The South African team was brilliant throughout the ODI series and they almost outplayed the Indians in every department. The hosting team on the other hand never looked comfortable against the likes of Rabada and Morkel. The scriptwriter seems to have not liked his script so far. So suddenly change of fortunes occur for team India and the Proteas are almost on the brink of a series loss. If India manages to win the 3rd Test match there will be no way back for the African team to stage a comeback in the 4 match series.
The 3rd Test of the PayTm Freedom series starts on the 25th of November and is going to be played at Nagpur. South Africa is already trailing the series 1-0 and they also have a handful of injuries and fitness problems to think about. Dale Steyn, who was not available for the second Test match at Bengaluru, is still facing fitness issues and is uncertain of playing in the 3rd Test.
The inability of the South African batsman to play quality spin bowling has been exposed in this series. All of the Proteas batsmen have looked out of sorts while facing the likes of Jadeja, Ashwin and Mishra. A.B.Devillers so far is perhaps the only batsman in the whole team who has played spin well. The biggest worry for the African team would be that most of their batsmen have been dismissed due to lack of spin. Definitely both the tracks at Bengaluru and Mohali assisted the spinners but the balls which took the wickets didn’t turn much. It’s maybe the lack of pace on Indian tracks that has brought about the downfall of the South African batsmen. Amla was recently quoted saying “It would have been great for us to get some confidence after the poor starts with the bat but Nagpur is a different Test and hopefully that is when it starts.”
The Indian batting too has looked out of colour in the first couple of matches. Shikhar Dhawan has continued his poor form with the bat in this series as well. The away going delivery was always a problematic ball for Dhawan and except the innings at Bengaluru he has been dismissed in both the innings of the first Test match in the same fashion. Maybe the Indian think-tank should think about including K.L.Rahul in the Nagpur Test.
Stuart Binny’s inclusion in the side is also questionable. If a seam bowling all-rounder is included in the side just to add a variation to the bowling line-up then maybe he should bowl more than 3 overs. Frankly speaking the pace at which Binny bowls his out-swingers is just not enough to dismiss batsmen of the calibre of Devillers and Amla. On spinner friendly tracks it would be ideal to replace Binny with Mishra or to go with 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers strategy and include Rohit Sharma in the side. Captain Kohli on the other hand will be hoping that Pujara and Vijay continue their good form and score big runs for his side.
According to the weather forecast report by AccuWeather the sky will be partly sunny on the 25th and the 29th. So a good five days cricket can be expected in that period as the rest of the days will be having bright sunshine.
The way BCCI has gone forward in creating turning tracks, it is expected that there will be another turner on the offering. The first class season matches that were played at this stadium saw the spinners take 51 wickets against the seamer’s 17 wickets. In fact the former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar was quoted as saying by espncricinfo, “India have got it totally that if they are to beat them (South Africa) here they have to beat them with spin and by making spin friendly pitches. And if that is the case I don’t see the visitors winning a Test here.”
The South African team will definitely go on a flashback and get inspiration from the brilliant win they registered over India at Nagpur in February 2010. The present captain Hashim Amla scored a splendid 253 in that match as the Proteas scored a mammoth 558/6 in their first innings. Dale Steyn was the hero for the African team when India came out to bat in their first innings as Steyn took 7 Indian scalps. They will also be hoping for a good show from Tahir and Harmer who are the two genuine spinners they have. India on the other hand will be pretty confident after their excellent performance in the first Test match. Kohli though will look for big runs from his top order.
On the whole a mouth watering contest awaits us on the 25th as India take on South Africa in the 3rd Test match of the series. Send in your views as to who do you feel will star for India in the crucial 3rd Test match.
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