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India vs South Africa | Virat Kohli v Anrich Nortje, and Other Key Battles to Look Out For in Third Test

There are 40 points on offer and a 3-0 series whitewash, both of which India would be targeting against the hapless visitors.

Cricketnext Staff |October 18, 2019, 7:19 PM IST
Rohit Sharma in action (AFP)

It would have been a dead rubber but with valuable World Test Championship points on offer, India would be eyeing victory while South Africa would be desperate for some consolation in a wretched tour when the third and final Test starts in Ranchi on Saturday.

There are 40 points on offer and a 3-0 series whitewash, both of which India would be targeting against the hapless visitors.

Here is a look at the few key battles which could decide the fate of the game in Ranchi.

Ravichandran Ashwin appeals (BCCI)

1. Dean Elgar vs Ravichandran Ashwin – One of the few batsmen for South Africa who has looked extremely comfortable is Dean Elgar. The left-handed opener has scored a ton in the first game but wasn’t among the runs in the second Test. South Africa depend heavily on him for providing a solid start and making a big score. He will have his task cut out, especially against Ravichandran Ashwin who has made a big impact especially in the first innings. If Elgar can hold one end up and put pressure back on Ashwin, then it might make for an interesting viewing and also give South Africa some sort of a chance.

(Image: Twitter/@ICC)

2. Faf du Plessis vs Mohammed Shami – Shami absolutely ran through South Africa in the second innings and is always known to have an impact when the ball gets old. He is difficult to face especially on uneven pitches and more so for inexperienced players. Du Plessis is someone who has been there and seen it all over the years. He has one half-century to his name so far in the series but will be looking to lead from the front and make a bigger impact in the final game. South Africa’s struggles against pace have been surprising and that is something the captain will be looking to tackle head on.

Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock

3. Quinton de Kock vs Umesh Yadav – Umesh Yadav made an immediate impact upon his return to the Test team. The pacer bowls wicket-to-wicket line and at decent clicks which often troubles the batsmen. De Kock likes the ball coming onto his bat and has been in decent form ever since the start of the tour. He made a quickfire ton in Vizag and will be looking to do more of the same at Ranchi on a surface which should help him. He will be again looking to be back amongst the runs and target the Indian pacers to put a bit more pressure on the bowling line-up.

Mayank Agarwal during innings

4. Mayank Agarwal vs Kagiso Rabada – India have been largely successful in negating the new ball which has made the job easier for the middle-order batsmen. Agarwal already has back-to-back hundreds to his name and his calmness at the crease has helped others around him flourish. Rabada has picked up wickets but there have been many near misses, especially against Agarwal. The pacer who continuously clocks above 140 kph will be looking to make an impact and pick some early wickets for South Africa to expose the middle-order when the ball is still new.

Virat Kohli made his career-best Test score of 254* (AFP)

5. Virat Kohli vs Anrich Nortje – Kohli has been rock solid for India, scoring an unbeaten double ton. His ability to accelerate at will has also helped the hosts collect some quick runs and give the bowlers that much more time to pick wickets. Nortje is quick and tried some short balls against Kohli in Pune. He did trouble the Indian captain a bit early, but once Kohli settled down, he was hard to beat. Will that change in Ranchi?

(With Inputs From PTI)

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