The Freedom Series 2021-22 is evenly poised at 1-1 for both sides. India’s winning streak at Wanderers ended after Proteas captain Dean Elgar carried his bat through to level the series.
Kohli to be back in the series decider
India have never been victorious in a Test series against South Africa in their backyard. The Kohli-led side have been unstoppable in Tests in overseas condition and the rainbow nation is the last fortress left to be conquered. Team India definitely missed Kohli in the 2nd Test as India fell short with the bat in both innings. In his latest press conference, Kohli has announced that he is fit to play the decider. His return will boost the morale of the eleven and will surely aim to overcome their shortcomings in the last match.
No Siraj in Cape Town, the onus still on pacers
However, Team India will miss the services of pacer Mohammed Siraj because of the hamstring niggle he sustained in Johannesburg. The injury to Siraj in the Wanderers was a major reason why India failed to defend their total in the last innings. Thus, it will be interesting to see which bowler will be replacing the youngster.
The biggest reason behind the defeat has to be the failure of the batting lineup of not being able to put enough runs on the board. Except for the 1st innings of the Centurion Test, the performance of the Indian batting unit has been quite below par.
Batters need to contribute more
However, with the likes of out-of-form Pujara and Rahane finding a bit of touch in the last game, the team management will hope the senior campaigners to deliver in the do-or-die encounter. Coach Dravid will also need to guide Rishabh Pant on his choice of shots. Pant’s early dismissal against Rabada after playing a rash shot, paved the way for the South African pacers to break through the Indian middle-order in the 3rd innings.
If the Wanderer’s pitch is not too different compared to the previous two tracks, the team must look to at least cross the 300 run mark with the bat.
The onus like always will be on the pace battery. In recent times, the bowlers have rarely failed to deliver and will surely take a hit after the hosts chased the target down in the last Test.
Fans expect another special show from Shardul Thakur
The biggest positive from the 2nd Test was the swashbuckling performance of Lord Shardul Thakur. Thakur took a 7-wicket haul in the 1st innings and scored a cameo with the bat that was instrumental in taking India beyond 200 in the 3rd innings. Despite his efforts going in vain, Thakur will hope to perform even better so that his team crosses the victory line this time.
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