South Africa will have to do without Kagiso Rabada when they face India in a three-match ODI series.

Rabada was released from the squad on the eve of Wednesday's first game at Boland Park, afforded a rest ahead of the Tests against New Zealand next month.

The selectors did not call up a replacement for the paceman, who helped the Proteas come from behind to consign India to a 2-1 defeat in the recent Test series.

Spinner George Linde has been retained from the Test squad and the left-armer will be hoping to add to his tally of two ODI appearances.

South Africa have not won an ODI series since a whitewash of Australia in March 2020, and their most recent series against the Netherlands was postponed due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Virat Kohli is set to play in his first match since stepping down as India's Test captain.

With Rohit Sharma out of the tour due to a hamstring injury, KL Rahul leads the side and will open as the tourists strive to put behind them the disappointment of failing to win a first Test series in South Africa.

India have won the last two ODI series they have contested, beating both England and Sri Lanka by a 2-1 margin. The tourists have added Jayant Yadav and Navdeep Saini to their squad, with Washington Sundar missing out after testing positive for COVID-19.

South Africa were hammered 5-1 when they last faced India in an ODI series on home soil four years ago, Kohli claiming the man of the series award.

There will be no World Cup Super League points to play for in this series, but South Africa must build some momentum as they are currently outside the automatic qualification spots for the showpiece in India next year.

Kohli overdue a century

Kohli brought a halt to his long reign as Test skipper a day after South Africa were beaten by seven wickets in the third and final Test at Newlands.

The 33-year-old had relinquished the Twenty20 captaincy following the World Cup late last year and was then replaced by Rohit as ODI skipper.

Kohli had to contend with further questions about his lack of runs ahead of that decisive match in Cape Town and you have to go back to November 2019 for his last international century, that coming against Bangladesh in the longest format.

He has not reached three figures in an ODI since a game against West Indies in August 2019, but averages 59.07 in this format and could thrive without leadership duties.

South Africa have unearthed a gem in Jansen

Marco Jansen was magnificent in his first Test series, the all-rounder taking 19 wickets at an average of 16.47 as he caused the India batters all sorts of problems.

South Africa have unearthed another gem in the form of the towering 21-year-old, who has a very big future ahead of him and can make a big impact in his first taste of ODI cricket.

Quinton de Kock brought his Test career to an end after a defeat to India in the first Test at SuperSport Park but can still have a big role to play in the shorter formats.

Skipper Temba Bavuma impressed with the bat in the Test series and South Africa will look to him to make some significant contributions as they battle to inflict another defeat on India.

Virat Kohl has helped India make "rapid strides in all formats", according to former star Sourav Ganguly.

Kohli, 33, announced his resignation as India Test captain on Saturday following a 2-1 series defeat to South Africa.

He had already called time on his reign as Twenty20 captain after the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in late 2021, with Rohit Sharma taking that role before also replacing his team-mate as ODI skipper.

Kohli was left disappointed by a lack of communication by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) before he was told he would be stood down as ODI captain, though Ganguly explained matters differently.

The BCCI president, by contrast, suggested he did not want Kohli to relinquish the T20 captaincy, while he stated India wanting only one white-ball captain as the reason for Kohli's removal as ODI skipper.

Nevertheless, Ganguly – who scored over 11,000 runs for India in ODIs – was quick to pay tribute to Kohli following his resignation.

"Under Virat's leadership Indian cricket has made rapid strides in all formats of the game," Ganguly wrote on Twitter. 

"His decision is a personal one and BCCI respects it immensely. He will be an important member to take this team to newer heights in the future. A great player, well done."

Kohli led India a record 68 times in the longest format after initially captaining the Test side for the first time in 2014 against Australia before landing the role permanently the following year after MS Dhoni's retirement.

Only Graeme Smith, Allan Border, Stephen Fleming, Ricky Ponting and Clive Lloyd captained their country more often in Test matches.

Kohli is India's most successful Test captain with 40 victories and averaged a mammoth 54.80 during his tenure, scoring 20 centuries and making 18 half-centuries as he managed 5,864 runs from 113 innings.

KL Rahul was recently named vice-captain so is among the favourites to take the captaincy next.

Virat Kohli has stepped down as India Test captain following the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa.

