Should India bring in an extra batter?

Despite winning the first Test against South Africa by an emphatic 113 run margin, there are still areas of concern for the Indian team.

The batting collapse in the second innings of the first Test should not go unnoticed as the visitors folded for 174 in 50.3 overs.

If not for the big score in the first innings, India might have struggled to produce the desired result with none of their batsmen scoring a fifty in the second innings.

The second Test at The Wanderers in Johannesburg, where India have never lost a Test in five attempts (2 wins and 3 draws), could be another seamer-friendly pitch offering a lot of bounce, which could make India about going in with an extra batter.

The way their three fast bowlers fared in the first Test, India don’t really need a back-up fourth bowler/all-rounder in Shardul Thakur, but instead could bring in a specialist batter in Shreyas Iyer or Hanuma Vihari to guard against any potential batting collapse.

Iyer must consider himself unlucky to be dropped for the opening Test despite a century and a half century on debut against New Zealand.

Ajinkya Rahane, who was preferred ahead of him, stroked a solid 48 in the first innings to justify his inclusion despite struggling for runs recently.

The lack of runs from Cheteshwar Pujara must be a worry as he managed just 16 runs in the match, including a first ball duck in the first innings.

Virat Kohli also needs a big innings to end his below-par run in Test cricket in the last two years. Kohli has only himself to blame for his twin failures in the Centurion as he perished in both innings, chasing deliveries wide of the stumps inviting the ire of Sunil Gavaskar.

‘(Marco Jansen) bowled at an angle across outside off stump, look at how far he (Kohli) played. Pretty similar to the first innings dismissal,’ Gavaskar said on Star Sports after the captain’s dismissal in the second innings.

Thakur took two wickets in the first Test but failed to make an impact with the bat. He could be the one facing the axe if India bring in an extra batter.

The Indians are likely to continue with their pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj who bowled their heart out in Centurion.

Probable XI: K L Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah.

Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI for the second Test against South Africa? Please pick your choices from the list and post your team in the message board below:

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