INDORE, India (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is hoping to be fit to lead his team's bid for a consolation win in the third and final test against India, he said on Friday.
Laid low by a viral illness, Williamson watched from the sidelines as India registered their second successive victory in Kolkata to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and ensure they will return to the top of the test rankings.
"I'm certainly very hopeful of playing tomorrow. I can say I am getting better each day," Williamson, who scored 75 and 25 in the first test, told reporters.
India opener Gautam Gambhir is set to return to test cricket after a two-year gap.
The left-hander, who turns 35 next week, replaced the injured Lokesh Rahul in the squad but sat out the Kolkata test as Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings with Murali Vijay.
Dhawan fractured his left hand and uncapped Karun Nair was called into the squad as his replacement but home captain Virat Kohli confirmed that Gambhir would play in the final test starting on Saturday.
"That's a natural replacement...he is the third opener," Kohli told reporters at the Holkar Stadium which is staging a test match for the first time.
Paceman Ishant Sharma also missed the first two tests due to a virus but Kohli is not too concerned about the spate of injuries at the beginning of India's 13-test home season.
"Injury is something even the fittest of people face...The good thing is we can recognise them early and we're able to give them time to come back as soon as possible with good rehab, good recovery and good rest," he said.
"Because it's a long season, it's important to address these issues, rather then pushing someone at 70-80 percent and losing him for the whole season."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)