Karthik to join Test squad in South Africa; Saha injured


India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has been named as a replacement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha in the squad for the third Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. Saha suffered an upper left hamstring tendon injury during training on January 11, and was replaced by Parthiv Patel in the starting XI for the ongoing second Test in Centurion.

As a result, Karthik will be in South Africa a couple of weeks earlier than planned because he had already been picked for the six ODIs that will follow the Test series.

Karthik, who made his Test debut in 2004, played his last Test nearly eight years ago, against Bangladesh. Since then, he has been in and out of India’s limited-overs squads. Karthik, however, has managed to be on the selection panels’ shortlist with impressive displays in domestic arena. In the ongoing domestic season, Karthik scored 296 runs in four first-class matches at 59.20, which included three Duleep Trophy fixtures and one Ranji game. He has carried on his robust form into the T20s, making 211 runs including three half-centuries, in five innings in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

In Centurion, Saha’s replacement Parthiv has not had the best of Tests. While he scored 19 in the first innings, he dropped two catches and failed to attempt a third regulation chance. Hashim Amla was dropped on 30 off Ishant Sharma down the leg side in the first innings and went on to score 82. Later in the innings, Faf du Plessis was on 54 when Parthiv failed to hold on to an outside edge off R Ashwin.

In a tense second innings, Dean Elgar was on 29 and South Africa 70 for 2 when Parthiv did not go for a catch to his left. Elgar ended the day unbeaten on 36, and South Africa 90 for 2, which took their lead to 118 with eight wickets in hand.

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