3rd Test: Changes aplenty for South Africa, Nadeem debuts for India
Shahbaz Nadeem was handed his India cap by Virat Kohli. (BCCI Image)

India’s Virat Kohli elected to bat for the third straight time after South Africa’s attempt to beat their bad luck at the toss with Temba Bavuma in the final Test Saturday. Proteas captain Faf du Plessis brought his deputy Bavuma to call the toss in an effort to change his side’s fortunes but South Africa went on to lose its 10th successive coin flip in Asian Tests.

The hosts, who have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, made just one change to their starting line-up from the previous win on Sunday. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been handed his international debut after being added to the squad late Friday in place of injured Kuldeep Yadav.

Nadeem come in to the side in place of pacer Ishant Sharma.

“We’ll bat first. Looks like a good wicket. Will be hard upfront and then got slower. Like the typical Ranchi wicket. It’s a no-brainer to bat first on this one. I don’t think it’s going to be slow but it will keep lower than Pune maybe. Should spin at a decent pace. As long as it turns with pace on the ball, we don’t mind the bounce,” Kohli said.

“Just one change – Ishant has been given a break. Shahbaz Nadeem makes his debut. Two seamers for reversing the ball. Unfortunately, Kuldeep couldn’t pull up. We checked on him yesterday but he didn’t respond well enough from his shoulder niggle. Nadeem is the local boy and it’s a dream debut. I’m really happy for him. It’s about playing consistent cricket for us. We’ll have to continue to work hard and look to win sessions of cricket. That’s the only message I look to pass on.”

Trailing 0-2, South Africa made a host of changes to avoid a clean sweep. They Proteas made five changes to their starting line-up, with Zubayr Hamza, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Lungi Ngidi and Dane Piedt added.

“It isn’t meant to be (about using Bavuma as a proxy skipper for luck),” du Plessis said. “Important toss as this looks the driest surface of the series. It’s about the first innings really and we need to put runs on the board when we bat. One forced change with Aiden (Markram). Few other changes as well. Change in the batting order. Quinton will open the batting. Hopefully he can put pressure on the Indian bowlers, like what Rohit has done for India.

“Heinrich Klaasen comes in as the wicket-keeper. A new spinner in George Linde makes his Test debut. Two weeks ago he was 1000 miles away from playing Test cricket but that’s how quickly things happen. Lungi Ngidi also comes in. We’ve gone in with five bowlers to take the 20 wickets and hopefully we can. Starting in India is a tough challenge and all teams that have played here will vouch for it. We did compete well in the first game but it didn’t go our way last game. We’re ready for the fight.”

Teams

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

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Temba Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), George Linde, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi