India vs South Africa: Ajinkya Rahane and Quinton de Kock feature in combined Test XI

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Rahane has rediscovered his best form once again.

India will be the clear favourites on home soil as the hosts lock horns with South Africa in a three-match Test series.

The No1 ranked Indians are aiming for a record 11th successive Test series win at home and will fancy their chances against a side whom they routed by 3-0 in 2015-16.

South Africa, though, have some real quality among their ranks which could cause problems for Virat Kohli and his men.

Ahead of the series, we have compiled our combined XI Test team from the available set of players.

Dean Elgar (South Africa)

While the standards continue to plummet for opening batsmen around the world, Elgar remains a class apart with his gritty old-school approach to the format. He is the only player in history apart from Desmon Haynes to carry his bat thrice.

Aiden Markram (South Africa)

It is an all-Proteas affair for the opening slots with young Markram continuing to chart an impressive rise in senior cricket. The 24-year-old right-hander has already mustered four tons and six half-centuries in just 31 innings so far.

Aiden Markram.

Aiden Markram.

Cheteshwar Pujara (India)

The India top-order stalwart would walk into most Test outfits with a batting average approaching 50 after 70 appearances. His record in India is even better with 10 of his 18 Test tons coming at home.

Virat Kohli (c) (India)

The India skipper might have seen his No1 ranking usurped by Steve Smith recently but he is the best batsman by some distance in the upcoming series. The 30-year-old has registered a ton on 25 of the 47 occasions that he has breached the 50-run mark.

Aijnkya Rahane (India)

The India Test deputy skipper had been struggling for form for almost two years before breaking his century drought in the recent series win in the Caribbean. Ironically, he hold a better record overseas than India where he averages just 34.55.

Quinton de Kock (wk) (South Africa)

The explosive Proteas wicketkeeper batsman remains one of the most threatening batsman in the format with his ability to pile on some quick runs down the order. The Johannesburg man is in excellent form at the moment after registering two fifties in the preceding T20 series.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock.

Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

The 33-year-old might not be India’s first-choice overseas spinner anymore but he remains unparalleled when it comes to his strong performances on home soil. The veteran off-spinner has been key to India’s home dominance with 234 wickets in just 36 matches.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

Jadeja has been Ashwin’s partner-in-crime in India’s rise to the top of the Test rankings with the left-armed spinner carrying the ability to extract sharp turn and bounce on even the most docile of subcontinent pitches.

Vernon Philander (South Africa)

The South African remains the gold standard when it comes to Test seamers with a bowling average of just 21.64 after a total of 58 matches. Can move the ball both ways at will while pitching the ball perfectly around the off-stump.

King of seam.

King of seam.

Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)

The youngest bowler to ascend to the top of the ICC Test rankings has been spearheading South Africa’s attack in all formats for more than three years now. Still only 24, Rabada still has his best years ahead of him.

Mohammed Shami (India)

With Jasprit Bumrah missing for India due to an injury, Shami will be the leader of the pace attack and deservedly so. He has mastered the art of extracting the maximum from subcontinent conditions with his average standing at just 24.48 in nine matches.

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