South Africa captain Faf du Plessis joked he is considering sending another player to the toss for the third Test against India as he aims to correct his side's recent woes.

The Proteas are 2-0 down in the series after suffering heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

With the three-match series already lost, South Africa head to Ranchi looking to restore some pride as a frustrating 2019 draws closer towards a conclusion.

Du Plessis cited winning the toss as a crucial factor but, with South Africa having lost their last nine coin-flips on Asian soil going back to 2015, failing to win any of the subsequent Tests – the Proteas' skipper conceded he might have to send out a substitute in order to change their luck.

"We've felt that we've done it [compete] in stages, more probably in the first Test, so hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow," Du Plessis told reporters.

"Probably I will [send] somebody else to the toss, I'll give you that, because my record so far hasn't been great, and then, yeah, if we put big runs on the board in the first innings, that's where we need to start."

Du Plessis also acknowledged his side – who lost the first Test by 203 runs and the second by an innings – can only regain confidence by taking the fight to India.

"It is tough when you're losing," he said.

"For us, we're very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who've stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.

"So it's important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can't expect things just to happen."

South Africa's task has been made harder by the absence of batsman Aiden Markram, who will miss the final Test due to a wrist injury he sustained while "lashing out at a solid object" following his second-innings dismissal in Pune.

Sarfraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan's Test and Twenty20 captain, also losing his place in the squad for both formats.

Pakistan have endured a difficult 2019, with a poor start to the Cricket World Cup group stage meaning a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semi-finals.

Sarfraz's sacking comes in the wake of a 3-0 T20 defeat to Sri Lanka, as the world's top-ranked side in the shortest format succumbed to a series whitewash.

While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Sarfraz – who retained his position last month despite his performances coming under scrutiny – has been removed as the team's skipper ahead of their Test and T20 tour of Australia, which starts in November.

Azhar Ali – who was white-ball captain prior to Sarfraz – will replace the wicketkeeper-batsman as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side until the 2020 World Cup.

In a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Azhar said: "There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.

"I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.

"Sarfraz has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players, and I now look forward to inspiring those skilful players.

"These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management."

Pakistan dismissed their head coach and chief selector following the World Cup, with Misbah-ul-Haq taking over both positions.

Aiden Markram will miss South Africa's third Test against India with a fractured wrist sustained when the opener "lashed out at a solid object".

The 25-year-old was dismissed for a pair in Pune as the Proteas crashed to an innings-and-137-run loss in the second Test last week.

India claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three-match series and Markram will not be available for the dead rubber having suffered a fracture when he struck an object in frustration at his poor performance.

"It's sad to be going home on this note and I completely understand what I've done is wrong and take full accountability for it," Markram said.

"It's unacceptable in a Proteas environment and to let the team down is what hurts me the most. I've learned a lot from this and the other players I'm sure have learned from it as well.

"We understand in sport that emotions run high and sometimes the frustration gets the better of you as it did for me, but like I said, it's no excuse. I've taken full responsibility for it, I have apologised to the team and hopefully I can make it up to them and the people of South Africa soon."

Markram made a combined 46 in the two innings of the first Test, meaning he ends the series with an average of 11.

South Africa have not called up a replacement for the third Test, which begins on Saturday.

Darren Bravo has been left out of West Indies' squad for the one-off Test with Afghanistan, while spinner Hayden Walsh has been called up for the one-day internationals and Twenty20s.

Phil Simmons, who on Monday was appointed as coach for a second time, will be in charge for a trio of Twenty20s, three ODIs and a Test, which take place in India next month.

The squads for the three formats were revealed on Tuesday and Bravo will not feature in the Test match having managed a combined 47 with the bat across four innings against India in August.

Alzarri Joseph, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris and Jomel Warrican have been brought in, with Shannon Gabriel missing out through injury and wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton omitted.

Leg-break bowler Walsh, who has represented the United States in both ODIs and T20s this year, has received a first West Indies call-up for the limited-overs squads.

