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India vs SA 2022: 3rd Test Best Predicted Playing 11 for Team India – 2 big changes

Virat Kohli set to return as we look at the 3rd Test best predicted playing 11 for Team India vs SA. 

Jan 11 Update: Umesh Yadav is selected in place of Ishant Sharma. That’s the only change from the below-mentioned predicted playing 11. 

1-1 is how the Test series stands as India and South Africa move to Cape Town for the 3rd and last Test match of the series. Until the last Test match, India had never lost at a Test match at Johannesburg. Coincidentally, in Cape Town, India have never won a Test match. Such contrasting performances for Team India at two different locations. 

While India couldn’t maintain their unbeaten run at The Wanderers, Johannesburg, Team India would be hoping to do the reverse at Cape Town by winning their first-ever Test match at the location. Also, in the process, win their first-ever Test series in South Africa. It’s not an improbable task, but certainly difficult.

According to the leading sports website, Betway, South Africa start as a favorite to win the match with Odds slightly in their favor. As of January 9, South Africa have odds of 13/8 in their favor. For India, the odds are 21/20. Whereas for a Draw, the odds are 7/2. 

From the team Standpoint, Team India shall see the return of Virat Kohli after having missed the second Test due to injury. There are also injury clouds over Mohammed Siraj, who had suffered a hamstring during the Test Match. So, with 2 possible changes, what’s the best predicted playing 11 for Team India for the 3rd Test match vs SA? Let’s find out in this article. 

Match Details:

Tournament: India Tour of South Africa 2021-22

Type: Test Series – 3rd Test

Where: Cape Town

When: January 11-15, 2 pm IST start

Openers: KL Rahul & Mayank Agarwal

KL Rahul captained India in the second Test match, and in the process joined the elite list of a few players to hit a fifty on captaincy debut. However, KL failed in the second innings when it was more important. Similarly, Mayank failed in both innings. Come to the third Test, both of them need to make sure that not only does Team India get good starts but they also score big. 

Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C) & Ajinkya Rahane

After having missed the second Test match, Virat Kohli is expected to get fit for the third Test match. If Virat Kohli returns, one of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Hanuma Vihari would miss out. Given that Hanuma Vihari got injured during the second Test match, it makes the decision easier for Kohli to replace him. 

But had Vihari been fit, it would have still been Vihari who Kohli would have replaced. Both, Pujara and Rahane scored brilliant fifties when India needed good runs in the second innings. Similarly, Vihari also hit a valuable 40 not out in the second Test match. But if one had to be left out, it would have unfortunately been Vihari. 

Lower-order: Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin & Shardul Thakur 

After taking the first half of 2021 by storm, Rishabh Pant has had a quiet second half of 2021 and onwards. In the last 11 innings, Pant has managed only 205 runs at an average of 19 with just 1 fifty. That’s quite an underwhelming performance from a player who has been a valuable batter in Tests. India would need him to play his natural game, and be more positive with his shot selection. 

Meanwhile, Ashwin and Shardul have given valuable runs in the lower-order in this series. In the 4 innings of the second Test, Ash and Shardul have scored 46, 0 and 16, 28  respectively. These are decent runs, but they need to step up further to give the strength to the lower-order. However, no questions on their bowling, which has been top-notch. In the last Test, Shardul also managed the best figures against South Africa. 

Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami & Ishant Sharma

India suffered a big blow in the second Test match as Siraj remained unfit for most of the Test match due to a hamstring injury. In the 2 innings, he could only manage 16 overs in total with only 6 coming in the second innings. With a lot of cricket to be played including the ODI series vs SA, India would not want to risk their star pacer’s fitness. So, expect one of Umesh Yadav or Ishant Sharma to replace him. 

Of the two, Ishant Sharma seems the best fit to replace Mohammed Siraj. It has been the case in overseas Tests in the last few years for India where Ishant has been preferred over Umesh Yadav. So, India would continue with the same combination with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami leading the bowling attack with Ishant as the third pacer. 

So, that completes the best predicted playing 11 for Team India for the third Test match vs South Africa. Overall, there are only two places to debate, and the solution is obvious. So, expect Virat and Ishant to come in for Vihari and Siraj respectively. 

India vs SA 2022: 3rd Test Match Best Predicted Playing 11 for Team India

Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah & Ishant Sharma

Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for Team India for the 3rd Test match vs South Africa? Please email your thoughts to

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