Captain Virat Kohli might become the first Indian captain to lose all Tests of a series in South Africa if the visitors don't buckle up and come up with a better show in the third and final Test of the ongoing three-match rubber, starting January 24 in Johannesburg.
Contrary to expectations, the No. 1-ranked Test side was not able to reverse its overseas fortunes in its first major tour outside Asia under captain Kohli.
India were ouplayed by 72 runs in the first Test on a fast and bounce-rich track in Cape Town. The visitors suffered a 135-run thrashing in the second Test, thereby conceding an unassailable 2-0 lead to the Proteas.
Unlike the Indian teams that had toured South Africa in the past, Kohli-led side's pace-bowling attack delivered, taking 20 wickets in both Tests. However, insipid batting performances, especially from the top order, in both the matches led to India's downfall.
Kohli, despite making a valiant 153 in Centurion, is facing flak for a couple of controversial selection calls, which saw Ajinkya Rahane, who averages more than 50, dropped for both the Tests while Bhuvneshwar Kumar missed out on the Centurion Test despite picking six wickets in Cape Town.
Possible changes in India's playing XI for 3rd Test
Rahane though is likely to be in the playing XI for the third Test as India are looking to include an extra batsman on what is expected to be another green-top at The Wanderers.
On the other hand, wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who was flown in as a replacement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha, is likely to replace Parthiv Patel as the Gujarat stumper came up with a below-par show behind the wickets in Centurion.
It remains to be seen if India will head into the Test with an all-pace attack as off-spinner R Ashwin has not only been effective with the ball but also has contributed with the bat.
On the other hand, South Africa are unlikely to make any big changes for the final Test. All eyes will be on their pace attack as they will look to rattle Indian batsmen once again.
Fast bowler Vernon Philander has hinted that the hosts will not hold back despite the series win and will go for the kill in the final Test.
"We want to win each and every Test match we play. There is no dead-rubber game for us, we will prepare as well as we can over the next two days to make sure we are ready come Wednesday. There are no dead-rubbers when we play any team in the world," Philander said.
Live streaming and TV coverage (Start time: 1:30pm IST, 10am local time)
India: TV: Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3; Live streaming: Sony LIV
South Africa: TV: SuperSport 2; Live streaming: SuperSport live
UK: TV: Sky Sports Cricket; Live streaming: Sky Go
US: Willow TV
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier.
Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Jasprit Bumrah.