In his 50th Test as India captain, Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first in the second Test against South Africa at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday. India made one change to their winning combination from the first Test, playing an extra bowler in pacer Umesh Yadav in place of Hanuman Vihari.
South Africa also added an extra pacer, handing a debut to their express Anrich Nortje in place of off-spinner Dane Piedt.
“It’s a good to win the toss and bat first, the wicket is probably best for batting on the first day and half, it eventually turns from day 2 and 3,” said Kohli at the toss.
Explaining the reason behind the change, the India captain said an extra batsman will be a luxury here and hence “Hanuman Vihari misses out, Umesh Yadav replaces him”. “The surface is a bit hard here (hence) still keeping a fifth attacking option to back Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. Just strengthening our bowling all round,” said Kohli.
India were expected to go with an extra bowler keeping in mind their batting has been doing well and the heavy workload on the bowlers in the subcontinent. It was a toss up between Umesh Yadav and spinner Kuldeep Yadav, but it’s been raining regularly here, making the conditions favourable for pace bowling. There is prediction of thundershowers during the match.
Faf’s poor luck with the toss continued, now he has lost straight nine tosses in the subcontinent.
India have won four of their last five Tests, South Africa have lost their last three Tests.
India had won the first Test at Visakhapatnam by 203 runs.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav.
South Africa: 1 Aiden Markram, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Theunis de Bruyn, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Senuran Muthusamy, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Anrich Nortje.