Ahead of the third and final Test team India might be looking for a change in its batting line up. Although a dead rubber, the visitors will not want to hand over a clean sweep to South Africa. Losing by 3-0 will be quite embarrassing for a team at the top Test charts and in an unbeaten stretch of more than a year. To escape such a fate, the leadership of the team seems keen to bring Ajinkya Rahane back to the field. After losing the second Test and eventually the series, captain Virat Kohli was asked if he was playing with the best XI. To this, the captain fired out back at the journo, ‘whoever plays is expected to be the best…’ However, the logic defying conclusion was quite apparent in his scratchy behavior.
At the practice session in Wanderers, everything was seen normal with players like Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batting tough on stripes all together. The only new feature in the session was a clear and serious participation of Ajinkya Rahane. Also, the hot head captain was seen briefing Rahane and Hardik Pandya in a serious-business mode. After a long talk session, the batsmen started practicing in nets. It does stop here. Kohli and Rahane were also practicing on nets together for an extended session. Apparently, there is only one conclusion from all these; Rahane will be back in Johannesburg Test.
Rahane was rested from the first two test due to his poor form. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma’s selection did not go without a reward. But, India lost the matches and the series slipped out of hand. Rahane is known as one of the most prolific Test batsman in international conditions. His records show a rare trend of being better at foreign conditions. If he is selected for the last test, there are probabilities for either Sharma or R Ashwin to rest. This might again make the team unbalanced. Neither Pandya is an option to be dropped. This leaves only contemplation, while Kohli is awaited to make the final decision.
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