Will India go back to the five-bowlers theory, or will they stick to playing another all-rounder/batsman again? Will Dale Steyn be fit in time for South Africa and with the pitch expected to aid turn, is another spinner the option for the visitors? Those questions and more remain the focus ahead of the 3rd Test match between India and South Africa in Nagpur, starting on Wednesday.
India have been the better team in this Test series so far, even if we have only had about four days' of play to judge. Having dispatched South Africa in under three days in the first match in Mohali, the final four days were washed out in Bengaluru, after the hosts had taken command of that particular contest as well.
Playing conditions suited to your strengths has been the key for India so far in this series, and with the Nagpur pitch expected to be another one which the spinners will enjoy, there is a call for Amit Mishra to return to the team, at the expense of Stuart Binny, who bowled all of three overs on that day one in Bengaluru, before play was called off.
Mishra, while not picking up too many wickets, did take the priceless ones of AB De Villiers in both innings in Mohali, and the leg-spinner's performances in the series in Sri Lanka was quite outstanding.
It is unlikely that Binny will get to play in the third Test, unless the pitch turns out to be one that will aid swing and seam â€“ which it will not (on Monday, the wicket looked dry). So, the option is to either bring Mishra back, give a debut to Gurkeerat Singh Mann â€“ a batting all-rounder â€“ or play with an extra batsman (read Rohit Sharma) and decide that four bowlers are enough.
Those four bowlers certainly did the trick on that day one in Bangalore, and it is certainly a point to consider for India, considering how brittle their batting lineup has looked. The rest of the team should remain the same, with Shikhar Dhawan ensuring he would get another chance, after that unbeaten 45 last time out.
South Africa's team decisions will be based on fitness and also on how potent a bowler they believe JP Duminy can be on this wicket. If Duminy can hold his own as a genuine spin bowler, then South Africa might again go with three pace bowlers. Who those pace bowlers will be is dependent on Dale Steyn passing a fitness test.
Steyn hasn't played after picking up a groin injury in the Mohali Test match, but boy could South Africa use the fast bowler's expertise, even if he was a little below-par in the first match.
"It will be a medical call," Morne Morkel said when asked about Steyn's chances. "You don't want to select a bowler if he is not 100% fit, because the last thing you want is for him to break down and he can't bowl.
If Steyn is deemed fit enough, then Kyle Abbott or Kagiso Rabada will sit out. One of those two will also sit out the match, even if Steyn is not fit, if South Africa decide to go with an extra spinner in Simon Harmer, who was quite good in the second innings of the first Test match against India, or Dane Piedt.
With Duminy also an off-spinner, Hashim Amla decided to go with the leg-spin of Imran Tahir over Harmer's offies in Bengaluru, but the Jamtha pitch might force South Africa to play an extra spinner, even if that is never their natural lineup.
Expected lineups: India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma or Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Stiaan Van Zyl, Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla (C), AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Dane Vilas, Kyle Abbott, Simon Harmer, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.