He has been rewarded for taking 22 wickets for the Barbados Tridents at the Caribbean Premier League, while opener Brandon King, the competition's leading scorer, has also been included.

Kieron Pollard will captain the team for the ODIs and T20s, but Chris Gayle remains absent despite having made a U-turn over his retirement.

 

West Indies Test squad: Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph.

ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd.

T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out for up to six weeks after breaking the middle finger on his right hand when he punched a dressing room wall.

The embarrassing incident followed his dismissal for Western Australia against Tasmania on Sunday.

Marsh lashed out after he was caught and bowled for 53 by Jackson Bird on the final day of a drawn Sheffield Shield opener at the WACA.

He vowed never to repeat the rush of blood to the head and faces the prospect of being ruled out for the start of the Test series against Pakistan due to a self-inflicted injury.

"I've fractured my middle finger. It's going to leave me out for about four to six weeks at this stage," said the 27-year-old Western Australia captain.

"It certainly will be an isolated incident, that's for sure, and it won't be happening again.

"It's a good lesson for me, hopefully it's a good lesson for other people as well. At the end of the day it's a game of cricket. Sometimes you get beaten, sometimes you get out, and you can't be punching walls.

"As a captain, I've done a lot of work in setting a good example on and off the field over the last 18 months since I took over.

"This is a small hiccup for me. I said I was disappointed in myself and it won't happen again, and it's not an example I want to be setting not only for my team-mates, but for everyone here at the WACA and everyone else in cricket."

Zimbabwe and Nepal have been readmitted by the ICC after suspensions for political interference were lifted.

The world governing body stripped Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) of full member status in July after state-owned enterprise the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the board.

SRC acted after issuing a directive that the governing body's elective annual general meeting would be suspended amid allegations over the nomination process and the violation of ZC's constitution, along with "various other controversies".

The ICC has now cleared Zimbabwe to regain member status following board meetings in Dubai.

Zimbabwe will be able to feature in the ICC Men's Under-19 Cricket World Cup in January and compete in the ICC Super League next year.

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "I would like to thank the Zimbabwe Sports Minister for her commitment to the reinstatement of Zimbabwe Cricket.

"Her desire to work in support of Zimbabwe Cricket was clear and she has unconditionally complied with the conditions set down by the ICC Board. Funding to Zimbabwe Cricket will continue to be on a controlled basis as part of a collective effort behind getting the game in Zimbabwe back on an even keel."

Nepal has also been added as members on a conditional basis three years after they were suspended for breach of the ICC regulations that prohibit government interference and require free and fair elections.

Manohar added: "Given the progress made in Nepal, a transition plan will now be developed for the Cricket Association of Nepal to support full compliance with Associate Membership criteria, which will also involve controlled funding."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Thabang Moroe has issued a rallying cry and declared these are "exciting times" just a day after the Proteas suffered a record Test defeat to India.

India won by an innings and 137 runs - their biggest margin of victory against South Africa - in Pune on Sunday to wrap up the series with a match to spare.

Virat Kohli's side took the opening match by 203 runs and the tourists will have to show a vast improvement in order to avoid a whitewash in Ranchi.

Moroe has called for fans to back Faf du Plessis' side in a transitional period in a new era following the departure of head coach Ottis Gibson and the retirement of key players.

"It was always going to be a difficult challenge taking on the top team in the world – certainly under their own conditions – in India at a time when we have introduced a new team structure," Moroe said.

"In the past two years we have had to bid farewell to some of the great names of international cricket such as AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn who between them played nearly 450 Test matches for the Proteas.

"You don't replace that kind of experience overnight and we need to give a new generation time to settle.

"These things take time and I am confident that we will already see improvement in our next Test series when England are our visitors during the festive season. I am sure that our supporters will rally behind them on home turf. 

"These are, in fact, exciting times for South African cricket with new names and faces coming to the fore. Our talent pipeline has produced the likes of Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Zubayr Hamza over the last few years and our development systems are clearly in good shape.