The 33-year-old took over as skipper in the longest format following MS Dhoni's retirement in 2014 and has gone on to lead his country 68 times in the longest format.

Kohli called time on his reign as Twenty20 captain following the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates late last year, with Rohit Sharma taking that role before also replacing his fellow batter as ODI skipper.

India failed to secure a first Test series win over South Africa after they lost the decider at Newlands by seven wickets on Friday and Kohli has confirmed that will be his last match as captain.

Kohli posted on Twitter: "It has been seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance everyday to take the team in the right direction.

"I've done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it's now,

"There have been many ups and also some downs along the journey, but never has there been a lack of effort or lack of belief.

"I have always believed in giving my 120 per cent in everything I do, and if I can't do that, I know it's not the right thing to do. I have absolute clarity in my heart and I cannot be dishonest to my team.

"I want to thank the BCCI for giving me the opportunity to lead my country for such a long period of time and more importantly to all the team-mates who bought into the vision I had for the team from day one and never gave up in any situation.

"You guys have made this journey so memorable and beautiful. To Ravi [former India head coach Shastri] Bhai and the support group who were the engine behind this vehicle that moved us upwards in Test Cricket consistently, you all have played a massive role in bringing this vision to life.

"Lastly, a big thank you to MS Dhoni who believed in me as a captain and found me to be an able individual who could take Indian cricket forward."

Kohli is India's most successful Test captain, having led his country to 40 victories.

KL Rahul will be in line to step up and succeed one of India's greatest ever players, having recently been appointed as vice-captain in place of Ajinkya Rahane.

Kohli gave no indication he would quit after the loss to the Proteas in Cape Town, warning India "must come back as better cricketers” and improve with the bat.

Virat Kohli has stepped down as India Test captain following the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa.

Virat Kohli says India must address their batting frailties and "come back as better cricketers" after they were consigned to a 2-1 Test series defeat by South Africa at Newlands.

The Proteas completed their fightback in Cape Town early in the afternoon session on day four, chasing down a target of 212 to wrap up a seven-wicket victory.

Keegan Petersen was named man of the match and player of the series after making a classy 82 before he chopped on to a delivery from Shardul Thakur on the penultimate day, having been dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on 59.

That was the only wicket to fall on Friday, with Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and Temba Bavuma (32no) seeing Dean Elgar's side home.

India had taken a 1-0 lead at SuperSport Park, but they were unable to celebrate a first Test series triumph in South Africa.

Captain Kohli doffed his cap to the Proteas and warned India will be in for more disappointment unless they improve with the bat.

"It's a great spectacle of Tests for everyone to watch; hard-fought series. Great first game, but South Africa did amazingly well. In both Tests they won, they were clinical with the ball in crunch moments," said Kohli.

"Lapses of concentration cost us key moments and they seized those moments; absolutely deserving winners in the end.

"One of the challenges we've faced touring abroad is make sure capitalising on momentum, when we've done that we've won Tests away from home. When we haven't, they've cost us quite bad.

"We've had a few collapses that have cost us in important moments and Test matches. It's batting; can't pinpoint any other aspect. People talk about pace and bounce, considering their heights, they were able to get much more off the wickets in all three Tests.

"They applied pressure long enough for us to make mistakes. It's the understanding of conditions for them which they know very well. The batting has to be looked into, no running away from that.

"Having collapses every now and then is not a good thing. Obviously very disappointed, we know how far we've come as a team. That people expect us to beat South Africa in South Africa is testimony to how far we've come.

"We haven't done it, that's the reality, accept it and come back as better cricketers. We've got to credit the opposition where due."

Kagiso Rabada and Virat Kohli enjoyed a thrilling personal tussle as South Africa got the better of India on day one of the final Test in their three-match series.

It is winner takes all in the series decider, and India put themselves in after winning the toss for the third straight time. However, in overcast conditions in Cape Town, South Africa's quicks thrived as the tourists were bowled out for 223.

Making his 50th Test appearance, Rabada (4-73) led their attack brilliantly, dismissing Mayank Agarwal (15), Ajinkya Rahane (9) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) before he finally came out on top in his battle with India's captain.

Playing his 99th Test, Kohli was the only India batsman to score above 50 as he showed his class with a patiently crafted 79, with support from Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Rishabh Pant (27), both of whom fell to Marco Jansen, who finished with 3-55.

Kohli changed tack after Pant's dismissal, getting on the front foot to propel India over 200, though Rabada got his man when India's skipper – who had survived a South Africa review earlier in the innings – pushed at a ball outside off stump.

Lungi Ngidi got a deserved wicket to finish off India's innings, giving the hosts chance to take to the crease in the final session, with the cloud cover having made way for sunshine.

Proteas captain Deal Elgar was drawn into an edge by Jasprit Bumrah (1-0), giving India a boost, but Keshav Maharaj (6) and Aiden Markram (8) guided South Africa to 17-1 at stumps.

Restrained Kohli goes up against rampant Rabada

Kohli came out in the 13th over with his side at 33-2, and provided just the tonic to South Africa's rapid start, leaving 65 of the first 100 deliveries that were outside his off stump.

Over the last five years of Test matches, just four batters have shown more restraint and patience, while his contest with Rabada was fascinating, particularly between the 47th and 49th overs, when Kohli was beaten twice and edged just short of second slip.

Rabada came up with the goods in a final session that saw six India wickets fall, though Kohli's stand could just have kept India in this Test after a dreadful start. It is just a shame no fans could be at Newlands to witness it.

Brilliant Bumrah hits back

South Africa had to face eight overs in the final half-hour of play, and four of those came from the quite sensational Bumrah, who bowled 23 dot balls and took the wicket of Elgar to boot.

Returning captain Virat Kohli says he has nothing to prove as India go in search of a historic Test series victory over South Africa at Newlands.

Kohli will return to lead the tourists for the decider in Cape Town on Tuesday after missing a seven-wicket defeat at the Wanderers last week due to back spasms.

Hanuma Vihari would appear to be the most likely batter to step aside for the fit-again skipper in Cape Town, where India have never beaten the Proteas in five attempts in the longest format and must end that record to secure a first Test series win in South Africa.

Kohli's last Test century came against Bangladesh back in November 2019, but the 33-year-old feels the increased scrutiny on him is due to the incredible exploits that have established him as one of the best players in the world.

"It's not the first time [his form has been called into question]," Kohli said. "It's happened a few times in my career - England 2014 was one of those phases. 

"But the thing is, I don't look at myself from the lens that the outside world looks at me with, and eventually the standards that we're talking about today, that I'm being compared with, have been set by myself, and more than anyone else, I take a lot of pride in wanting to do the best thing for the team that I can, and wanting to perform regularly for the team, and hence I've been able to do that for a long period of time.

"You have to understand, in sport sometimes, things do not go the way you want them to go, but at the end of the day I realise, as a player, as a batsman, that I've been involved in very important moments for the team over the last calendar year or so, and for me that is a matter of a lot of pride, that I have been part of very important partnerships when the team needed me, and eventually those moments have been crucial for us in many Test matches.

"So sometimes your focal point has to shift; if all the time you're going to look at yourself and judge yourself on the basis of numbers and milestones, I don't think you'll ever be content or happy with what you're doing. 

"I take a lot of pride and happiness in the process that I'm following, and I'm at peace with how I'm playing and what I'm being able to do for the team when there is a tricky scenario, and as long as I'm doing that, and taking a lot of pride and motivation to be in those moments. 

"I have nothing else to worry about, because the reality of the situation is that you eventually want to make impact performances for the team, and my best effort is always to do that, and I truly believe that I don't need to prove anything to anyone.

"It's just that when you're in the place where I am, you are going to be constantly judged, and that is the job of the outside world. I don't look at myself like that."

Half-century for Proteas paceman Rabada 

Rabada will play his 50th Test at a ground where South Africa have only lost once in the longest format - against England two years ago - since the start of 2015.

Captain Dean Elgar, man of the match in the second Test after making a brilliant unbeaten 96 as South Africa chased down 240 to level the series at 1-1, revealed Rabada needed a "rocket" to fire him up following a loss in the first Test.

Rabada responded by taking three wickets in both innings in Johannesburg and Elgar will expect him to fire again with the pressure on in the final Test.

 

India ponder Siraj replacement

The tourists will be without Mohammed Siraj after he suffered a hamstring injury in the second Test, so either Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav are set to get the nod but Kohli kept his cards close to his chest on the eve of the match.

