The first test match between India and South Africa gets underway in Vizag on Wednesday, October 2. The home season of the ICC test championship has begun under the leadership of Virat Kohli. India is also the number one ranked side in the world in the longer version of the game. They will be looking to dominate the Proteas in this format and get the series win under their belt. India had a fantastic tour of West Indies earlier when they won in all formats of the game in the Caribbean backyard. They would look to keep up the momentum against a young South African side. The three test matches of the series are to be played at Vizag, Pune, and Ranchi.
India team preparations
The Indian team dominated the Caribbeans in all formats of the game and did not see any resistance from West Indies. South Africa is a better side though and they have several fresh faces on the side and they cannot be taken lightly. They will be trying to spring a few surprises especially in the longer format of the game. Rohit Sharma will begin the test match series as an opener and will try to replicate his form in the shorter format of the game in the tests as well. Mayank Agarwal will be his partner and he will be aiming for a better performance than what he put up in the Caribbean. Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the more dependable batsmen in the team and after a dismal series against West Indies Virat Kohli will be looking to improve his performance. A lot will be expected from Hanuma Vihari as well with Ajinkya Rahane looking to continue his form. Rushabh Pant will be replaced by the old warhorse Wriddhiman Saha. Jasprit Bumrah will be missing from the bowling attack and yet the bowling attack looks well balanced. Ashwin and Jadeja will be looking to share the spinning duties while Shami and Ishant Sharma will be looking after the fast bowling responsibilities.
South Africa team preparations
South Africa toured India back in 2015 and they had a more experienced batting lineup in the form of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Dean Elgar, and the current captain FAF du Plessis in their ranks. Du Plessis and Elgar remain a part of the current side while the other players have retired from the game. Proteas have several young players in the team and the bowling attack consists of Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, and Vernon Philanderer. Other young players such as Markram, Bavuma, Nortje, and Ngidi have good experience of playing in India and the wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock will be looking to convert the limited over matches exploits into longer formats as well. Hamza made a great start to his Test career against Pakistan when Hashim Amla was ruled out of the team because of his retirement.
All-in-all as India is playing in home conditions they are more likely to make a winning start to the series. Although the South Africans are a good side and will try to dislodge the in-form Indian side, I will go with India on this one.
India, South Africa.
The Venue, Match Timing, and TV & Live Streaming
Venue: Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam.
Timing: Wednesday, October 02, 2019, 9.30 AM LOCAL.
TV: Star Sports.
Live Streaming: Hotstar.