"There is a huge incentive on our young players to put pressure on the incumbents. There is nothing like good competition for places that brings out the best in all."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis would love to see his team demonstrate the ravenous hunger for runs that Virat Kohli showed for India in the one-sided second Test.

The India skipper set the platform for a dominant victory by making 254 not out in the first innings, as the home team piled up an intimidating 601-5.

After India won the first Test by 203 runs in Visakhapatnam, South Africa were thumped this time by an innings and 137 runs in Pune to surrender the series after being bowled out for 275 and 189.

It was South Africa's heaviest Test defeat to India.

Du Plessis used seven bowlers in an effort to unsettle Kohli on the first two days of the match, but to no avail.

"The way India batted, and especially Virat getting a 250, that takes a lot of mental toughness to put a score like that on the first innings," Du Plessis said.

Kohli's score was his highest in Tests and it took him through the 12,000-run barrier in the five-day game.

"It's trying to stop him," said Du Plessis. "We saw it in the first Test as well [with other India batsmen]. As captain you try to think of ways, how you can change little things, field placements or bowling placements, but he was too good in this Test match.

"All the questions, and all the stuff we threw at him, he had answers for. [He was] just relentless and sticking to his game, and for me what really stuck out from that was a hunger for runs.

"You could see they were determined to score big and not get tired and satisfied of getting a hundred and stopping. It was great value for us as batters – when you're on top of your game, making sure you're really hungry and making sure you can put in big performances that can affect the outcome of the game."

Du Plessis suggested South Africa had found the Kohli experience exhausting.

"Two days in the field, it can wear you down," said Du Plessis. "Since then, it was trying to play catch-up and with a very good India bowling attack. And these conditions, they don’t give you much and you need to be on top of your best game.

"If you're not, you're going to be found wanting, and we were found wanting in this Test match."

South Africa will expect more from their attack in the third and final Test, starting in Ranchi on Saturday.

"All in all, I think India are deservedly Test series winners," said Du Plessis. "They are a very tough team to beat at home and their record speaks for itself. We weren't at our best, so we'll try to make sure we can improve for the next Test."

Virat Kohli turned his attention to securing a whitewash after India consigned South Africa to a record innings-and-137-run defeat on day four of the second Test to win the series.

The struggling tourists were all out for 189 in the final session on Sunday to suffer their heaviest Test loss to India after Kohli enforced the follow-on in Pune.

Umesh Yadav (3-22) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-52) capitalised on the tourists' shortcomings with the bat, while Ravichandran Ashwin took 2-45 after claiming 4-69 in the first innings.

Kohli laid the platform with a Test-best 254 not out and the captain is determined to make it 3-0 in Ranchi with an 11th consecutive home series win in the longest format already in the bag.

Asked about his side's run of series triumphs on home soil, the skipper said: "It's been nice, but looking at the larger picture, the Test Championship, every game has even more value.

"We're not going to take the foot off the gas in the third Test, we're looking for a result again, and hopefully make it 3-0.

"Because these points are important, we understand that, with the Test Championship it's going to be very crucial, at all the stages, when we play away from home as well. And no one's going to relax at any stage, that's a guarantee."

Kohli says he would not have registered an astonishing seven double-centuries without taking an unselfish approach at the crease.

"I think it's getting the responsibility of being captain. If you go out planning a double-hundred, you will not get it. But if you go out planning playing five sessions for your team, invariably you cross that 200 mark as well." said Kohli.

"The mindset has always been to help the team as much as possible, play at the tempo the team requires you to, and in that process, big scores come. The mindset change is the only reason behind the big scores.

"Before that, I used to think from a personal point of view and put pressure on myself. But the moment you start thinking about the team, all the pressure goes away, and all you're thinking is how to contribute to the team's cause."

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh could face an injury layoff after hitting a changing room wall following his dismissal in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield draw with Tasmania.

