George Linde said his first exposure to Test cricket with South Africa has "been lessons" and accepted it was just Rohit Sharma's day as India took complete control of the third contest.

Left-arm spinner Linde was drafted in for the third Test in Ranchi due to an injury to Keshav Maharaj and finished with four wickets as India declared on 497-9 on day two - South Africa finishing on 9-2 in reply by stumps.

Linde's figures took a bit of a hammering as India chased quick runs on another shortened day, but the 27-year-old – who finished with 4-133 – is content with his return against a star-studded India line-up.

"Yeah, it's been lessons. I didn't expect to play Test cricket, well in this series," Linde said. 

"I obviously didn't expect to come back to play the Test series. So when I got the call-up, I was quite nervous but luckily I had a few days to just settle and then today a few lessons to learn, especially there at the end. 

"But if you'd told me I'll take four wickets on my debut, I'll take it any time of the year."

Rohit was India's chief protagonist with a maiden double century in the five-day format as India turned the screw in search of a 3-0 series whitewash.

All of Linde's wickets came on day two and he almost accounted for Rohit in his over of Test cricket, but Zubayr Hamza put a tricky one down at short leg.

"You know those catches, they stick or they don't. Unfortunately it wasn't our day. It was Rohit's," Linde added. "He played well so, well done to him."

Rohit Sharma labelled his maiden Test double century as "probably the most challenging" innings he has played.

India took complete control of the third and final Test against South Africa on day two in Ranchi, with Rohit scoring 212 from 225 deliveries to help the hosts to 497-9 declared, the Proteas reaching stumps on 9-2 in reply.

Rohit, who had three double hundreds in ODIs but never in the five-day format, faced a nervy wait after lunch was called while he was on 199.

The 32-year-old, who has excelled at the top of the order having endured a stop-start Test career to date, then saw out a maiden over upon resumption before finally getting over the line with an excellent pull for six off Lungi Ngidi. 

Asked about his wait, Rohit said: "That's the nature of the game. You can't do anything about it. I wouldn't say it's frustrating. It's just the laws of the game. 

"The time [a session] has to finish, it has to finish on that time.

"From my side, I wasn't thinking about that at all. Because I knew the time will come and whenever it's supposed to happen, it will happen. I was just trying to be positive, think positive at that particular time. 

"I know it can be frustrating at times but there's nothing you can do about it. I just went back happy [at lunch], you know, 199 not out, I'd take that any day."

Rohit now has six centuries in Test cricket but conceded this was the toughest innings he has played.

"I haven't played much, I have played only 30 Test matches," he added. 

"Yes, in terms of what was thrown at me in this particular Test match, I would definitely say that it was probably the most challenging one."

India had stumbled to 39-3 on day one before Rohit was joined by Ajinkya Rahane, with the duo putting on an outstanding fourth-wicket stand of 267.

"We've seen Ajinkya for so many years, the way his Test career has progressed, and whenever the team has been in a difficult situation, he's come and rescued us," Rohit said. 

"This isn't something he's done just once or twice, he's done it in many innings. This shows how strong he is, mentally, and how much hunger he has, to be able to steer the team out of bad situations.

"We've seen it outside India, we've seen it in India as well, so Ajinkya's Test graph, it's climbing one step at a time, and there can't be anything better for the team, because if your middle order is strong, whatever situation comes, you're confident that one guy will always put his hand up and take the team forward."

Rohit Sharma completed his first Test double hundred and Ajinkya Rahane added a century of his own as India moved into complete control of the third Test in Ranchi.

Starting day two on 224-3, India piled on the runs to declare on 497-9 and then reduced South Africa to 9-2 before bad light prematurely halted Sunday's action.

Rohit rapidly progressed his overnight total of 117 and reached a double century for the first time in the longest form of the game, having previously done so three times in ODIs.

His total had reached 212 from 255 deliveries when he finally fell to Kagiso Rabada, while Rahane moved from 83 to complete his 11th Test hundred with an innings of 115.

Bad light meant only five overs of South Africa's reply were possible, but that was enough for India to put the tourists in complete disarray after openers Dean Elgar (0) and Quinton de Kock (4) were removed.

