Less than three months into the inaugural cricket World Test Championship, India has already accumulated a sizable lead, taking 200 points from four matches — well ahead of second-place New Zealand and Sri Lanka, who each sit on 60 from two matches each. The two-year long competition involves the world’s nine top-ranked Test sides, each playing three home series and three away series each over the marathon span, as The Inquisitr has reported.
India apparently could not have picked a better opponent than South Africa, to build up a significant point total. After two lopsided victories in the first two matches of their series in India, the two sides open the third and final Test of the series on Saturday morning in Ranchi, at JSCA International Stadium Complex — only the second Test played on the Ranchi ground, and the first since 2017.
With little data available to judge how the Ranchi pitch will play, the assumption being made by both teams is that the pitch will behave like “a typical Indian Test wicket,” according to The Sports Rush.
That means a slight edge for the spinners, favoring India’s “spin twins” duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. It also indicates that skipper Virat Kohli may drop pacer Ishant Sharma, who has taken just two wickets from 38 overs in the first two Test matches, in favor of a third spinner. But that spinner now looks to be left-arm orthodox Shahbaz Nadeem, according to a report by The Deccan Herald.
Watch a preview of the third India vs. South Africa Test match in the video below, courtesy of CricBuzz.
The 30-year-old Nadeem has finally earned a call-up to the Test squad after taking 424 wickets in 110 first-class matches, and gets his opportunity in this case due to a shoulder injury suffered by 24-year-old Kuldeep Yadav, an injury that has ruled him out of the Test.
For South Africa, even as they try to put together a face-saving performance after crushing 203- and 137-run defeats in the first two Tests, the injury bug has bitten the Proteas hard. According to CricInfo, South Africa’s hardest working bowler, Keshav Maharaj, has perhaps unsurprisingly come down with a shoulder injury of his own after completing a whopping 127 overs through the first two Test matches.
South Africa’s 25-year-old opener, Aiden Markram, is also out after hurting his wrist when he struck a “solid object” in frustration after he was dismissed by LBW for a duck in his second inning of the second Test.
Here are the possible teams for the third India vs. South Africa Test match, in Ranchi, as reported by CricInfo.
India: 1. Mayank Agarwal, 2. Rohit Sharma, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (captain), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), 8. R Ashwin, 9. Ishant Sharma, 10. Umesh Yadav, 11. Mohammed Shami.
South Africa: 1. Dean Elgar, 2. Zubayr Hamza, 3. Theunis de Bruyn, 4. Faf du Plessis (captain), 5. Temba Bavuma, 6. Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), 7. Senuran Muthusamy, 8. Vernon Philander, 9. Anrich Nortje/Lungi Ngidi, 10. Dane Piedt, 11. Kagiso Rabada.