2nd Test: Umesh in for Vihari as India bat in Kohli’s 50th Test as captain
Virat Kohli won the toss in his 50th Test as captain. (AFP Image)

India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first in the second Test against South Africa in Pune on Thursday. The hosts, who lead the three-match series 1-0, made one change to their starting line-up from the previous win on Sunday with fast bowler Umesh Yadav coming in for Hanuma Vihari.

“We’re going to bat first, it looks like a hard surface. Eventually the ball will turn here form day two and three, so the first one and a half days will be the best to bat on,” Kohli said ahead of his 50th Test as captain.

“Vihari unfortunately misses out on this game and Umesh Yadav replaces him. We don’t need to feel like we need to strengthen the spin attack a bit more apart from Ash and Jadeja. There’s a bit of grass cover and the ball might reverse later, which is why we’ve included Umesh. We literally bat till No.8 with Ashwin and Jadeja there, so the extra batsman might not be needed.”

South Africa also made one change to their XI, handing paceman Anrich Nortje his Test debut as Dane Piedt sits out. Skipper Faf du Plessis said there was hope for the tourists if they bowl well in the first innings.

“[I] was more disappointed in losing the toss for the previous game. I was saying to Virat before the toss he must teach me the magic trick he uses to win the toss in India,” du Plessis said. “If you bowl really well in the first innings, you can take days four and five out of the equation. Just the one change, we’re bringing Nortje for Piedt. It was very positive in the last Test, the way we batted in the first innings. We didn’t get 20 wickets, that’s why we’ve brought in someone who can hopefully help us do that. I think he’ll be happy at making his debut on this pitch.

Teams

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada