India will be hoping Rohit Sharma replicates his white-ball form in the longest format when they begin their home leg of the ICC World Test Championship against South Africa in the series opening three-match series in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

India already announced their playing XI on the eve before the match. While captain Virat Kohli confirmed Rohit will open alongside Mayank Agarwal, notable exclusion came in Rishabh Pant, one who has been pitted as MS Dhoni s successor, who was dropped with senior wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha reclaiming his position back in the side.

Rohit failed to demonstrate his credentials in the build-up to the match when he was bowled for a two-ball duck in South Africa s sole warm-up game before the series. However, that should not deter his confidence and with KL Rahul dropped due to lack of runs, Rohit opening the innings could be a blessing in disguise for India which could also give the think-tank a settled opening pair.

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The series will also be an important one for Ravichandran Ashwin, who lost his position as the primary overseas spinner. Conditions favourable for spinners will give the Tamil Nadu tweaker added motivation to perform. Hanuma Vihari, who also been included in the playing XI, will be the third spinning option along with Ravindra Jadeja.