India captain Virat Kohli returned to lead the Test side in the third Test against South Africa, started on Tuesday in Cape Town.
While Virat Kohli, who missed the Johannesburg Test due to back spasms, replaced Hanuma Vihari, India also had to make a forced change: Mohammed Siraj had to miss the third Test due to a hamstring injury he sustained during the second Test.
Thankfully, Indian cricket has reached a stage where they have don’t have to worry about replacing a fast bowler, for Kohli had two experienced pacers in Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to choose from.
The skipper and the management, headed by Rahul Dravid, opted for Umesh Yadav over the 105-Test veteran Ishant Sharma.
At the toss, Virat Kohli explained the reason for picking Umesh instead of Ishant. The skipper stated that Umesh has been “very potent” as a seamer in his last few games and also can contribute with the bat in hand. Virat Kohli admitted that it was indeed a tough decision to choose between the two senior fast bowlers.
“Umesh has been very potent with the ball recently, very handy in the field and with the bat as well. It was a tough decision to choose between the two (Ishant and Umesh),” the Indian captain said at the toss.
Virat Kohli was perhaps referring to Umesh’s performance at the Oval last year. The pacer bagged three wickets in each innings – including that of Joe Root in the first innings – and helped India to a memorable victory.
Ishant, on the other hand, went wicketless at the Headingley Test last year. Against New Zealand at home as well, Umesh looked in a much better rhythm than Ishant, although the lanky pacer bring tons of experience with himself.
Virat Kohli, playing in his 99th Test, won the toss and elected to bat first in the decider Test in Cape Town.
Here are the XI’s of both the teams.
India: 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: Dean Elgar (capt), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne(w), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi