India vs South Africa, 3rd Test: Ajinkya Rahane, Bhuvneshwar Kumar return; Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin sit out

Ajinkya Rahane, who had a forgettable Test series against Sri Lanka in December, was not included in the playing XI for the first two Tests between India and South Africa.

By: Express Web Desk | Published: January 24, 2018 2:39:04 pm
Rahane practice Ajinkya Rahane did not play first two Tests against South Africa. (BCCI Photo)

Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who had missed out in the first two Tests against South Africa in Cape Town and in Centurion, returned to the playing XI in the third Test at Wanderers. Rahane, who had a forgettable series against Sri Lanka in December, scoring just 17 runs in five innings at an average of 5.00, was brought in place of Rohit Sharma. The 30-year old Mumbaikar failed to deliver with the bat in the first two Tests, scoring just 78 runs in four innings at an average of 19.50 and drew criticism for his sub-par performance.

With the pitch at Wanderers on the greener side, India also decided to sit out spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and brought back Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the side, who did not play the second Test at Centurion. Ashwin had taken seven wickets in the series so far. The visitors are playing four other seamers besides Bhuvneshwar- Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.

The hosts also made a change in the team, sitting out spinner Keshav Maharaj and bringing in fast bowling allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

India won the toss and elected to bat first at Wanderers. With the side losing the first Test by 72 runs and the second one by 135 runs, the series has already slipped out of their hands. For skipper Virat Kohli, the third Test in Johannesburg is a chance to redeem himself by at least gaining a win in the longest format in the tour.

South African skipper Faf du Plessis will look to inflict a clean sweep on India, who are currently the top ranked Test side.

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