Captain Faf du Plessis (1 not out) and Zubayr Hamza (0no) will return to the crease on Monday with their side right up against it in their efforts to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash.

The fourth-wicket partnership between Rohit and Rahane had reached 267 before Rahane finally fell shortly before lunch, caught behind after some sharp turn earned George Linde his first Test wicket, the debutant then going on to claim figures of 4-133.

Rohit smashed 28 fours along with six maximums, one of which got him to his double ton after he went into lunch tantalisingly close on 199. His brilliant effort came to an end when he was caught at fine leg when trying to take on Rabada (3-85).

Ravindra Jadeja scored 51 and Umesh Yadav whacked five sixes in an explosive 31 from just 10 balls as useful partnerships right down the India order ensured the hosts were just shy of 500 before Virat Kohli opted to declare.

Mohammed Shami dismissed Elgar for a duck with only the second ball of the innings in a dreadful start for the Proteas.

De Kock followed in the next over when he was unable to cope with a short ball from Yadav, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha claiming his second catch as India piled on the pressure.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour says having an in-form Rohit Sharma at the top of the order changes the dynamic of the India side after he made another century on day one of the third Test against South Africa.

Rohit was unbeaten on 117 and Ajinkya Rahane 83 not out when stumps were drawn due to bad light, with India on 224-3 as they bid to secure a 3-0 whitewash after being reduced to 39-3 in Ranchi on Saturday.

The selectors promoted Rohit to open for the first time in the longest format in the series against the Proteas and the 32-year-old has grasped his opportunity, making three hundreds.

Rathour has been impressed with the application Rohit has shown following his promotion and always felt there should be a place for the dangerous right-hander in all three formats.

"He is such an experienced player I don't think you needed to do anything with his technique, the only adjustment I think he had to make was his game plans," said Rathour

"In Test cricket you need to play through those tough spells and I think he's doing that really well in this series.

"If he can keep doing that, once he's set, then he is a phenomenal player - we all know that - he can really punish you. He needed to make that mental adjustment to his game plans and he's done that well. 

"I always said he's too good a player not to be playing in any format, so I think it was a good call to get him to open and with the amount of runs scored of course, I think he has settled the issue for the time being.

"Somebody with his experience and the kind of cricket he plays, if he starts coming good for you at the top of the order that changes everything for the Indian dynamic - even when you are touring."

 

Rohit Sharma made his third century of the series and Ajinkya Rahane was also closing in on a hundred as India hit back after a poor start on day one of the third Test against South Africa in Ranchi.

Kagiso Rabada took two early wickets in a magnificent new-ball spell and India - who gave a debut to Shahbaz Nadeem - were 39-3 when Anrich Nortje removed Virat Kohli for 12.

That was as good as it got for a Proteas side that included five changes - with Heinrich Klaasen and George Linde handed Test bows - as an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 185 between Rohit (117 not out) and Rahane (83no) put India in control.

Rohit punished the Proteas attack with a combination of exquisite timing and power in his new role at the top of the order and Rahane played with great fluency in a classy knock.

India were 224-3 when bad light brought play to a premature end as they bid to secure a 3-0 whitewash.

Rabada (2-54) roared in to raise South Africa's spirits after their hammering in Pune last week, the in-form Mayank Agarwal (10) edging the paceman to Dean Elgar at third slip off the final ball of the fifth over.

Cheteshwar Pujara soon followed without scoring when he was struck on the back pad and given leg before wicket, with Rabada then denied a third wicket as Rohit overturned an lbw decision.

Nortje claimed the huge scalp of Kohli, who made a Test-best 254 not out last week, by getting one to nip back in and strike the skipper bang in front.

Rohit and Rahane saw India through to 71-3 at lunch and played with great freedom as the runs flowed in the afternoon session, Rabada twice taken for 13 in an over.

The aggressive Rohit and Rahane attacked Dane Piedt and the opener reached three figures for the sixth time in the longest format by disdainfully dispatching the spinner for one of four sixes in his imperious knock.

