South Africa's Tour of India: First Test Preview
The first Test of the upcoming series between India and South Africa will be played at the Dr. Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium in Visakhapatnam from the 2nd to 6th of October.
India seem to be the favourites to win the three-match series, with their only problem being the opening pair. It will be interesting to see whether the team management would give an opportunity to Rohit Sharma to establish himself as a opener.
Surprisingly, selectors have left no faith in Shikhar Dhawan's capabilities. He has the ability to score runs at a good pace and moreover, a left hand-right hand combination is handy.
The rest of the batting seems fine with captain Virat Kohli and premier batsman Cheteshwar Pujara being in good touch. The latter will be difficult to handle for South Africa especially in Indian conditions.
Ravindra Jadeja is an asset for the Indian team and if India opt for five bowlers Jadeja's role will be crucial. R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami could possibly be the other bowling options.
Ashwin and Jadeja can bat well too, and hence the Indian team is at a great advantage in almost all fronts.
It will be interesting to see as to what the African strategy would be to stop India from scoring big scores.
Wriddhiman Saha will get the nod ahead of Rishabh Pant as India's wicketkeeper.
Kagiso Rabada is the spearhead of the South African bowling attack. His form is crucial for South Africa in this series. He is capable of taking wickets on any surface. Indian wickets are favourable to spinners unless one has something special in oneself.
The other fast bowlers do not have much experience of playing in Indian wickets and are not as lethal as Rabada.
Aiden Markram is in good touch along with Quinton de Kock, and if Faf du Plessis gets back in rhythm, the Proteas will definitely give India a tough fight.
South Africa will most probably play with two pacers (Rabada and Ngidi) and two spinners (Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt).
Vernon Philander will fill the all rounder spot, while Keshav and Piedt have a good opportunity to showcase their true potential.
India is the numero uno test team and South Africa is struggling at the moment. With the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers having retired, this series should help newcomers to establish themselves in the team.
India is most likely going to win the first Test.