India vs South Africa 3rd ODI: Visitors Keen To Seal Off An Unbeatable Lead
India are 2-0 ahead in the series and are also way ahead mentally and physically as the hosts are struggling to recover from an array of injuries that have plagued them throughout the series.
An aggressive and dominant India would be keen to seal a 3-0 lead in the six-match One-day International series against the depleted South Africans when the two sides meet at Newlands, Cape Town, on Wednesday. India are 2-0 ahead in the series and are also way ahead mentally and physically as the hosts are struggling to recover from an array of injuries that have plagued them throughout the series. They lost Dale Steyn during the first Test, and now are without the services of AB de Villiers, at least till the 3rd ODI, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, both of whom are out of the remainder of the ODI as well as the T20I series.
In this scenario, South Africa would do very well indeed to recover from a 0-2 deficit, which looks unlikely as of now.
The visitors won the first two matches of the series in Durban and Centurion by six and nine wickets, respectively, dismantling the home side with consummate ease.
Twice previously, India have managed to win two ODIs in a bilateral series in South Africa -- in 1992-93 and in 2010-11.
In the latter instance, the visitors shot into a 2-1 lead, only to lose the five-match series 3-2 in the end. They had also lost 5-2 in the other instance.
But given the hosts' current travails, history repeating itself would be a major disaster for the Men in Blue.
Cricket South Africa didn't name a replacement for De Kock and Heinrich Klaasen, who finished as the third highest run- getter in the domestic one-day tournament here, is expected to make his ODI debut.
In a way, this could be a blessing in disguise for the hosts. De Kock has been out of form for a while now, failing to cross 50 even once in eight innings against India across both Tests and ODIs.
Klaasen's late inclusion will mean that he is yet to be scarred by Indian wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have shared 13 wickets in the first two matches.
The Proteas could also include more experienced Ferhaan Behardien to bolster the middle-order and leave out Khayelihle Zondo after his mixed debut outing on Sunday.
The other option for the hosts is to leave out David Miller, who has struggled against Yadav, accommodating both Behardien and Zondo instead.
Meanwhile, the Indian team is relishing a fine role reversal from the Test series. While South Africa shot into a 2-0 lead, the visitors had to chop and change repeatedly to find a plausible combination throughout the prior series.
In the present, there is once again no need to change things around. Virat Kohli, who has named 35 different playing elevens in 35 Tests, could very well field the same team for this third successive ODI.
If India win, this will also be India's third victory at Newlands, having played four ODIs at this ground, winning two and losing two, since 1992.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khayelihle Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk).
Match starts at 4.30 pm IST.