Rahane also lofted Piedt down the ground for six, while Linde bowled with reasonable control, but the breakthrough was not forthcoming and only 58 overs had been bowled when stumps were drawn under dark clouds.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis joked he is considering sending another player to the toss for the third Test against India as he aims to correct his side's recent woes.

The Proteas are 2-0 down in the series after suffering heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

With the three-match series already lost, South Africa head to Ranchi looking to restore some pride as a frustrating 2019 draws closer towards a conclusion.

Du Plessis cited winning the toss as a crucial factor but, with South Africa having lost their last nine coin-flips on Asian soil going back to 2015, failing to win any of the subsequent Tests – the Proteas' skipper conceded he might have to send out a substitute in order to change their luck.

"We've felt that we've done it [compete] in stages, more probably in the first Test, so hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow," Du Plessis told reporters.

"Probably I will [send] somebody else to the toss, I'll give you that, because my record so far hasn't been great, and then, yeah, if we put big runs on the board in the first innings, that's where we need to start."

Du Plessis also acknowledged his side – who lost the first Test by 203 runs and the second by an innings – can only regain confidence by taking the fight to India.

"It is tough when you're losing," he said.

"For us, we're very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who've stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.

"So it's important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can't expect things just to happen."

South Africa's task has been made harder by the absence of batsman Aiden Markram, who will miss the final Test due to a wrist injury he sustained while "lashing out at a solid object" following his second-innings dismissal in Pune.

Sarfraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan's Test and Twenty20 captain, also losing his place in the squad for both formats.

Pakistan have endured a difficult 2019, with a poor start to the Cricket World Cup group stage meaning a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semi-finals.

Sarfraz's sacking comes in the wake of a 3-0 T20 defeat to Sri Lanka, as the world's top-ranked side in the shortest format succumbed to a series whitewash.

While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Sarfraz – who retained his position last month despite his performances coming under scrutiny – has been removed as the team's skipper ahead of their Test and T20 tour of Australia, which starts in November.

Azhar Ali – who was white-ball captain prior to Sarfraz – will replace the wicketkeeper-batsman as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side until the 2020 World Cup.

In a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Azhar said: "There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.

"I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.

"Sarfraz has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players, and I now look forward to inspiring those skilful players.

"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management."

Pakistan dismissed their head coach and chief selector following the World Cup, with Misbah-ul-Haq taking over both positions.

Aiden Markram will miss South Africa's third Test against India with a fractured wrist sustained when the opener "lashed out at a solid object".

The 25-year-old was dismissed for a pair in Pune as the Proteas crashed to an innings-and-137-run loss in the second Test last week.

India claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three-match series and Markram will not be available for the dead rubber having suffered a fracture when he struck an object in frustration at his poor performance.

"It's sad to be going home on this note and I completely understand what I've done is wrong and take full accountability for it," Markram said.

"It's unacceptable in a Proteas environment and to let the team down is what hurts me the most. I've learned a lot from this and the other players I'm sure have learned from it as well.

"We understand in sport that emotions run high and sometimes the frustration gets the better of you as it did for me, but like I said, it's no excuse. I've taken full responsibility for it, I have apologised to the team and hopefully I can make it up to them and the people of South Africa soon."

Markram made a combined 46 in the two innings of the first Test, meaning he ends the series with an average of 11.

South Africa have not called up a replacement for the third Test, which begins on Saturday.

Darren Bravo has been left out of West Indies' squad for the one-off Test with Afghanistan, while spinner Hayden Walsh has been called up for the one-day internationals and Twenty20s.

Phil Simmons, who on Monday was appointed as coach for a second time, will be in charge for a trio of Twenty20s, three ODIs and a Test, which take place in India next month.

The squads for the three formats were revealed on Tuesday and Bravo will not feature in the Test match having managed a combined 47 with the bat across four innings against India in August.

Alzarri Joseph, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris and Jomel Warrican have been brought in, with Shannon Gabriel missing out through injury and wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton omitted.

Leg-break bowler Walsh, who has represented the United States in both ODIs and T20s this year, has received a first West Indies call-up for the limited-overs squads.

He has been rewarded for taking 22 wickets for the Barbados Tridents at the Caribbean Premier League, while opener Brandon King, the competition's leading scorer, has also been included.

