The 36-year-old, standing in for the injured Temba Bavuma, is in prime form after a stellar 185-run performance in the first Test, and the hosts are determined to secure a victory in his honor.
Bowling changes on the card for India
India, on the other hand, are expected to make changes to their bowling attack after a comprehensive defeat in the opening Test.
Left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is likely to return, bringing depth to India’s batting lineup, which struggled in Centurion.
The Indian bowling lineup may see at least one more change, with Avesh Khan or Mukesh Kumar in contention. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj showed reasonable control in Centurion but lacked support from other bowlers.
Batting too struggled for India
India’s batting order faced challenges against South Africa’s pace attack, with captain Rohit Sharma continuing to struggle in South African conditions. Young batsmen Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer also looked vulnerable against the fast bowlers.
Less support for pacers: Newlands is expected to offer different conditions from Centurion, with less support for fast bowling but still providing assistance to bowlers. The pitch, adorned with a covering of green grass, is likely to be mowed before the match.
Forced changes for South Africa
In terms of team composition, South Africa will be without Temba Bavuma and Gerald Coetzee due to injuries. The hosts are contemplating whether to include a specialist batsman or opt for an all-rounder like Marco Jansen.
Lungi Ngidi, previously sidelined due to an ankle injury, is expected to be fit for selection, providing an additional boost to South Africa’s bowling options.
The match, which serves as the series decider, promises to be a captivating contest as both teams strategize for an edge in the final Test at Newlands.
South Africa: Dean Elgar (capt), Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, Tristan Stubbs, Zubayr Hamza, Kyle Verreynne (wkt), Marco Jansen, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Nandre Burger.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wkt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, KS Bharat (wkt), Abhimanyu Easwaran.
BCCI ends speculations, retains Rahul Dravid as India’s head coach alongside support staff
Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK), Langton Rusere (ZIM)
TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (AUS)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
(With inputs from AFP)