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SA vs IND, Boxing Day Test: India eye first Test series win on South African soil

After a successful run in the white-ball leg, Team India is now shifting focus to the longest format of the game as they gear up for the first game of the two-match Test series, starting tomorrow with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion.

History

The last time India toured the rainbow nation, Virat Kohli’s men came incredibly close, but ended up losing the series 2-1.

Out of the 23 Tests India have played in South Africa, they have only won four. Furthermore, India have never won a Test series in the rainbow nation.

In their eight visits since 1992, South Africa has emerged victorious seven times, with one series drawn in 2010/11, often with narrow margins. Despite this historical trend, India sees a better opportunity this time, considering the current South African team’s lack of batting and bowling prowess, especially in their top six.

Indian Team News

India remains a strong team despite some key players being sidelined due to injuries, drawing strength from recent series triumphs in Australia. Although Mohammed Shami and Ruturaj Gaikwad are unavailable, Virat Kohli will return for the first Test after flying home due to personal reasons.

Ahead of the first Test against South Africa, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma addressed the media for the first time since the 2023 World Cup final loss. Rohit mentioned that Mohammed Shami, ruled out of the series, would be a big miss. However, the Indian captain hinted that one of the fast bowlers, either Mukesh Kumar or Prasidh Krishna, will be included in the final XI for the first Test, joining Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in the pace attack. Rohit also indicated that the Indian spinners are well aware of their roles on South African pitches.

South African Team News

South Africa Test captain Temba Bavuma stated it’s a matter of pride that they have maintained a perfect record against India. However, he acknowledged being wary of the “determined” Indian side in the upcoming 2-Test series.

Providing an update on Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada’s availability, South African Head Coach Shukri Conrad mentioned, “They are both here with us, which means they are available for selection as things stand.” Conrad informed reporters on Saturday, “We have not called anybody in as a replacement, and hopefully, by the morning of the match, we have 15 fit players to select from.”

Regardless of whether the duo takes the field, it seems probable that Gerald Coetzee, the dynamic 23-year-old fast bowler who showcased his skills during the recent 50-over World Cup in India, will sneak in and express himself on what is expected to aid wicket pace and bounce, despite his lack of test experience.

The first Test will be played from December 26th to 30th at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. The toss will take place at 1 PM IST, with the game starting at 1:30 PM IST.

The second and final Test is scheduled from January 4th to 7th at Newlands, Cape Town.

Test Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shardul Thakur, Mukesh Kumar, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Jasprit Bumrah.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma, David Bedingham, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Tristan Stubbs, Kyle Verreynne, Nandre Burger, Marco Jansen, Wiaan Mulder, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, and Kagiso Rabada.

 

-By Aditya Ahuja

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Last Updated: 18th Apr 2024