India make three changes to the line-up for Centurion Test


South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is hoping for pace and bounce from the Centurion wicket in the second Test against India, but an "unknown" pitch makes him wary.

The 23-year-old right-hander Markram registered his second fifty with the help of nine fours. KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara batted in adjacent nets, followed by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and then Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha, pointing to another five-batsman line-up.

The other selection issue is opener Shikhar Dhawan. I am not saying that Ajinkya can not or will not start in this game. "Our culture is strong on making sure that when young guys come into the team that we treat them as though they have played 50 or 70 or 100 Tests", he revealed.

"That series went by in home conditions without the Indian batsmen playing any real fast bowling". However, if they do not, du Plessis' men could cause all sort of headaches for India. For Dhawan, it looks like the injury has taken a shot at his fielding which was sluggish in the first Test.

After slumping to a moral-sapping 72-run defeat in the opening Test in Cape Town to go down 0-1 in the series, India will look to bounce back to keep themselves alive in the series.

India captain Virat Kohli on Friday took a dig at critics questioning Ajinkya Rahane's exclusion in the first Test against South Africa, stating that those who wanted his deputy's omission are now clamouring for his comeback. The mental-up of the Indian players in this game will decide whether or not they will be equal to the task at SuperSport Park.

After South Africa's first Test win, head coach Ottis Gibson said: "I'm a very fast-bowling minded coach and I guess we will always have to find a balance to see if we can get four fast bowlers in the team, first of all. But we made a decision to go with this combination and current form was definitely the criterion", added Kohli.

To make matters worse, the Newlands pitch was an exception even by South African standards - along with pace and bounce, it had significant sideways movement too, a fact Faf du Plessis acknowledged in the post-match interview.

Rohit Sharma's inclusion ahead of Ajinkya Rahane was also one of the hottest topics of debate after India was humbled in Cape Town and the team management can address the concern in the second game. It will be a do-or-die game for India at Centurion, who, with one more loss, will lose the Test series. He felt that would have prepared Indian batsmen for the challenge they were to face in South Africa.

"It looks a really lively pitch", Kohli said at his pre-Test press conference on Friday. Ishant Sharma is also a good bet keeping in mind the bouncy nature of the Centurion track.