India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first in the second Test against South Africa in Pune on Thursday. Keeping the pitch in mind, India made one change to their playing XI that took field in Vizag in a 203-run win. Right-arm quick Umesh Yadav has been drafted in place of middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari.
South Africa, who are aiming to bounce back after conceding a 0-1 lead in the three-match series, have also made one change to their eleven. They have also brought in a fast bowler, Anrich Nortje in place of spinner Dane Piedt.
This is Kohli’s 50th Test as captain.
“With the hard pitch and grass, we needed a new seam option. We bat until eight, so there is no problem with batting depth. So, unfortunately Hanuma Vihari misses out and Umesh Yadav comes into the side. I don’t think more than (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja we need more spin. With Ishant (Sharma) and (Mohammed) Shami bowling their hearts out we needed a third seam option in Umesh so it’s basically just strengthening our bowling,” Kohli said at the toss.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis rued the disappointment of not taking 20 wickets in the first Test and is hopeful Pune wicket will turn out to be more helpful to his bowlers.
“You can almost take Day 4 and 5 out of the equation if we bowl really well in the first innings. We’re bringing in Nortje for Piedt, so just a bit of extra pace, and a three-seam attack. That first innings was positive in the first Test, that showed us and proved to us, that we could score big even in India and that was very inspiring. We couldn’t take 20 wickets in the first Test so Nortje is a good wicket-taking option. It’s a big day for him today,” Du Plessis said.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje