India face South Africa in the 2nd Test of the three-match series, starting from January 3 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The Indian team took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 113-run win against the Proteas in the first Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion earlier this week. The pacers dominated the proceedings in the first Test while KL Rahul was the standout batter, scoring a fine 123 in the first innings. Despite outplaying the hosts, India will have to address a few areas, including middle-order issues in Johannesburg. For the record, India have a wonderful record at the Wanderers as they have never lost a Test match at this venue.
Here is our India predicted XI for the second Test against South Africa:
KL Rahul: Fresh from his knock of 123 in the first innings, and being named as India’s stand-in skipper for the ODI series, KL Rahul will be highly motivated ahead of the second Test. He will lead India’s batting line-up in the second Test.
Mayank Agarwal: His knock of 60 in the first session on Day 1 was probably as good as we’ve seen by an Indian opener in South Africa. He is likely to be retained in the playing XI, and will look to make the most of these opportunities in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Despite failing to conjure anything in both the innings in Centurion, Pujara is likely to be backed by the Indian team management since he isn’t the only batter who has struggled to get runs for the past year or so.
Virat Kohli (capt): Is there even a debate? Despite failing to score a century for more than two years, Virat Kohli will marshal his troops with the same passion and intensity as India look to seal the series in Johannesburg. He will once again take the field with the hopes of ending his century drought.
Ajinkya Rahane: Ajinkya Rahane might’ve given himself some reprieve after his knock of 48 in the first innings. He played some fine shots on a difficult track but failed to keep his concentration going. However, this could be his last opportunity to save his Test career.
Hanuma Vihari: Hanuma Vihari could replace Shardul Thakur to strengthen India’s under-firing middle-order. Shreyas Iyer remains another option but Vihari is likely to get nod on the basis of his seniority, as well as his performances for India A, earlier this year in South Africa.
Rishabh Pant (wk): Just like his knocks against Australia and England, Rishabh Pant once against proved that he can turn the tide around with his explosive batting. His run-a-ball 34 in the second innings was crucial, considering the context of the game. His efforts helped India declare their innings with an overall lead of 304.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Despite the pitches in South Africa not helping the spinners much, Ashwin put up a decent show in Centurion. He is likely to be retained as India’s sole spinner. His ability to score crucial runs down the order cannot be ignored as well.
Jasprit Bumrah: Jasprit Bumrah once again proved why he is regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers in the world at the moment. He provided India with important breakthroughs in both the innings, and also dismissed South African skipper Dean Elgar twice.
Mohammed Shami: Regardless of the conditions, Shami always puts in his absolute 100 per cent while racing down the tracks. He has been Virat Kohli’s go-to bowler, which makes him an automatic pick in the playing XI.
Mohammed Siraj: If there’s anyone who can match Virat Kohli in terms of the intensity and passion, it’s Mohammed Siraj. India wouldn’t want to leave someone like Siraj out the of the playing XI, especially on pace-friendly tracks.
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