The 2nd Test between India and South Africa at Pune went on expected lines as the home team absolutely crushed the Proteas by an innings and 137 runs. Having already won the 1st Test, India have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead and have thus clinched the series already with one Test still to go. Virat Kohli’s India are looking incredibly dominant and have claimed their 11th consecutive series win at home – a word record now.
Things are hence looking ominous for South Africa as they head for the 3rd and final Test of the series at Ranchi that begins from October 19. India are too strong in all the departments at the moment and will begin as overwhelming favorites for the Test.
India’s top-order is in excellent form. Openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal are amongst runs. Captain Virat Kohli is fresh off a majestic 254* in the 2nd Test. Cheteshwar Pujara too has scored two fifties in the series so far. Then there is Ajinkya Rahane and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to tackle. South Africa would have to produce something special to stop this strong Indian batting unit.
India’s bowling isn’t just dependent on its two premier spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Their seam bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav – have done a superlative job as well. These top-class five bowlers will not make things easy for South Africa in the last Test.
Meanwhile, the visitors have a lot of issues to sort. South Africa’s top-order has crumbled regularly in the last two Tests. The likes of Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock haven’t been consistent. Captain Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar, along with the lower order would again have to put their hands up in the 3rd Test.
South Africa’s bowling hasn’t been incisive. Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander have done well only in patches. What has made matters worse is that their lead spinner and all-rounder Keshav Maharaj has been ruled out of the 3rd Test. This will be a big blow to South Africa’s bowling unit and would make it that much harder for them to dislodge India’s batsmen.
Match prediction – India vs South Africa, 3rd Test:
There’s only been one Test played at the JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi – between India and Australia in March 2017. The match ended in a draw.
The pitch for the 3rd Test at Ranchi between India and South Africa is expected to be very good for batsmen. The bowlers would have to toil hard but the spinners should get some good purchase from the 3rd day onwards. This should be a high-scoring contest with India likely to score another 500+ total. However, South Africa’s batting fragility may result them in being bundled out for below 300 again.
India is very strong at the moment in all departments and South Africa have looked out of sorts, perhaps the worse they have ever have been. India should hence win the 3rd and final Test comfortably and clinch the series 3-0.