The Western Australia captain damaged his right hand on his return to the pavilion after he was caught and bowled by Jackson Bird for 53 at the WACA on Sunday.

Marsh, recalled for Australia's defeat to England in the final Ashes Test at The Oval last month, must wait to discover the extent of the damage inflicted on himself during the first Shield match of the season.

"Marsh sustained the injury when he struck the wall in the changerooms following his dismissal earlier in the day," a statement on the Western Australian Cricket Association website said.

"The extent of the injury and a timeframe on his return will be determined later this week after further investigation."

Australia start a two-match Test series against Pakistan at the Gabba on November 21.

Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets apiece as India consigned South Africa to a record innings-and-137-run defeat on day four in Pune to wrap up the Test series with one match to play.

Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on at the start of the penultimate day after the Proteas were bowled out for 275 in their first innings on Saturday in reply to 601-5 declared.

South Africa's shortcomings with the bat were exposed again on Sunday as they were dismissed for only 189, suffering their heaviest defeat to India in the longest format.

Umesh took 3-22 and Jadeja claimed 3-52, while Ravichandran Ashwin (2-45) also did damage as India sealed a record 11th consecutive series on home soil.

India will be out to secure a 3-0 whitewash when the third Test gets under way in Ranchi next Saturday.

 

Tim Paine ended a 13-year wait for a second first-class century in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield opener against Western Australia on Saturday.

The Australia Test captain had failed to reach three figures in a first-class match since making 215 in a Pura Cup clash with Western Australia at the WACA Ground back in 2006.

Paine ended his drought against the same opponents on day three, top scoring with 121 in Tasmania's 397 all out.

The wicketkeeper-batsman downplayed his contribution with the bat, stating "it means nothing to me."

Western Australia were 148-2 in their second innings at stumps with a lead of 88, brother Shaun and Mitchell Marsh unbeaten on 74 and 51 respectively.

Ravichandran Ashwin made a crucial breakthrough late on day three as India pressed home their advantage against South Africa in the second Test.

The Proteas started Saturday on 36-3 and were all out for 275 in their first innings by the close of play, still 326 runs behind the hosts in Pune.

It could have been worse for South Africa, but India's bowlers were frustrated by a magnificent 109-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj that spanned 259 balls.

But India ended the day on top after the impressive Ashwin (4-69) claimed two vital wickets in the final four overs of the day.

South Africa were on 271-8 until Ashwin dismissed Maharaj, who had batted with a sore shoulder for a career-best 72, before the spinner also accounted for number 11 Kagiso Rabada (2), leaving Philander stranded on 44 not out.

Pace bowler Umesh Yadav took 3-37, with India – who declared on 601-5 in their first innings - looking good for a victory that would seal the series.

With two days still to play, their next decision will be whether to enforce the follow-on. 

India captain Virat Kohli, who will make that call, followed up his double-hundred with the bat by taking an early catch on Saturday to remove nightwatchman Anrich Nortje off the bowling of Mohammed Shami (2-44) for 3.

South Africa were in disarray at 53-5 when Theunis de Bruyn was caught behind off Yadav for 30, with captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock left to steady the ship somewhat by combining for a quickfire 75.

Ashwin bowled De Kock for 31 before lunch, though, and Senuran Muthusamy (7) was out lbw to Ravindra Jadeja (1-81) in the third over after the interval.

Du Plessis (64) had reached his 21st Test half-century off just 64 balls but his pace slowed from there and, when Ashwin found his outside edge, the Proteas were poised for a collapse at 162-8.

However, Philander and Maharaj had other ideas with a disciplined, dogged partnership amid hot and humid conditions.

Maharaj aggravated his right shoulder – which had been injured while fielding on Friday – as he smacked Shami for four while on 17, but he bravely fought on to earn a first Test half-century in a 132-ball knock.

But Ashwin capped fine outing by having Maharaj caught by Rohit Sharma at leg slip and promptly trapping Rabada in front, with Philander unbeaten having faced 192 deliveries.

Mayank Agarwal saluted the "tremendous" Virat Kohli after the India captain made his highest Test score on a punishing day two for South Africa in Pune.

Kohli crafted 254 not out with support from Ajinkya Rahane (59) and Ravindra Jadeja (91) as India racked up a mammoth 601-5 declared on Friday.

The skipper had not reached three figures in the longest format this year, but posted a seventh double-century and also passed 7,000 Test runs with a masterclass before the tourists were reduced to 36-3 at stumps as India eye an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Agarwal, who scored a hundred on day one, hailed Kohli after he made the Proteas bowlers toil - hitting two sixes and 33 fours in a stunning knock.

"It was a top-class knock from him. To get 250 is no joke and the way he's batting is just tremendous." the opener said.

"The positivity he gets, the intent he gets is fabulous. His records and his scores and the way he's playing shows everything we all need to see."

Agarwal says the rapid rate in which Kohli and Jadeja scored during a fifth-wicket stand of 225 could prove to be vital.

He added: "It's put us in the driving seat and it's not just the amount of runs, it's the pace that the runs have come that has made a huge difference. It's giving us extra time, that extra session and a half that can become very crucial."

South Africa interim director Enoch Nkwe pointed the finger of blame at the seam bowlers at the end of a gruelling second day.

"We've only got ourselves to blame this morning. We thought the conditions were conducive to seam bowling, we just didn't hit our straps." Nkwe said.

"We bowled a little bit too wide and didn't test the Indian batters enough and when we do that we just allow the batters to get in and we need to learn tight lines for a longer period of time."

Virat Kohli made his highest Test score with a domineering unbeaten double-century as India piled on the runs before South Africa lost three wickets on a one-sided day two in Pune.

Kohli reached three figures for the first time in the longest format this year and went on to make his seventh Test double-century with the tourists toiling in the heat on Friday.

The India captain crafted a magnificent 254 not out that included two sixes and 33 fours, before declaring with his team on a mammoth 601-5, with Ravindra Jadeja (91) and Ajinkya Rahane (59) making half-centuries on a flat pitch.

Kohli passed 7,000 Test runs and was given a life when he edged Senuran Muthusamy to Faf du Plessis on 208 as the spinner over-stepped.

South Africa face a battle to avoid going 2-0 down in the three-match series after they were reduced to 36-3 at stumps, Umesh Yadav (2-16) and Mohammed Shami making inroads.

The Proteas were unable to claim a breakthrough in the morning session after India resumed on 273-3 and Kohli brought up his 26th Test hundred with an exquisite straight drive for four off Vernon Philander.

Rahane took a liking to the pace of Anrich Nortje as he accumulated runs steadily, reaching his half-century in the morning session before India took lunch in command on 356-3.

Kohli punched Kagiso Rabada for two glorious boundaries in an over but a fourth-wicket stand of 178 ended when Rahane was caught behind to become Keshav Maharaj's 100th victim in the longest format.

Rabada's frustration mounted as Jadeja joined Kohli to continue piling on the runs, the skipper moving on to 150 as the Proteas attack suffered.

Jadeja came in with a license to swing and did just that, the boundaries flowing with Kohli having some luck as he cut just past Du Plessis at first slip on more than one occasion.

Du Plessis held on to seemingly remove Kohli shortly after he had tickled Muthusamy around the corner to bring up his double-century, but the captain was given a reprieve as the left-arm tweaker's front foot was well over the line.

Jadeja treated the crowd to his sword celebration after dispatching Aiden Markram to the ropes twice in an over before both the all-rounder and Kohli clattered Maharaj for six with disdain.

Kohli had 250 to his name when he slapped Dean Elgar over midwicket for four and declared after Jadeja holed out attempting to hit Muthusamy for six.

Umesh then did damage with the new ball, trapping Markram leg before without score before Elgar played on and Temba Bavuma edged Shami's first ball behind to put South Africa deeper in the mire.

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