India have an unassailable 2-0 lead versus South Africa © IANS
India have an unassailable 2-0 lead versus South Africa © IANS

India is not adequately satisfied after handing South Africa a humiliating series defeat in the ongoing Gandhi-Mandela Series 2015. Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been their chief tormentor, declared his intentions to give South Africa a 3-0 mauling. South Africa have been wary of spin bowling throughout the series and it is likely that India will continue to keep their arsenal loaded with three spin bowlers. Some changes in the batting team may be under consideration though. Rishad D’Souza takes a look at India’s likely XI as they set out on the mission to compound South Africa’s misery at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 2015, 4th Test at Feroz Shah Kotla

Top Order: It has been a bowler-dominated series and batsmen on both sides have struggled. Yet, Murali Vijay has managed to accumulate patiently and grittily 195 from five innings at an average of 48.75. There is no reason for India to replace him. His fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan has actually looked comfortable than most at the crease but has not made it count even a single time. Nevertheless, possibility of India displacing him is thin. Like Vijay, India’s No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara has been the only other Indian batsman to show application and grit to tackle the extreme spin conditions. There is no reason to drop him given he has scored 160 runs from four innings at an average of 40. ALSO READ: Indian batsmen need to step up against South Africa in 4th Test at Delhi

Middle Order: India’s middle-order has been fragile and unconvincing and allows some room for amends. Virat Kohli has looked as ungainly as anyone in the series but will obviously retain his spot at No. 4 since he’s the captain and among the most experienced in the side. However, he’ll look to make progress on that shoddy series average of 17. Ajinkya Rahane has done not one bit of justice to his reputation and expectations at the No. 5 position. He has, in four innings scored just 39 runs and his spot suddenly looks cloudy. India may opt to go with KL Rahul at No. 5. Rohit Sharma has played just one game and managed just 25 runs in two innings, yet India may continue to persist with him for his patient 23 in the second innings of the previous Test. Wriddhiman Saha has not been in the best nick but his wicketkeeping ability will safeguard his place in the side at least for this series as India doesn’t have many options to play around with. ALSO READ: India vs South Africa 2015, 4th Test: Feroz Shah Kotla not likely to offer respite to spin-ravaged visitors

Lower Order and bowling : Unless a dramatic shift in pitch type is in store, it is difficult to see why India must play any less than three spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin has had an absolutely cracking series and with 24 wickets to his name in three matches, his position in the side is perhaps the most assured. Ravindra Jadeja has picked 16 wickets which in comparison may seem pale but he is the second highest wicket-taker in the series anyway. Besides, his batting has been more than handy lower down the order. So he will retain the No. 8 spot while Ashwin comes in at No. 9. Amit Mishra is the third spinner and while he has just seven wickets from two games he has troubled all the established South African batsmen. It makes sense to stick by him in these spin friendly settings. Ishant Sharma is likely to hold down his spot despite going wicketless in the previous two matches. There has been no support for fast bowlers and if there is perhaps Ishant is best equipped of the lot of Indian bowlers to exploit it. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli’s refreshing approach to captaincy has benefitted India

India likely XI: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)