High-Flying India take on new-look South Africa at Visakhapatnam!
Expect India to register a thumping victory!
Hosts India will be looking to get off to a flying start when face South Africa in the opening game of three-match Test series at Vishakhapatnam on Wednesday. The match will certainly be important for India as they will be keen to get off the mark with a win in this opening fixture. Virat Kohli clearly stressed that they need to maintain their consistency with bat and ball in red-ball cricket.
On the other hand, Faf du Plessis and co. will be looking to put up a decent fight against India. With the retirements of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn from Test cricket, South Africa picked up new players for this all-important tour. In the previous Test series played in India in 2015, South Africa failed to win a single Test match against India.
There is no doubt that India will start as favorites to win their opening game against South Africa. Since 2015, India has managed to win 17 Test matches out of 23 played in India. Their only defeat came against Australia at Pune in 2017 Border Gavaskar Trophy. The side has plenty of match-winners who can win games of cricket with bat and ball For this game, India will be relying heavily on the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara to do the bulk of the scoring for the side. Kohli and Rahane produced superlative performances for India in the previous two-match series played against West Indies.
This season, Rahane and Kohli have scored 289 and 159 with averages of 72.25 and 31.80 respectively. Newcomer Hanuma Vihari has been India’s leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year with 331 runs in 3 matches at an average of 82.75, which includes one century and two half-centuries. Vihari showed excellent temperament and technique to consistently produce big scores for the side in the previous Test series played in the Caribbean. All-rounder Ravendra Jadeja has looked in good form with the bat in this home summer. He has chipped in with decent scores for the side in the recently concluded two-match Test series against West Indies played in the Caribbean. His bowling has equally been good and he picked up crucial wickets for the side against West Indies Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is an aggressive player that likes to play his shots and take the attack to the opposition. He will be determined to make a notable contribution for India in this opening fixture.
In the bowling department, medium pacer Mohammad Shami has produced impressive new-ball spells for India in the previous Test series played in the Caribbean. In 3 games played this year, Shami has picked up 11 wickets at an average of 20.18. Ishant Sharma and Ravendra Jadeja also bowled well and picked up crucial wickets in the two-match Test series played against West Indies.
Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravendra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, H Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, WP Saha, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami
South Africa produced a decent batting performance in the warm-up game played against Board President’s XI. Opening batsman Aiden Markram was the standout performer and scored a century to help South Africa post a decent total on the board. Temba Bavuma also chipped in with unbeaten half-century.
In the batting department, South Africa will be once again on relying on likes of Captain Faf du Plessis, Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma to produce the bulk of the runs in this opening Test. Due to his vast experience of playing in India, Du Plessis will be determined to lead from the front and produce a big innings for South Africa in this opening fixture. The cause of concern for South Africa will be their inexperienced middle-order that consists of players like Zubayr Hamza and Theunis De Bruyn.
The duo failed to make an impression in the warm-up game played against Board President’s XI. The team management will be hoping that they can produce crucial runs for the side in the opening game of the Test series. In the bowling department, new-ball pair of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander will be looking to produce probing spells in this opening Test. Keshav Maharaj and Anrich Nortje might be other bowling options for South Africa for this game.
Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Zubayr Hamza, Dean Elgar, Theunis De Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
|Q de Kock||79||52||6||5||151.92|
Dane Piedt, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy
The wicket prepared for the opening game will be good for batting. The spinners will definitely get some assistance from the surface. The weather forecast for the game to be played on Wednesday is going to be sunny intervals with a gentle breeze.
Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Vishakhapatnam is going host the opening Test between India and South Africa. Host India will take heart from the fact they have won the previous game played against England at this venue. On the other hand, South Africa’s last win in the country came in 2010 at Nagpur.
The side that wins the toss would be looking to bat first and post a competitive score on the board. Batting second on this surface won’t be easy as it will deteriorate on the last three days of the Test match.
Due to slow and low pitches, Host India will be outright favorites to win this opening Test against South Africa. With the likes of Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli deliver runs with the bat in the previous series, India will be confident of putting up big scores in this series. South Africa will need to bat exceedingly well in order to compete with India in this game.
Expect India to register a thumping victory!