Time: January 11, 2 PM IST
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
The pitch is likely to be more favourable to the batters than bowlers, especially when it is new and hard. With the weather getting hotter as the match progress, bowlers will have to toil harder than they did in the first two Tests.
South Africa won’t tinker with their winning combination.
Probable XI for South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi
With Virat Kohli regaining his full fitness, he will replace Hanuma Vihari. Meanwhile, either Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav will be picked at the expense of the injured Mohammad Siraj.
Probable XI for India: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
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At home Dean Elgar averages 51 against India, having scored 4 fifties in 10 innings – of which 3 fifties have come in the last 4 innings.
In his last 10 innings across formats, KL Rahul has scored 5 fifties and a hundred. He will bat at his usual pace, leaving most deliveries outside off and attacking whatever is offered on his pads. Given the nature of the pitch, he is likely to level up on the scoring.
Kagiso Rabada has taken 3 or more wickets in each of the four innings in the series, while Marco Jansen has taken 2 four-wicket and 1 three-wicket hauls.
A seven-wicket haul and a stylish knock of 28 runs: Shardul Thakur had everything going his way at The Wanderers Stadium. He had done it in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and has all the ingredients to put up such stellar performances consistently.
Before the second innings at Johannesburg, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were staring at an exit from the playing XI. After the 111-run stand they still haven’t escaped from the debate, but they reminded the fans what they are capable of. Pujara, especially, was class-apart, showing intentions and putting the threatening South African pacers under pressure.
Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma looked, for lack of a better word, rock solid. To pierce their defence seemed a tough task even on a pacer-friendly wicket.
After the five-wicket haul, Mohammad Shami’s performance has gone a bit downhill. He is consistently beating the edges, but South Africa found a way to quiet him down in the second Test.
India go into the final Test as the favourites, especially after having breached Australia earlier last year and putting England on the back foot in their own den. As a matter of fact, India are expected to win their maiden Test series in South Africa despite losing the second Test. However, as always is the case with India, toss will be crucial. The wicket seems much better for batting, and if India are to chase a target, they will have to bowl out of their skin.