Kieron Pollard will captain the team for the ODIs and T20s, but Chris Gayle remains absent despite having made a U-turn over his retirement.

 

West Indies Test squad: Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph.

ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd.

T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out for up to six weeks after breaking the middle finger on his right hand when he punched a dressing room wall.

The embarrassing incident followed his dismissal for Western Australia against Tasmania on Sunday.

Marsh lashed out after he was caught and bowled for 53 by Jackson Bird on the final day of a drawn Sheffield Shield opener at the WACA.

He vowed never to repeat the rush of blood to the head and faces the prospect of being ruled out for the start of the Test series against Pakistan due to a self-inflicted injury.

"I've fractured my middle finger. It's going to leave me out for about four to six weeks at this stage," said the 27-year-old Western Australia captain.

"It certainly will be an isolated incident, that's for sure, and it won't be happening again.

"It's a good lesson for me, hopefully it's a good lesson for other people as well. At the end of the day it's a game of cricket. Sometimes you get beaten, sometimes you get out, and you can't be punching walls.

"As a captain, I've done a lot of work in setting a good example on and off the field over the last 18 months since I took over.

"This is a small hiccup for me. I said I was disappointed in myself and it won't happen again, and it's not an example I want to be setting not only for my team-mates, but for everyone here at the WACA and everyone else in cricket."

Zimbabwe and Nepal have been readmitted by the ICC after suspensions for political interference were lifted.

The world governing body stripped Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) of full member status in July after state-owned enterprise the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the board.

SRC acted after issuing a directive that the governing body's elective annual general meeting would be suspended amid allegations over the nomination process and the violation of ZC's constitution, along with "various other controversies".

The ICC has now cleared Zimbabwe to regain member status following board meetings in Dubai.

Zimbabwe will be able to feature in the ICC Men's Under-19 Cricket World Cup in January and compete in the ICC Super League next year.

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "I would like to thank the Zimbabwe Sports Minister for her commitment to the reinstatement of Zimbabwe Cricket.

"Her desire to work in support of Zimbabwe Cricket was clear and she has unconditionally complied with the conditions set down by the ICC Board. Funding to Zimbabwe Cricket will continue to be on a controlled basis as part of a collective effort behind getting the game in Zimbabwe back on an even keel."

Nepal has also been added as members on a conditional basis three years after they were suspended for breach of the ICC regulations that prohibit government interference and require free and fair elections.

Manohar added: "Given the progress made in Nepal, a transition plan will now be developed for the Cricket Association of Nepal to support full compliance with Associate Membership criteria, which will also involve controlled funding."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Thabang Moroe has issued a rallying cry and declared these are "exciting times" just a day after the Proteas suffered a record Test defeat to India.

India won by an innings and 137 runs - their biggest margin of victory against South Africa - in Pune on Sunday to wrap up the series with a match to spare.

Virat Kohli's side took the opening match by 203 runs and the tourists will have to show a vast improvement in order to avoid a whitewash in Ranchi.

Moroe has called for fans to back Faf du Plessis' side in a transitional period in a new era following the departure of head coach Ottis Gibson and the retirement of key players.

"It was always going to be a difficult challenge taking on the top team in the world – certainly under their own conditions – in India at a time when we have introduced a new team structure," Moroe said.

"In the past two years we have had to bid farewell to some of the great names of international cricket such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn who between them played nearly 450 Test matches for the Proteas.

"You don't replace that kind of experience overnight and we need to give a new generation time to settle.

"These things take time and I am confident that we will already see improvement in our next Test series when England are our visitors during the festive season. I am sure that our supporters will rally behind them on home turf. 

"These are, in fact, exciting times for South African cricket with new names and faces coming to the fore. Our talent pipeline has produced the likes of Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Zubayr Hamza over the last few years and our development systems are clearly in good shape.

"There is a huge incentive on our young players to put pressure on the incumbents. There is nothing like good competition for places that brings out the best in all."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis would love to see his team demonstrate the ravenous hunger for runs that Virat Kohli showed for India in the one-sided second Test.

The India skipper set the platform for a dominant victory by making 254 not out in the first innings, as the home team piled up an intimidating 601-5.

