The much-awaited India’s tour of South Africa begins on Sunday. The first of the three-match Test is scheduled to be played from 26th to 30th December 2021 at SuperSport Park in Centurion. India have toured South Africa for a Test series on seven occasions.
They are yet to win a Test series on their turf. So far, they have only managed to win 3 Test matches in South Africa. On that note, let’s take a look at how both the teams shape up ahead of the much-anticipated first Test.
IND vs SA: Match Preview, India vs South Africa 2021-22, First Test
Skipper Virat Kohli is all set to lead the Indian Cricket Team for the second time in a Test series in South Africa. The last time he led the side on the 2017-18 tour, India won one match out of three Tests. For those of you who don’t know, India have never won a Test series in South Africa. Virat Kohli and Boys would be looking to create history this time around. Unfortunately, their newly appointed vice-captain in Tests, Rohit Sharma won’t be available in the series due to an injury.
KL Rahul will assume the vice-captaincy duties in Rohit’s absence. Senior players, such as Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who aren’t in the best of forms, have been added to the squad. Besides, the middle-order also comprise the likes of Shreyas Iyer, who made a stellar debut in Kanpur, and Hanuma Vihari, who made great returns for India A while playing in South Africa.
India will be going with five quality fast bowlers such as Jasprit Bumrah, M Shami, Ishant Sharma, M Siraj and Umesh Yadav. It will be interesting to see how many of them feature in the playing XI for the first Test.
South Africa, on the other hand, will be playing a Test series after 6 long months. Their new skipper, Dean Elgar will have a tough job at hand. It will be interesting to see how he leads the team against a formidable Indian unit. Ahead of the series, the team have been dealt with some severe blow. Express fast bowler, Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the series due to a hip injury. Besides, Quinton de Kock will be at least miss the third Test if not the second because of the birth of his first child.
In the absence of Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi will have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. Besides, the pace attack also includes the likes of Duanne Olivier and Marco Jansen. The latter though is unlikely to make in into the playing XI for the first Test.
As for the openers, Dean Elgar should open the innings alongside Aiden Markram, followed by Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma at number three, four and five respectively. The left-arm spinner, Keshav Maharaj has done exceedingly well in the Test series in the last year or so for South Africa. He should make the cut for the first Test in Centurion.