India captain Virat Kohli, who returned to the side after missing the previous Test due to a back spasm, won the toss and opted to bat first in the series-deciding third and final Test match against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday. With the series locked at 1-1, India are eyeing a win in this Test to achieve a historic first-ever Test series victory on South African soil. India made two changes to their playing XI for the decider. Captain Virat Kohli came into the side in place of Hanuma Vihari as veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane held on their places on the back of fighting fifties in the second innings in Johannesburg.
There was another forced change in the bowling department. Injured Mohammed Siraj was ruled out of the final Test and he was replaced by Umesh Yadav in India’s bowling unit. Captain Kohli agreed that it was tough decision to choose between the experienced Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav but the latter got the nod as he has bowling really well in the nets.
“It was a tough decision between Ishant and Umesh,” Kohli said at the toss. “Umesh has been very potent with the ball recently, very handy in the field and with the bat as well,” he added.
South Africa, on the other hand, have gone in with unchanged XI that beat India by 7 wickets in Johannesburg to level the series.
“Ideally you want to bat first on this surface and given the overhead conditions it might not be a bad idea to bowl first. The cricket we have been playing the last few months been very special given the number of players we lost. One good thing about having younger guys come in is that they come with a fresh, new mindset which is quite warming for us and then me who has this old school mentality which has been a balancing act for us and obviously we try to implement that with what we have in the change room,” said South Africa captain Dean Elgar.
India Playing XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
South Africa Playing XI: Dean Elgar(c), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne(w), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi
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