India’s second innings of the second Test, is likely to retain his place. Recently former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir said Vihari deserves more chances and backing similar to Ajinkya Rahane.
Kohli, who himself has been struggling to get back to form, will look to better his performance in the final Test. Kohli scored 35 and 18 in the first Test. He has not scored any hundred since November 2019 when he played a 136-run innings against Bangladesh in Kolkata. The Cape Town game will be Kohli’s 99th Test.
In the Johannesburg Test, both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane failed to justify their selection as they failed for three and zero in the first innings. In the second innings, the duo tried hard to convince the team management that they were valuable for the team, scoring a fifty each while sharing a 111-run partnership. But as Vihari is probable for the Cape Town Test, either Pujara or Rahane, who recently lost vice-captaincy to Rohit Sharma, is likely to be dropped.
Umesh Yadav to replace Mohammed Siraj?
In the bowling department, Ravichandran Ashwin, who took three wickets in the series so far, will continue to be India’s prime spinner, while Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will pair up as pacers. However, Mohammed Siraj, who was seen in some trouble in the second Test, is expected to be rested. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav may play in his place as the bouncy Newlands pitch will assist the pacers.
India’s possible XI for Cape Town Test: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav