India wait on Kumble
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Last Updated: 10/04/08 12:18pm
Kumble: groin injury
India are waiting on the fitness of captain Anil Kumble for the third and final Test against South Africa, which starts in Kanpur on Friday.
"The surface here is dry and will assist spinners as the match goes on."
Anil Kumble Quotes of the week
Kumble is struggling with a groin injury and will make a decision on his participation on the morning of the game.
"Not yet fully (recovered)," was Kumble's assessment of his injury on Thursday. "I have to wait until tomorrow morning and make a call."
The hosts were bowled out for 76 in just 20 overs during the opening day of the second Test on their way to defeat by an innings and 90 runs, leaving them needing victory in Kanpur for a share of the series.
They are boosted by the return to fitness of fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who missed the first two Tests due to finger and toe injuries.
Munaf Patel replaces out-of-form RP Singh in a 16-man squad but, with the Green Park pitch expected to heavily favour spin, could be surplus to requirements.
The most likely scenario is for India to include 19-year-old Piyush Chawla for his second cap alongside Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in a three-pronged spin attack.
Sachin Tendulkar remains sidelined by a groin injury, but both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif are in contention to bolster the batting line-up that failed so spectacularly in Ahmedabad.
"It was just one of those days when we lost 10 wickets in 20 overs," said Kumble.
"It does not happen every day. It was the one bad session we had in the last six years and we have put that behind us.
"We are very positive. It is not the first time that we have lost one Test in a series. We have done that in Australia and whenever we are pushed to the wall we have performed well."
On the conditions in Kanpur, Kumble added: "I have always said that pitch, toss and weather have to be taken out of equation.
"The surface here is dry and will assist spinners as the match goes on.
"Bowlers need to exploit the conditions. I think we have the ability to take 20 wickets and put runs on the board. We are prepared to do that in this Test."
South Africa are weighing up whether to include Robin Peterson as a second spinner in place of Morne Morkel.
That is a possibility - particularly given the expected dust bowl - although an unchanged XI is more likely, regardless of conditions.
"It's all about playing to our potential," said Proteas captain Graeme Smith. "It's about maintaining our focus and executing our plans.
"Hopefully, we adapt to the wicket here. I am sure we are the better prepared team going into this Test.
"I think the track, as it looks now, opens up more possibilities for all bowlers.
"That's encouraging for us. We have got more variety, more pace. We have played a lot more determined cricket in this series.
"We are well prepared to go into this Test and hope to play the same brand of cricket. I think we are more confident going into this match.
"We are the team under less pressure. India are the team with more question marks, in terms of selection and injuries. They are also 1-0 down. The important thing for us is to maintain our standards."
India (from): Anil Kumble (capt), Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Venkatsai Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, Ishant Sharma
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Jean-Paul Duminy, Monde Zondeki