After India won the first Test by 203 runs in Visakhapatnam, South Africa were thumped this time by an innings and 137 runs in Pune to surrender the series after being bowled out for 275 and 189.

It was South Africa's heaviest Test defeat to India.

Du Plessis used seven bowlers in an effort to unsettle Kohli on the first two days of the match, but to no avail.

"The way India batted, and especially Virat getting a 250, that takes a lot of mental toughness to put a score like that on the first innings," Du Plessis said.

Kohli's score was his highest in Tests and it took him through the 12,000-run barrier in the five-day game.

"It's trying to stop him," said Du Plessis. "We saw it in the first Test as well [with other India batsmen]. As captain you try to think of ways, how you can change little things, field placements or bowling placements, but he was too good in this Test match.

"All the questions, and all the stuff we threw at him, he had answers for. [He was] just relentless and sticking to his game, and for me what really stuck out from that was a hunger for runs.

"You could see they were determined to score big and not get tired and satisfied of getting a hundred and stopping. It was great value for us as batters – when you're on top of your game, making sure you're really hungry and making sure you can put in big performances that can affect the outcome of the game."

Du Plessis suggested South Africa had found the Kohli experience exhausting.

"Two days in the field, it can wear you down," said Du Plessis. "Since then, it was trying to play catch-up and with a very good India bowling attack. And these conditions, they don’t give you much and you need to be on top of your best game.

"If you're not, you're going to be found wanting, and we were found wanting in this Test match."

South Africa will expect more from their attack in the third and final Test, starting in Ranchi on Saturday.

"All in all, I think India are deservedly Test series winners," said Du Plessis. "They are a very tough team to beat at home and their record speaks for itself. We weren't at our best, so we'll try to make sure we can improve for the next Test."

Virat Kohli turned his attention to securing a whitewash after India consigned South Africa to a record innings-and-137-run defeat on day four of the second Test to win the series.

The struggling tourists were all out for 189 in the final session on Sunday to suffer their heaviest Test loss to India after Kohli enforced the follow-on in Pune.

Umesh Yadav (3-22) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-52) capitalised on the tourists' shortcomings with the bat, while Ravichandran Ashwin took 2-45 after claiming 4-69 in the first innings.

Kohli laid the platform with a Test-best 254 not out and the captain is determined to make it 3-0 in Ranchi with an 11th consecutive home series win in the longest format already in the bag.

Asked about his side's run of series triumphs on home soil, the skipper said: "It's been nice, but looking at the larger picture, the Test Championship, every game has even more value.

"We're not going to take the foot off the gas in the third Test, we're looking for a result again, and hopefully make it 3-0.

"Because these points are important, we understand that, with the Test Championship it's going to be very crucial, at all the stages, when we play away from home as well. And no one's going to relax at any stage, that's a guarantee."

Kohli says he would not have registered an astonishing seven double-centuries without taking an unselfish approach at the crease.

"I think it's getting the responsibility of being captain. If you go out planning a double-hundred, you will not get it. But if you go out planning playing five sessions for your team, invariably you cross that 200 mark as well." said Kohli.

"The mindset has always been to help the team as much as possible, play at the tempo the team requires you to, and in that process, big scores come. The mindset change is the only reason behind the big scores.

"Before that, I used to think from a personal point of view and put pressure on myself. But the moment you start thinking about the team, all the pressure goes away, and all you're thinking is how to contribute to the team's cause."

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh could face an injury layoff after hitting a changing room wall following his dismissal in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield draw with Tasmania.

The Western Australia captain damaged his right hand on his return to the pavilion after he was caught and bowled by Jackson Bird for 53 at the WACA on Sunday.

Marsh, recalled for Australia's defeat to England in the final Ashes Test at The Oval last month, must wait to discover the extent of the damage inflicted on himself during the first Shield match of the season.

"Marsh sustained the injury when he struck the wall in the changerooms following his dismissal earlier in the day," a statement on the Western Australian Cricket Association website said.

"The extent of the injury and a timeframe on his return will be determined later this week after further investigation."

Australia start a two-match Test series against Pakistan at the Gabba on November 21.

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