India aim for clean sweep against SA

– India have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match Test series

– Will be only the second time that Ranchi will be hosting a Test match

Ranchi: With the series already in their kitty, Team India will aim to go for the kill and clean sweep the three-Test rubber when they face a demoralised South African team in the final match beginning Saturday at the JSCA Stadium.

The hosts dominated the first two matches in all the three aspects of the game and dented the confidence of the Proteas severely. They won the first Test by 203 runs in Vizag and went on to better their performance in the next game, registering a comprehensive victory by an innings and 137 runs in Pune.

However, the visitors can hardly expect any respite in Ranchi as Virat Kohli’s men would like earn another 40 points and extend their lead in the World Test Championship.

“We are not going to take the foot off the gas in the third Test. We are looking for a result and hopefully make it 3-0. No one is going to relax at any stage, that is a guarantee,” Kohli had said after the Pune Test.

The Indian team has ticked all the boxes in the series so far. Their batsmen are scoring heavily, the spinners are picking wickets at regular intervals and the pacers — who have been on a roll in the last two-three years — have been relentless.

South Africa, on the other hand, have just not been able to cope up with the conditions on offer. The tracks, on which the two matches have been played so far, were by no means rank turners. They have been just not been able to come with a performance to match that of the Indians.

Their batters seem to be out of form. Barring contributions from the lower order, the top order batsmen have not been able to score big and put pressure on the Indian bowlers. The Proteas have not been able to make use of their first innings, a thing which skipper Faf du Plessis wants his batsmen to focus upon “We need to put big runs on the board in the first innings,” said du Plessis in the pre-match presser. “When you get runs in the first innings anything from there is possible. For us, first innings runs will be vital and then anything could happen in 2nd innings,” he added.

Yadav out, Nadeem added to India squad

Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been rewarded for his stupendous show on the domestic circuit with a call-up in the Indian Test squad after Kuldeep Yadav was ruled out due to a shoulder injury. Nadeem has been a prolific performer for Jharkhand and India A over a period of time. The left-arm spinner has taken 424 wickets in 110 first-class matches with 19 five-wicket and five 10-wicket hauls. “The decision to add Nadeem was made after Yadav complained of left shoulder pain,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad was quoted as saying in a BCCI press release.

Want to bat big like India, says Plessis on eve of third Test

South African captain Faf du Plessis has urged his embattled batsmen to take a leaf out of India›s book and ‘bat big’ like the hosts in order to salvage pride in the third and final Test. The final match of the series, which is already in India’s pocket following two convincing wins, starts here from Saturday. The introduction of the World Test Championship also gives his team reason to look for points instead of giving up altogether, according to du Plessis. “For me it’s important that the guys don’t feel like there is one week left in India and almost when you get on that plane to South Africa, the Test series we play now is for Test championship, there is points still up for grabs every Test match. So for me the challenge is more mental,”