India Vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Probable India XI for Centurion Test

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India Vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Probable India XI for Centurion Test

New Delhi, Jan 12: Team India would be facing formidable South Africa in the second Test match against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Saturday (January 13).

2nd Test: Preview

Already trailing by 0-1 in the three-match series Virat Kohli and his boys face an uphill task of registering a win in challenging conditions in Centurion.

Bryan Bloy, the curator at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, has already cleared that the pitch here will be at its pacey best i.e. it will be faster than the one we saw in Cape Town.
However, the curator further stressed that there will not be an extra pace and bounce in the pitch and that it will start deteriorating on fourth day onwards, thus there will be something for the spinners on the final day.

The curator's statement clearly hints towards the fact that Indian batsmen would have lived up to the reputation if they want to keep themselves in the contest. The kind of show India bowlers put up in the first Test was, perhaps, the only positive the tourists could take from apart from Hardik Pandya's all-round effort.

Given that the pitch is going to assist pacers, Indian bowlers would once again be eyeing to get the 20 South African wickets. But the batting line-up conundrum needs to be sorted out if Kohli and boys are fancying their chances in the must-win game and keep the series alive.

Team India faltered as a batting unit in the first Test as every big name in the side failed terribly and batting coach Sanjay Bangar must be working hard with the batsmen - who were troubled by the movement on the pitch - and help them make adjustments to combat the lateral movement.

Amid all this a pertinent question arises as to what should be Team India's combination for the Centurion Test i.e. whether to play an extra batsman or stick to the same combination of playing six batsmen, four bowlers and an allrounder in Hardik Pandya.

Here is what we feel would be Team India's playing XI against South Africa:

Murali Vijay

Murali Vijay

He might have failed to give India a good start in Cape Town, but a technically equipped and calm Murali Vijay will be opening the batting for India at Centurion.

Vijay enjoys the confidence of the captain and coach and his ability to stand guard on pacey tracks makes him the best suited batsman for such conditions.

KL Rahul

KL Rahul

Shikhar Dhawan's flop show at Newlands pitch was criticised the most because the left-handed batsman threw his wicket away in both the innings of the match.

Dhawan, who had a brilliant season in Sri Lanka and at home was preferred over young KL Rahul, was dismissed in the 1st Test while attempting some ambitious shots.

Thus, Rahul might just be given a chance by the team management in the second Test.

Media reports confirmed that the Karnataka batsman might just get inducted into the Playing XI on Saturday for he's also capable of playing well on pace-friendly pitches overseas.

However, Rahul's failure to convert his fifties into hundreds is going to be a major concern for the visitors.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara is the permanent batsman for India at number three and no changes will be made to his batting position.

However, the right-handed batsman would be eager to prove his mettle and improve his figures on foreign soil.

Team India would once again rely heavily on their second most dependable batter. Pujara is known for digging deep and frustrating the opposition and team would be hoping nothing more, especially after that poor show in Cape Town.

Virat Kohli (Captain)

Virat Kohli (Captain)

The captain charismatic failed terribly in the first innings but showed a lot of composure in the second innings in the previous game.

However, the Indian batting mainstay too was troubled by the movement in the pitch as he too wasn't acclimatised with the conditions and paid the price.

The right-handed batsman is known for not repeating same mistakes and team would hope he leads them by example.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma

There has been a lot of debate whether India should play Ajinkya Rahane and instead of Rohit Sharma but if reports are to be believed then skipper Kohli is going to show his confidence in the latter.

Rohit will once again be preferred over fellow Mumbaikar Rahane, who is considered India's best batsman on pacey pitches.

Rohit too might have failed to perform in the previous game but Kohli is going to keep him in the side.

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya

The right-handed batsman from Baroda was the only highlight for Indians as far as batting is concerned in the previous game.

His aggressive knock of 93 off 95 balls ensured India cross 200-run mark in the first innings and narrow South Africa's lead to just 77, which at one stage seemed going 100-plus as the visitors were reduced to 92/7.

Pandya also did a commendable job with the ball and brilliantly performed his duty of fourth pacer. He even picked up first two wickets in the second innings for his team.

If there is one batsman who cemented his position in the side with his performance in Cape Town, it has to be Pandya.

Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha, the wicketkeeper, was once again at his best in the previous game as he created Indian Test record by effecting 10 dismissals from behind the stumps.

Saha surpassed his predecessor MS Dhoni's record of 9 dismissals to become first Indian wicketkeeper to claim 10 dismissals in a game.

He also gave his vital suggestions from behind the wickets to the captain on taking reviews.

R Ashwin/Ishant Sharma

R Ashwin/Ishant Sharma

The premier India spinner might get a place in the playing XI despite the fact that the pacey pitch would hardly have anything to offer him.

But, if the curator's words are kept in mind that the pitch will deteriorate from fourth day onwards, then Ashwin could just be the man whom skipper Kohli might look up to.

Also Ashwin has four Test centuries in his name, two of them came overseas.

This proves that the off-spinner is a decent batsman lower down the order. However, team management wants him to bat upper in the batting order i.e. at number 6.

If team management opts to go all out with pace attack then Ashwin might be replaced by speedster Ishant Sharma.

Mohammad Shami

Mohammad Shami

The Bengal pacer looked rusty in the first innings but regained his lost touch in the second innings and rattled the South African batting attack.

Mohammad Shami's brilliance with the ball on the fourth day of the opening Test brought the hosts back in the game.

 Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

The right-arm pacer was the star for the visitors in the first innings by reducing the hosts to 12/3 within first thirty minutes of the opening day and played his role to perfection in the second innings as well.

Bhuvneshwar also showed grit with the bat in both the innings and seemed only Indian batsman who was unfazed by the pace and bounce.

Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah

The Gujarat pacer made his debut in the previous game and after struggling to find his rhythm in the first innings Bumrah looked lethal in the second innings.

Many questioned Virat Kohli's decision to play Bumrah in the opening game but the right-handed pacer justified his selection with his bowling exploits. Bumrah would, therefore, get a place in the Playing XI.

Story first published: Friday, January 12, 2018, 17:57 [IST]
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