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India vs South Africa 2nd Test: Rohit Sharma faces critical decisions as Team India aims to bounce back against South Africa | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: As Team India looks to level the series against South Africa in the second Test starting on Wednesday, captain Rohit Sharma faces crucial decisions to rejuvenate the team’s prospects.
After a disappointing defeat at Centurion, Sharma needs to carefully choose his bowling options and address the batting vulnerabilities exposed by the South African pace attack.
Key all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is set to make a comeback, providing the much-needed balance to the middle-order batting and contributing with steady overs. However, Sharma’s critical decision lies in selecting the third and fourth fast bowlers, with Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur under scrutiny. While Prasidh lacks experience in Test cricket, Shardul’s bits and pieces talent may not be sufficient on most days.
The top-order batters, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer, struggled against the bouncer barrage in the first Test, emphasizing the importance of batting depth. Shardul’s inclusion provides an assumption of depth on paper, but Sharma must weigh the trade-offs.
With one loss and one draw in three Tests in the new World Test Championship cycle, India are desperate for a win. However, the picturesque Newlands ground, where they have lost four of their previous six games, poses a significant challenge.

Sharma, still reeling from India’s World Cup final defeat and the recent Test loss, will seek redemption at Newlands. The skipper’s tactical acumen will be under scrutiny, and his decisions on the playing XI could shape India’s response.
The toss is expected to be crucial at Newlands, where the pitch promises to be a batting paradise with little assistance for spinners. Jadeja’s return is likely to see the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin.
Sharma’s most significant decision will be whether to stick with his specialist batters or introduce fresh faces like Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan. The two rookies, with limited Test experience, might provide a stronger challenge and inject some unpredictability into the bowling attack.

As South Africa boast a formidable batting lineup, featuring Elgar, Markram, de Zorzi, Petersen, and Bedingham, the new ball overs will be vital for India. Bumrah’s performance, coupled with favorable weather conditions, will be key to India’s bowling strategy.
While the bowlers need to step up, Sharma, the batter, also needs to rediscover his form. Facing the formidable Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi won’t be easy, and Sharma must out-think these accomplished bowlers.
The second Test at Newlands presents a critical juncture for Rohit and his team. The captain’s decisions on the playing XI, coupled with an improved batting performance, will be pivotal as Team India seeks to bounce back and remain consequential in the World Test Championship.
Teams (from):
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Yashashvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kona Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran.
South Africa: Dean Elgar (captain), Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Nandre Burger, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Zubayr Hamza, Tristan Stubbs.
Match starts at 2 pm IST.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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