Captain Virat Kohli had made quite a few bold calls when it came to team selection for the first Test of the ongoing three-match series against South Africa.
While the inclusion of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah ahead of seasoned campaigners Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav worked in the team's favour, the move to drop vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and include in-form Rohit Sharma backfired.
Rohit struggled against the South African pacers, managing only 21 runs at Newlands, which offered quite a lot of pace and bounce even on the fourth day of the wicket.
Kohli even revealed he had made the selection call on the basis of "recent form" after the 72-run defeat in the first Test. Notably, Rahane had a poor run against Sri Lanka in the three-match series at home i November-December last year as he managed only 17 runs from three matches.
Despite Rohit's good run in the recent past (a century and two fifties against Sri Lanka at home), the selection call helped raise quite a few eyebrows as Rahane has been a crucial member of the Indian batting unit, especially in overseas conditions.
Will India drop Rohit?
Rahane had hit 209 in just two matches during India's 1-0 loss the last time they toured South Africa in 2013. Aslo, the vice-captain averages a staggering 53.44 from 24 matches on the road, in which he has hit 1817 runs, including six centuries and nine half-centuries.
Dropping Rohit after just one failure could be harsh on the limited-over specialist. However, the team management will be tempted to bring back Rahane to add solidity to the middle-order.
KL Rahul likely to play in Centurion
Meanwhile, India will also be looking to replace Shikhar Dhawan with KL Rahul as the Delhi basman looked clueless against the visitors' pace attack in both the innings at Newlands. While the former is attacking option at the top of the order, Rahul has shown he has the technique to excel both at home and on the road.
Off-spinner R Ashwin is expected to retain his place even in the playing XI if the conditions at Supersport Park warrant the addition of an extra pacer. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder's ability to contribute with the bat even in South African conditions and the presence of a fast-bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya makes it easier for the captain when it comes to choosing his bowling unit for the second Test.
Who will replace Dale Steyn?
On the other hand, South Africa are expected to continue playing four specialist fast bowlers -- a ploy that choked the Indian batsmen in Cape Town and eventually won them the first Test.
In the absence of injured Dale Steyn, South Africa are likely to include all-rounder Chris Morris in the side. They also have the option of choosing from two young seamers in Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi, who were added to the squad after the first Test.
Pitch and conditions in Centurion
India can expect another track with pace and bounce in the second Test. The Supersport Park track has traditionally been offering more bounce and less lateral movement. However, for the upcoming Test, pacers will get enough movement, according to The Indian Express.
There is no rain threat for the second Test, however the conditions might remain cloudy on all five days of the match.
Predicted playing XIs
India: Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris
The second Test will start at 1:30pm IST, 8am GMT in Ceturion on Saturday, January 13.