The final Test of the Freedom Series in Newlands is all set to be a nail-biting decider. The hosts hammered the visitors in the 2nd Test in Johannesburg. The 1st Test in Centurion saw the Proteas lose their control over their bastion in a very long time. In Johannesburg, India‘s poor show with the bat cost them a golden chance to seal their maiden series victory in the rainbow nation in Tests. With the series nicely poised at 1-1, India will need to overcome their defeat to come back strong in Cape Town.
In his latest press conference, Kohli declared that he is fit to play the final Test. However, pacer Siraj will miss out due to a hamstring niggle he sustained in Johannesburg.
No Siraj in 3rd Test , more pressure on Bumrah-Shami
In absence of Siraj, India will heavily bank on the services of Bumrah and Shami. The duo has troubled the inexperienced South African batting line-up in the series. However, the likes of Elgar and Bavuma have countered the duo well. Shami has been the leading bowler for India in the series with 11 crucial breakthroughs.
He looks in great form and has often troubled the batters with his line and length. Shami in the 1st Test completed his 200 scalps with the red cherry in style by taking a spectacular fifer in Centurion. Ahead of the decider, Shami eyes another milestone.
He could be the only second Indian seamer after veteran Javagal Srinath to have taken 50 wickets versus South Africa. Shami’s tally presently stands at 45 wickets in 20 Test innings, the most for him against any opposition.
Stats show how Shami enjoys bowling against SA
He is just 5 wickets away from joining the elite club of Indian bowlers who have taken 50 and more wickets against South Africa. The club presently is led by India’s most successful Test bowler Anil Kumble with 84 wickets, followed by Javagal Srinath (64 wickets), Harbhajan Singh (60 wickets), and team-mate Ravichandran Ashwin (56 wickets). Going by records, Shami has always loved playing against the Proteas as he brandishes a staggering strike rate of 40.5, the best for any bowler of the current century.
As India locks horns against the hosts in the final Test of the Freedom Series, all eyes will be on Shami. Fans will expect him to replicate his performance at Centurion. India is yet to register a series victory over South Africa on its soil. The ongoing series is the best opportunity for Kohli and the company to script history.
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