Ranchi - On-song Virat Kohli is looking to topple Aussie run machine Steve
Smith in the international batting rankings as India push for a
whitewash over South Africa in the third Test starting on Saturday.
career-best 254 not out in India's second successive win in the
three-match series moved him to within one point of Smith in the
International Cricket Council Test chart.
Smith replaced Kohli at
number one last month following his blazing Ashes series against England
and after the Indian star made a golden duck against the West Indies.
Australian, who only returned to Tests in August after a year-long ban
for ball-tampering, is out of action in the five-day format until
November 21 when Australia host Pakistan.
Kohli regained lost
ground against the struggling South Africans in the current series as he
scored his seventh Test double century, joining England great Wally
Hammond and Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene.
He also went past Don Bradman's tally of 6 996 runs in 52 Tests.
the Pune win last Sunday, India registered a record 11th straight Test
series triumph at home. Australia had two streaks of 10 home series
"I'm just happy to be where I am. Putting the team in a
commanding position is the only thing I strive for," said Kohli, who
tops the ODI batting chart.
Africa suffered a fresh blow on Thursday as opening batsman Aiden
Markram was ruled out of the final Test after hurting his wrist when he
"lashed out at a solid object", Cricket South Africa said.
incident happened "in frustration" after Markram was out for his second
duck of the second Test in Pune last Sunday as India won the match by an
innings and 137 runs, and with it the series.
Markram called his actions "unacceptable" and said that "to let the team down is what hurts me the most".
No replacement has been called up, opening the way for Zubayr Hamza to make his second Test appearance.
Faf du Plessis will meanwhile be hoping to give his team more of a
chance from the get-go in Ranchi after losing the toss in the first two
It allowed India to amass a mammoth first-innings total of
502 in Visakhapatnam as South Africa's bowlers toiled, and then 601 in
This prompted former England captain Michael Vaughan to call Indian Test pitches "boring".
Dean Elgar's 160 has been the visitors' only standout show in the series so far.
Kagiso Rabada said the up-and-coming team - following the retirements
of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn - need to up their performance and their
"Our team is fresh and young, so the best thing we can do
is look at where we can improve and remember our strengths and build on
them," he said.
He added: "From a physical point of view, we need
to execute our skills and from a mental point of view, we need to
believe we can do it in certain situations. It's a balance we're working