Pride at Stake for Kohli’s Men, Rahane Set to Return India vs SA

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India will be playing South Africa in the third and the final Test of the series at The Wanderers in Johannesburg from Wednesday.

South Africa have already sealed the series win, after winning the first two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion.

This will be India’s first overseas Test series loss under Virat Kohli. The tour has also ended India’s streak of nine consecutive series wins since 2015.

A green top awaits both the teams at Johannesburg, so captain Kohli is expected to go with an all seam attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to return to the side after sitting out for the second match.

Ajinkya Rahane is also expected to make the cut in the starting line-up in place of Rohit Sharma, who has managed only 78 runs in four innings. Parthiv Patel, who had an ordinary outing in last Test, will most probably retain his place.

A win in the last Test for India may be of zero importance as far as fate of the series is concerned, but a win would have far greater implication for Virat Kohli and Co.

India will be playing South Africa in the third and the final Test of the series at The Wanderers in Johannesburg from Wednesday.

South Africa have already sealed the series win, after winning the first two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion.

This will be India’s first overseas Test series loss under Virat Kohli. The tour has also ended India’s streak of nine consecutive series wins since 2015.

A green top awaits both the teams at Johannesburg, so captain Kohli is expected to go with an all seam attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to return to the side after sitting out for the second match.

Ajinkya Rahane is also expected to make the cut in the starting line-up in place of Rohit Sharma, who has managed only 78 runs in four innings. Parthiv Patel, who had an ordinary outing in last Test, will most probably retain his place.

A win in the last Test for India may be of zero importance as far as fate of the series is concerned, but a win would have far greater implication for Virat Kohli and Co.

India have never won a Test Series in South Africa, but at the same time, they have always avoided the embarrassment of a whitewash in the African nation.

In all previous tours to South Africa, India somehow managed to draw or win a Test match to avoid a whitewash.

When Virat Kohli and his men take the field at Johannesburg on Wednesday, they too must replicate a similar feat. By no means Virat Kohli would like to be the captain of the first Indian side which was whitewashed in South Africa.

In the past, a far superior South African team, boasting of Jacques Kallis, Greame Smith, Shaun Pollock, Gary Kirsten in their line-up, have never succeeded to inflict a 3-0 drubbing on India.

Before this series, the closest South Africa had come to blank out India in a Test series at home was in 1996-97 in a three-match series where India managed to draw the last Test after losing the first two.

Coincidentally, like this time, in that series too, the last Test was held at Johannesburg.

India should go for a win from the word go as a victory in the Johannesburg Test would do a world of good for the underperforming Indian batsmen.

Batting has always been Indian team’s forte, but somehow, the same batting has let the team down in South Africa. After a splendid performance by the bowlers, it was expected of the batsmen to drive the team home, but that was not to happen.

In the first Test in Cape Town, India managed to score only 209 and 135 in both the innings. The batting again failed in the second Test in Centurion where they scored 307 in the first innings and were bowled out for 151 in the second innings.

A win in the third Test might shift the momentum in India’s favour ahead of the limited-over series in South Africa.

India are slated to play England and Australia in their own backyard later in 2018, so a Test win in South Africa will be ideal or as the current Indian coach would put it, “That’s what the doctor ordered for Team India.”