Having won the first Test of the series in Vizag by 203 runs, India will be eager to wrap up the three-match series as they take on South Africa in the second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, starting Thursday.
India will be hopeful that their openers – Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal – will take off from where they had left in the first Test. While Rohit, playing his first Test as an opener scored twin tons, Mayank scored a double hundred in the first innings.
While the likes of Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari largely went untested as the openers and Cheteshwar Pujara (in the second innings) did most of the scorings, that won’t bother India much.
Coming to India’s bowling, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will once again share the spin-bowling responsibilities. The spin duo shared 14 wickets between themselves – eight for Ashwin and six for Jadeja – as India sealed a win in the series opener. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, meanwhile, are certain to play. While Ishant scalped a wicket in the first match, Shami scalped a five-wicket haul on the final day of the first Test.
South Africa, on the other hand, may make some changes to their bowling unit and bring in Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje in place of Vernon Philander. While the Philander offers control, he could not pick too many wickets in the first Test as India scored big. The South African spinners – Keshav Maharaj and Senuran Muthusamy – will need to improve their showings if South Africa aim to trouble India and level the series in Pune.
Coming to South Africa’s batting, while the tail wagged in the second innings and Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored hundreds, the visitors will need to find more consistency and put up a big total on the board to trouble India.
India: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Dane Piedt, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje