A comprehensive win in Pune and India have bagged the Test series in the most comfortable of manners. The caravan now moves to Ranchi where the hosts will look for a series whitewash.
The two teams have met each other 38 times in Tests. South Africa have the upper hand here having won 15 of these encounters to India’s 13. 10 have ended in a draw. In the last five Tests, India have the lead having won three of them.
In India the story is completely in the hosts’ favour. India have won four of the last five encounters with one ending in a draw.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
There has been only one Test played at this venue, where batsmen enjoyed their time of it. There were three hundreds and one double hundred scored in the Test which ended in a draw with only 25 wickets falling across five days.
The aggregate score in the Test across three innings was 419. The batsmen scored at an average of 50.3 runs per wicket while a wicket only fell every 18 overs. In the last three ODIs here too batsmen have made merry with the average first innings score being 286.
Historically the surface has been a haven for batsmen and it appears to be no different this time. So, ideally pack your side with at least five solid frontline batsmen. On the bowling front, while both pacers and spinners have had a hard time of it, left arm spinners have been effective. In the only Test played here, they picked up 12 wickets at an average of 32.8 and a strike-rate of 85.3.
India have Ravindra Jadeja in their side who is coming into the side in extremely good form. They also have Kuldeep Yadav but the hosts will not ideally want to tinker with a winning unit. South Africa too have two left-arm spinners in their side but they have not been able to get the same purchase from the surface.
Virat Kohli: As often as Kohli’s ODI numbers get highlighted, his test numbers are just as good. He is the highest run-scorer across all players since the start of 2018 and there seems to be nothing stopping him. He did not have a century in 2019 until the previous Test, something that he corrected with a massive 254 not out. On a surface tailor-made for Kohli’s style of free-flowing batsmanship, there isn’t looking much further than him to be the captain of your side.
Rohit Sharma: His elevation to the top of the order might have been a hot debate, but there is no denying the fact that Rohit is a beast in home conditions. He averages a massive 90.5 in Tests in India with five centuries and five half-centuries and has already shown his worth with twin tons this series. The Ranchi pitch will suit his style of play too and if he can survive the initial burst from the South African quicks, another ton might be in the offing.
Ravindra Jadeja: A bowling average of 26.93, batting average of 54.50 – Ravindra Jadeja has come into his own since the start of 2018. He returned four wickets and scored a crucial 91 in Pune. He certainly has the backing of his captain, which was visible with his promotion in the batting order in the previous Test. Jadeja’s all-round package makes it very hard for anyone to keep him out of the team and more importantly, he is backing it with numbers. He will continue to remain a key asset in Ranchi as well.
Quinton de Kock: De Kock might have failed in the previous Test, but his numbers in 2019 coupled with how well he batted in the Visakhapatnam shows he has the goods to deliver in Indian conditions. De Kock averages 52.27 this year and is the leading run-scorer for the Proteas in 2019. The Ranchi surface will also suit his style of play and in a team that has lack of experience, de Kock might be the one man to show the team the way.
There are a few showers forecast in Ranchi the first three days of the Test but none that should have too much of a bearing on the eventual result. The temperature is expected to hover around the 27-degree mark on average.
Suggested FanFight Team
Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Dean Elgar, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Quinton de Kock (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (vc), R Ashwin, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Umesh Yadav