Deadline: October 19, 2019 at 9:30 AM
Venue: JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
In the only Test played at Ranchi, as many as 1,258 runs were scored across three innings. The result, on such belter of a track, was obvious: the match ended in a draw. Cheteshwar Pujara was awarded Player of the Match for his double-hundred, during which he became the first Indian to play 500 deliveries in an innings.
Expect nothing less in the last Test – unless South Africa decide to squander yet again. That being said, there will be reasonable turn for the spinners.
India are back with their five-bowler strategy, giving more confidence to Ravindra Jadeja at No. 6. Although it is a tactic Virat Kohli fancies, he has a reputation of not playing the same XI.
In case the pitch looks good for batting on the morning of the match, India might give second thoughts on playing a specialist batsman in Hanuma Vihari, leaving one of the three pacers.
Probable XI for India: Mayank Agarwal, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma
South Africa look out of sorts in all the departments. Predicting their XI is slightly tough.
Probable XI for South Africa: Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, George Linde, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
South Africa look out of sorts in all the departments. To make matters worse, Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram have been ruled out due to injuries. George Linde and Zubayr Hamza will replace them.
Countering spin was always a concern for the visiting teams in India. It is still the case, but the teams now also have to be vary of the Indian pacers. Mohammad Shami in the first match and Umesh Yadav in the second were spectacular, proving that pacers too can get the ball talking on flat tracks. To put things into perspective, South Africa will have to play out of their skin to even put up a good fight. Otherwise, another win for India is on the cards.
Players to watch out for
Virat Kohli is only a point behind Steven Smith, the No. 1 batsman in ICC Test Rankings. The Ranchi Test is a perfect opportunity for Kohli to regain the top spot.
Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored fine centuries at Visakhapatnam, but that was that. They had starts at Pune, but the Indians have figured out how to dismantle their defence. Meanwhile, Faf du Plessis has been scoring in bits and pieces.
Ravichandran Ashwin, for obvious reasons, is the highest wicket-taker of the series. When the batsmen from opposition start dictating terms, Kohli hands the ball to Ashwin, and the experienced off-spinner gets the job done. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja has been as effective with the bat as he is with the ball.
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, Zubayr Hamza, Theunis de Bruyn, Dane Piedt, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Heinrich Klaasen, Zubayr Hamza, Anrich Nortje