KL Rahul leads, Virat Kohli out injured; South Africa bring in Duanne Olivier, Kyle Verreynne




Hanuma Vihari replaces Kohli in India’s XI, with the captain out due to back spasm

Toss India chose to bat vs South Africa

Virat Kohli had to sit out of India’s second Test against South Africa, in Johannesburg, with a back spasm. As a result, KL Rahul, the designated vice-captain, led India for the first time in international cricket.
Rahul won the toss and chose to bat, making only the one change: Hanuma Vihari came in for the injured Kohli.

“Unfortunately Virat has had an upper back spasm. The physios are on him, hopefully he’ll recover for the next Test,” Rahul said at the toss. “It’s always every Indian player’s dream to captain his country. Today I’ve got this opportunity, so really grateful and looking forward to the challenge. We’ve had a few good wins here and want to continue to do that.”

South Africa had one forced change and one tactical one. Kyle Verreynne took the gloves in place of the retired Quinton de Kock, while Duanne Olivier replaced Wiaan Mulder. Olivier had missed the first Test, having not recovered from the after-effects of Covid-19 and a hamstring niggle.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar said Kohli missing out “didn’t really bother him”, and that his focus was on his team. “Losing Quinny is never ideal, but as I’ve alluded to the team, we need to carry on,” Elgar said of missing de Kock.

It’s a balmy day in Johannesburg, with overnight thunderstorms having given way to clear skies.

South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar (capt), 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Keegan Petersen, 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 Temba Bavuma, 6 Kyle Verreynne (wk), 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Duanne Olivier, 11 Lungi Ngidi
India: 1 KL Rahul (capt), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Hanuma Vihari, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


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