After a 72-run win in the first Test at Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa take on India in the second Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion. Another win for South Africa will seal the series in their favour. India will however have an uphill task of winning this match and levelling the series. India batsmen, especially the top-order failed to stack up the runs and as a result put up an underwhelming performance with the willow which led to shortage of runs on board. India will be looking to rectify that in this match.
South Africa will be without Dale Steyn in this match as he has been ruled out for 4 weeks following a heel injury that the pacer suffered in the first Test. As a result, South Africa have added Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi as cover. South Africa also have the option of calling on the services of all-rounder Chris Morris if needed. Morris’ inclusion in the XI will add more depth in the batting department. However, his primary role will be to provide support to the pace trio of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel.
South Africa’s likely XI: Faf du Plessis (c), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Chris Morris, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada
India’s Ravindra Jadeja who was not fit due to a viral infection is likely to be fit for the second Test. India, as a result will have the entire squad fit and available for selection for this Test. They have a selection conundrum. India faced a lot of criticism when they included Rohit Sharma ahead of vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the XI at Newlands. That experiment could be short-lived as Rahane could return to the team. Also, with Jadeja fit, India will have to take a call whether to include him or keep Ravichandran Ashwin in the XI.
There is pressure on Shikhar Dhawan as well after he played two rash shots to get out in the first Test. India might go with KL Rahul in his place for this crucial match. Rahul might be better suited to open in these conditions.
The fast bowling attack is unlikely to undergo any changes. The trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah did a fine job. If India do need to replace any of them, they have Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma waiting on the sidelines.
India likely XI: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.
The surface will not have any green, according to the groundsman Bryan Bloy. Faf du Plessis, on the other hand, has made it clear the groundsman that he expects the pitch to have some pace and bounce. The pitch will be a bit slow on the first day, but it will quicken up on day two and three. However, with the weather being quite warm, it could deteriorate on the final two days, which means that the spinners could play a part on those days.
Head-to-head: South Africa have an excellent record at Centurion. They have won 17 out of the 22 at this venue. Their two losses at this venue came against Australia (2014) and England (2000). India and South Africa have faced each other just once here in 2010. South Africa won the match by an innings and 25 runs despite Sachin Tendulkar’s 50th Test century.
Overall, the Proteas have won 14 and lost 10 out of their 34 Tests against India. At home, South Africa have won 9 and lost 2 against India in 18 matches.
Stat alert: Mohammed Shami needs just 1 more wicket to reach 100 Test wickets. He will be the seventh India pacer to achieve this feat. If he achieves this feat in the next match, he will be the third fastest Indian fast bowler after Kapil Dev (25) and Irfan Pathan (28) to pick up 100 Test wickets.
TIME: 13.30 IST | 08.00 GMT | 10.00 AM
South Africa: Faf du Plessis(c), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Duanne Olivier, Lungisani Ngidi
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Lokesh Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel