Virat should be fine for third Test: KL Rahul

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06 Jan 2022 | 06:48 PM staff

Virat should be fine for third Test: KL Rahul

KL Rahul was confident that Virat Kohli will return to the side for the third and final Test in Centurion

India captain Virat Kohli should be fine to play the third and final Test against South Africa, stand-in skipper KL Rahul said on Thursday after the seven-wicket defeat against South Africa in Centurion.

"Virat is feeling better already, been in the nets the last couple of days fielding and running around and I think he should be fine," said Rahul at the post-match presentation.

Head coach Rahul Dravid too provided an update on Kohli's fitness at the media interaction.

"He is looking good and having knock at nets. Couple of sessions in Cape Town, he will be good to go," Dravid said.

Rahul also gave an update on Mohammad Siraj who played the second Test with a hamstring niggle as he hinted that Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav could replace him for the final Test in Cape Town.

"Siraj is starting to feel better each day. A couple of days break might really help him. But we have quality on our bench as well, Ishant and Umesh are waiting.

"Looking forward to Cape Town. We expected every game to be competitive. A loss like this is disappointing but we've always been a team that gets hungrier after a loss. Credit to South Africa for the way they batted," said Rahul.

On a tricky surface, South Africa chased down a target of 240 thanks to an unbeaten 96 from Dean Elgar with Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Temba Bavuma (23 not out) providing ample support.

"We all felt we could do something special, 122 (on day four) wasn't going to be that easy to get, the pitch was up and down, but like I said, the South African batsmen were really determined and got the job done. If I have to be really harsh, after winning the toss we could have put 60-70 runs more."

Rahul praised veteran batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane who put up a century partnership in the second innings to propel India to a respectable total.

"They've been great players for us, they've always done the job for the team over the years. They've obviously been under the pump a bit, but in the team we believe Pujara and Ajinkya are our best middle order batsmen.

"We always knew they could do something like that. Hopefully that gives them confidence and they can go out in the next test and put up an even better performance."

Elgar satisfied with batting performance

South Africa captain Elgar was satisfied with the team's batting which made up for their failure in the first Test. He played down the importance of his own knock, which involved suffering multiple blows to his body, saying that the win mattered more.

"I would like to think the knocks I take make me extra motivated to perform. Some would call it stupid and some would call it brave. The bigger picture is for us to win.

"We struggled to get a stable batting line-up and we had to be very patient. We've entrusted those positions to guys we feel can perform those roles and great to see them pull it off," said the southpaw.

On the team's comeback from the loss in the series opener, he said: "The basics of batting and bowling don't go away. We missed that in the first game. Saying that, it wasn't easy. Tough conditions we had to face as a batting unit.

"As a bowling unit, the Indians were on top at times. Massive respect to our bowling unit, they showed a lot of character. With KG (Kagiso Rabada), there was something that happened behind the scenes but we're not going to get into that. Sometimes KG needs a rocket. You could then almost sense the intensity and focus, he was in the zone.

"The moment he has that attitude, he wants to bowl and wants to contribute, you have to use it as a captain. It was awesome to see him on fire."

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South Africa vs IndiaIndia tour of South Africa, 2021/22IndiaSouth Africa

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