Pujara off the mark: 54 balls and first run on the board for Pujara. Talk about being patient.
DROPPED: Life for Virat Kohli. Bouncer from Kagiso Rabada and Kohli takes on with the pull, mistimes, bottom edge loops up in to short mid-on, but Vernon Philander is slow to react and fails to reach the ball. Kohli dropped on 11.
VIJAY GONE : So the Indian openers are back in the hut. Murali Vijay was flirting with danger chasing the wide deliveries and Kagiso Rabada, in his first over, induces an edge off Vijay off the wide delivery – second catch for Quinton de Kock. India 13/2
REVIEW: Fantastic delivery from Philander, inswinger and Pujara is trapped in front. On-field umpire’s call is not out, but SA opt for review. Umpire’s call on the hawk-eye, so Pujara is safe and SA retain their review
Rahul gone for 0: Veron Philander draws the first blood with the wicket of KL Rahul for a duck. India 7/1. Length ball nipped back in and Rahul gets an inside edge, Quinton de Kock obliges behind the stumps
Morne Morkel opens the proceedings for South Africa. Murali Vijay and KL Rahul openers for India. And Vijay is off the mark with a steaky boundary past the slip cordon and then a straight drive for another boundary in the first over.
TOSS : India win toss and opt to bat – India playing with 5 seamers – Ajinkya Rahane in, Bhuvi in
South Africa (Playing XI): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo
India (Playing XI): Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel(w), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
This South African team has a point to prove. It wants to pay back in the same coin after the whitewash inflicted on them back in 2015-16 when they toured India. This Indian team also has a point to prove. It does not want to be remembered as the first side from India to suffer a whitewash in South Africa since international cricket returned here in 1991-92.
In that, the last of the three Test matches that begins at the Wanderers Stadium, known as the ‘Bullring’, assumes significance. It gives a certain edge and complexity desired of a five-day game despite the series already being decided in favour of the hosts. The match begins at 10 am local time and with it begins a contest that has the following elements: pride at stake, a visibly green pitch, four full-time pacers for each team, an extra batsman on both sides and a week’s forecast threatening showers every now and then.
India have more to take away from here than mere consolation. Only in trying to save a whitewash can this Indian team save itself the blushes before they leave the South African shores. A 3-0 whitewash, they realise, will not only lead to a disproportionate cascading of opinions back home but will also tear apart the very core on which they have embarked on this journey.
Ajinkya Rahane makes a return to the playing XI with this match, adding muscle to the batting order that has struggled miserably so far. But whether he will do so at the cost of Rohit Sharma or Hardik Pandya is a decision that’ll be taken only on the morning of the match.