He said: "We are yet to sit down - myself, the head coach, the vice-captain - to decide what we want to do about [Siraj's] replacement.

"I say that because of our bench strength. It's difficult for us to figure out who will play because everyone is at the top of their game, bowling well, batting well, and these things become a point of discussion, contention, and you have to obviously have a healthy discussion around a decision like that, and just agree that everyone feels balanced about it.

"So yeah, we're yet to have that discussion, but I would rather be in this position where we are yet to decide who's going to play rather than having to figure out other options in terms of managing our balance and stuff like that."

Dean Elgar believes giving Kagiso Rabada "a rocket" helped South Africa secure a historic first Test win over India at the Wanderers.

The Proteas levelled the three-match series at 1-1 by achieving their highest successful run chase at the Johannesburg venue on a rain-affected day four.

Captain Elgar led by example with a brilliant unbeaten 96, gaining support from Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Temba Bavuma (23 not out) as South Africa chased down their target of 240 to wrap up a seven-wicket win.

Rabada took three wickets in each innings as South Africa kept the series alive following a first loss to India at SuperSport Park.

Skipper Elgar revealed paceman Rabada was fired up by some home truths.

He said: "With KG there was something that happened behind the scenes but we're not going to get into that. Sometimes KG needs a rocket. You could then almost sense the intensity and focus, he was in the zone.

"The moment he has that attitude he wants to bowl and wants to contribute, you have to use it as a captain. It was awesome to see him fire."

Elgar gave another great demonstration of his fighting spirit in a tenacious and inspiring knock, leading by example at the top of the order.

The opener said: "It's always a privilege to represent your country. I would like to think the knocks I take make me extra motivated to perform. Some would call it stupid and some would call it brave.

"The bigger picture is for us to win. We struggled to get a stable batting line-up and we had to be very patient. We've entrusted those positions to guys we feel can perform those roles and great to see them pull it off."

India's stand-in captain KL Rahul says Virat Kohli should be fit to return in the decider at Newlands after missing the second Test due to a back spasm, while Mohammed Siraj will be monitored after sustaining a hamstring injury.

He said: "Virat is feeling better already, he's been in the nets the last couple of days fielding and running around and I think he should be fine.

"Siraj is starting to feel better each day. A couple of days break might really help him. But we have quality on our bench as well, Ishant [Sharma] and Umesh [Yadav] are waiting.

"Looking forward to Cape Town. We expected every game to be competitive. A loss like this is disappointing but we've always been a team that gets hungrier after a loss."

India coach Rahul Dravid praised "phenomenal leader" Virat Kohli for keeping team morale high amid ongoing questions regarding his resignation as T20I captain and subsequent removal as ODI skipper.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain but is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly explained the selectors felt there would have been too much leadership in the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain, though the batsman dismissed those claims and has opted against attending pre-match media duties since.

But Kohli impressed as India beat South Africa by 113 runs at Centurion in the first Test of their three-match series and Dravid hailed the superstar for remaining focused on the matter at hand.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday ahead of the second Test in Johannesburg, Dravid said: "I know there's been a lot of noise on other issues a little bit, outside of the group, even leading into this Test match, but honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high, it's not been very difficult because, to be honest, it's been led by the skipper himself.

"I think Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the last sort of 20 days that we've been here – the way he's trained, the way he's practised, the way he's connected with the group.

"As a coach, sometimes, leading into the series, you know that there's not really too much you can do once the game starts, or there's not too much you can control in the results. But what you're really looking to do as coaches or as support staff, we're looking to prepare well and get the team into a really good space. 

"And Virat has been phenomenal in that – the way he's led the team, he's been absolutely, truly a leader, and I couldn't speak more highly about him and the way he's committed to his own preparation, his own practice, and also just the way he's connected with the group over the last two weeks.

"On and off the field he's truly been a fantastic leader and a really good captain, so that's really helped in creating a really good space. I felt we were in a really good space leading into the first Test match, and a lot of that was led by Virat and his leadership really came to the fore. 

"It's not been hard, it's been a pleasure to work with someone like Virat, he's been a phenomenal leader, and even personally I think that he's in a really good space."

"I think he's been a real credit to himself and to Indian cricket over these last two weeks in spite of all the noise that's been there around him."

India's chief selector Chetan Sharma has insisted Virat Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision to step down as the team's T20I captain.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old also believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain. However, he is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

Rohit, however, will not skipper India's white ball side in South Africa, with the batsman missing out due to a hamstring injury, with KL Rahul instead named as captain for the three-match ODI series.

Rahul has never led India before in any format, though he will at least be able to call on the experience of Kohli, who has been included in the 18-man squad and led India to victory in the first Test this week.

While announcing the squad at a news conference on Friday, Chetan was asked if Kohli's claims that he had not been asked to reconsider his decision were true, with those comments having contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's previous claim.

"When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody," Chetan said.

"Because the World Cup is upon you and you hear this news, what will be the reaction of a normal person?

"Everyone who was present in the meeting asked him to reconsider, to rethink; 'We can talk about this after the World Cup'. All the selectors felt this could affect the performance in the World Cup.

"It was told to Virat for the sake of Indian cricket to please continue as captain. It was told to him by everybody available in the meeting. Everybody said that.

"Who will not say that when you hear such news? You will be in shock. What will be your instant reaction? It was a matter of the World Cup.

"We thought let's talk after the World Cup. We told Virat the World Cup is upon us, and everybody requested let's talk after the World Cup.

"But he has his plans. We have to respect his decision. If someone has taken a decision, and he said in the media also, that he was thinking [along these lines] from the time of WTC, but at that time everybody told him to think about it."

Jasprit Bumrah will act as vice captain against the Proteas, while R Ashwin earned a recall for the first time since 2017 and Venkatesh Iyer received his maiden ODI call up.

The ODIs take place on January 19, 21 and 23.


India's squad in full:  KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

Virat Kohli felt the way India's bowlers wrapped up a historic victory over South Africa in the first Test showed the hallmark of their team as they made a "perfect start" to the three-match series.

The tourists secured a first win at SuperSport Park in the longest format at the third attempt, defeating the Proteas by 113 runs on the final day.

South Africa were all out for 191 just after lunch, Jasprit Bumrah taking 3-50 and Mohammed Shami 3-63 after claiming a five-wicket haul in the first innings.

Mohammed Siraj (2-47) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-18) also struck as India put themselves on course to celebrate a first Test series triumph in South Africa.

India captain Kohli paid tribute to KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who laid the foundations with first-innings knocks of 123 and 60, before praising his bowling attack for finishing off the job.

He said during the post-match presentation: "We got off to the perfect start. Getting the result in four days shows how well we played. It's always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball and in the field.

"A lot of credit goes to Mayank and KL, and we were in pole position at 270 for 3 after day one. We had a lot of belief in our bowling unit to get the job done."

During the match, Shami went past 200 Test wickets for his career, while Bumrah went from bowling the fewest overs in the first innings to the most in the second.

"The way these guys bowl together, it's just a hallmark of our team getting a result from that position," Kohli said.

"Shami is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top three seam bowlers in the world for me. I'm very, very happy for him to get 200 wickets and have an impactful performance."

A battling 77 from home captain Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma's tenacious unbeaten 35 failed to prevent India from drawing first blood.

South Africa failed to make 200 in either innings and Elgar says they must improve with the bat.

He said: "It was always going to be a bit tough. We could have executed our lengths better on day one, but we fought back after lunch, but then we let it slip a little bit after tea.

"Our bowlers were brilliant after that [on day three]. It was great to restrict India. But with bat in hand, we let ourselves down quite a lot. I say the difference was the batting.

"I think we can have a little sit down and strategise going forward. I don't think we did a lot wrong."

Virat Kohli has insisted he was not asked to reconsider his decision to step down as India's T20I skipper and says he was not aware he might lose the ODI captaincy.

Kohli confirmed in September that he had decided to take a step back from leading India in the shortest format after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup.

However, he had agreed to stay on as India's ODI and Test captain, and remain available for selection in T20Is.

India failed to progress from the Super 12s in the World Cup, with Rohit Sharma named as captain for the subsequent T20 series against New Zealand.

But on December 8, Rohit was named India's new permanent white-ball captain.

The BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, explained that the selectors felt there would have too much leadership within the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain. However, the batsman has contradicted this statement.

 

"When I decided to leave the T20I captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well," Kohli told reporters.

"There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn't told to reconsider it. It was received well; I was told it's progressive and it's a step in the right direction.

"Then I told them I'd like to continue in Tests and ODIs, unless the office bearers and selectors feel otherwise.

"My communication was clear in what I wanted to do. I gave them the option, that if they feel I shouldn't [remain captain in Tests and/or ODIs], the decision is in their hands."

Kohli, who is staying on as Test captain, also revealed he was only told of the BCCI's decision to replace him as ODI skipper an hour-and-a-half prior to the squad announcement for India's upcoming red-ball tour of South Africa.

"I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on December 8 for the Test series," Kohli said.

"There was no prior communication to me at all from when I announced the T20I captaincy decision until December 8, when I got a call before the selection meeting.

"The chief selector [Chetan Sharma] discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed, and before ending the call I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, "okay, fine".

"In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That's what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all."

But Kohli is adamant the captaincy call will not impact his preparation for the South Africa Test series.

He added: "To be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities, nothing has, and nothing can derail me from that.

"A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not how one expects them to be, but you have to understand you can only do so much as an individual and we have to keep thing in tight perspective and do things that are in your control.

"I'm focussed, mentally prepared, and excited to do the best I can for the team and make the team win."

Rohit Sharma has replaced Virat Kohli as India's ODI skipper and has also taken over from Ajinkya Rahane as Test vice-captain.

Opening batter Sharma was installed as Twenty20 International captain for the recent series win over New Zealand following Kohli's decision to step down at the conclusion of the T20 World Cup.

Rohit has now landed the role on a permanent basis and will also lead his country in the 50-over format.

The 34-year-old will also serve as Kohli's deputy in the longest format rather than Rahane, who has retained his place in the squad for the upcoming three-match Test series in South Africa.

Rohit, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.return to the squad to face the Proteas after being rested for the 1-0 series win over New Zealand.

Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shubman Gill and Rahul Chahar miss out due to injuries.

The first Test begins at Supersport Park on December 26.

 

India Test squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Mohammed Shami., Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.

Mayank Agarwal held India's innings together with a terrific century on day one of the second Test against New Zealand, as Virat Kohli's return to the team saw the captain dismissed for a duck.

India posted 221-4 in Mumbai, with Agarwal 120 not out at stumps after a valiant effort at the top of the order.

All the wickets went to New Zealand's left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who at one point reduced India from 80-0 to 80-3 when he removed Shubman Gill for 44 and added the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli in quick succession.

Kohli had spoken on Thursday of being determined to go the "hard yards" where necessary for India's sake, having missed the recent T20I series and the first Test in order to take a breather.

Ajaz had Gill caught by Ross Taylor at slip before bowling Pujara with a heavily turning delivery and getting an lbw verdict to dismiss Kohli, who was not reprieved by a review with no sign of an inside edge.

Partners came and went, but Agarwal - who kept his place in the team while Ajinkya Rahane missed out through injury - ploughed on, making a case to stay in the side for India's next assignments, although Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul may have something to say about that. Rohit has been rested for this series, which Rahul has missed due to injury.

Shreyas Iyer, who had a century and a fifty in the first Test, fell for 18 this time around to end an 80-run partnership for the fourth wicket, and Agarwal and Wriddhiman Saha (25no) put on 61 to guide India through to the close with no further casualties, leaving the deciding match of a two-game series finely poised.


Agarwal earns his place

A cover drive off Daryl Mitchell took Agarwal into three figures, his fourth Test century. He then spanked Ajaz for six from the penultimate ball of the evening to cap an impressive day's effort. Agarwal has converted two of his previous tons into doubles, against South Africa and Bangladesh, and will hope to do the same here, having revealed some words of advice from coach Rahul Dravid.

"He had told me, 'When you get set, make it big'," Agarwal said. "I am happy to have capitalised on the start that I had. But that message was very clear from Rahul, that I should make it count.

"This innings was more about grit and determination, just to stick with the plan and be disciplined. I know I didn't look good sometimes, but I got the job done. Getting runs in this format, the hardest format of the game, is the most satisfying feeling."

Special day for Ajaz

Four wickets anywhere is good going for a bowler, but for Ajaz this doubtless felt particularly special. He was born in Mumbai and emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1996, going on to make his Test debut in 2018. Now 33 years old, he put India in a spin and will be chasing a third Test five-wicket haul on Saturday.

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