Virat Kohli's presence in the squad is expected to rejuvenate the Indian side while they will eye to win the historic first-ever away Test series against South Africa by defeating hosts in the third and final Test of the series, starting in Cape Town on Tuesday. Although, before the series, hosts were being written off as the weaker side in front of visitors and the first Test defeat stamped already battered the Dean Elgar-led side, however, the team bounced back strongly in the second Test and handed over shocking results to the visitors by ensuring 7-wicket victory to level the series 1-1.
In his pre-match virtual press conference, Kohli who will be playing his 99th Test match confirmed that he will be leading the side, and expressed his disappointment at missing out from the 2nd Test. The red-ball skipper also confirmed that Siraj is not "match fit."
Head to Head:
The pitch at Newlands will get some extra bounce off the surface and the pacers will continue to play a major role while operating on this surface. The batters need to be on their toes while batting on this bowling-friendly surface.
India's major concern in the match will be their batting lineup as batters have performed but in bits & pieces. Openers KL Rahul & Mayank Agarwal have been in good touch. Next is Cheteshwar Pujar who at number 3 showed some positive signs in the second Test but that was just one of many innings. Ajinkya Rahane has the same fate as Pujara, and both will be under heavy scrutiny in the final match. In the middle order, Rishabh Pant's lacklustre shots is another trouble for Kohli. India's bowling lineup has been its pride in recent Test outings. Although, Siraj's injury came as an opportunity for Ishant Sharma, who is likely to get a chance in place of the injured pacer.
South Africa came out as a stronger unit in the second Test and they collectively did well to win the Test. South Africa chased down the total to make it their first Test win against India at this venue. Dean Elgar stood tall with the bat once again and piled up an unbeaten 96 to help his team get across the line. Bowlers like, Kagiso Rabadda, Olivier, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen will have a task to complete for their skipper. Rassie van der Dussen played a vital 40-run knock as well, while Temba Bavuma, too, has been in pretty good form.
Young Keegan Petersen also played a stunning 62-run knock off 118 deliveries in the second inning and showed why South Africa has trusted him to bat at number three in that batting order. All in all South Africa’s batting looks in good touch and would be confident of posting good totals in Cape Town. Their record in Cape Town is outstanding. They have never lost a Test match against India at this ground and would look to continue the winning streak
India: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi