India eye whitewash against Proteas
The hosts dominated the first two matches in all the three aspects of the game and dented the confidence of the Proteas severely. They won the first Test by 203 runs in Vizag and went on to better their performance in the next game, registering a comprehensive victory by an innings and 137 runs in Pune.
However, the visitors can hardly expect any respite in Ranchi as Virat Kohli's men would like earn another 40 points and extend their lead in the World Test Championship.
"We are not going to take the foot off the gas in the third Test. We are looking for a result and hopefully make it 3-0. No one is going to relax at any stage, that is a guarantee," Kohli had said after the Pune Test.
The Indian team has ticked all the boxes in the series so far. Their batsmen are scoring heavily, the spinners are picking wickets at regular intervals and the pacers, who have been on a roll in the last two-three years, have been relentless.
South Africa, on the other hand, have just not been able to cope up with the conditions on offer. The tracks, on which the two matches have been played so far, were by no means rank turners. They have been just not been able to come with a performance to match that of the Indians.
Their batters seem to be out of form. Barring contributions from the lower order, the top order batsmen have not been able to score big and put pressure on the Indian bowlers. The Proteas have not been able to make use of their first innings, a thing which skipper Faf du Plessis wants his batsmen to focus upon.
"We need to put big runs on the board in the first innings," said du Plessis in the pre-match presser. "When you get runs in the first innings anything from there is possible. For us first innings runs will be vital and then anything could happen in the second innings," he added.
However, their batting woes have been compounded following the loss of Aiden Markram, who has been ruled out of the Ranchi Test after he injured his wrist by lashing out at a solid object following the culmination of the Pune Test.
Their bowling unit, despite consisting the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, has been ineffective to put pressure on the Indian batters. And in the absence of their most experienced spinner Keshav Maharaj, du Plessis can find it even more difficult to contain the Indian batters.
It would be highly surprising if the Proteas can stop the Indians from making it 3-0 and earn their first points in the championship.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (capt/wk), Rassie van der Dussen (vc), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde.
Match starts at 9 am; Live on Star Sports 1