South Africa head into the final Test with the series even – an equation at which they must be surprised considering that they had spent much of the second Test-playing catch up and had earlier lost the opening Test quite comfortably.
In the final innings of the second Test, chasing a 240, the home side were the underdogs considering they had chased 250+ only twice at home before. But South African top order showed some unbelievable resolve and even uncharacteristic skills to get their team over the line.
Despite the result, they will still be underdogs for the final Test as the Indian side is way too strong.
They say don’t fix what isn’t broken and word is that the Proteas will stick to that advice. Keshav Maharaj has been a non-factor in the series so far but his place in the side is unlikely to be under threat. Thus, Marco Jansen, Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi to be their bowling five again.
India might be surprised at what transpired towards the end of the second Test but they won’t be too shaken up. Their batting did underperform, especially in the first innings when the deck was fresh, but that can happen to any side at some point in a Test series.
Conventional wisdom had suggested that their bowlers would have a field day in the final innings but the wicket stayed under covers for so long that it became easier to bat on when it was supposed to act the other way.
India coach Rahul Dravid acknowledged recently that a lack of height in the Indian pace unit was why they couldn’t get as much joy on the Wanderers wicket. Judging by that, one can expect hamstrung Mohammad Siraj to be replaced by one of Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.
Another big lift ahead of the decider is the fact that Virat Kohli is expected to recover and lead the side.