After a drawn T20I series, South Africa will high on confidence as they had an inexperienced side that featured in the series. Led by Faf du Plessis, the Proteas had forgettable memories of the last time they were here in 2015. Drubbed by an Indian team led by the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, South Africa will look to find a solution to that.
On the other hand, India will be the favorites for this game although they miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah. With this being the first Test to be held in India after the start of the ICC World Test Championship, it will be a special occasion for Virat Kohli and his men, as they are leading the points table after a good series win away in West Indies.
Vizag is known to favor the spinners although the only Test to be played here so far saw Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara scoring centuries against the English in 2016. While the first couple of days should be good for batting, batting on day 4 and 5 could be difficult. But the weather in Vizag isn’t quite good with thunderstorms are expected to come on each day of the Test. Here are some of the predictions for the game:
On Tuesday, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) revealed the playing XI for the 1st Test. Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha have managed to make a comeback in the playing XI after warming the bench in the recently-concluded two Tests against West Indies and would be looking to cement their positions in the team with some good performances. Rohit along with Mayank Agarwal will open the innings whereas Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari continue to make the Indian middle-order stead against the Proteas.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be handling the spin department but the team management and fans would love to see the duo contribute with the bat as well. With Jasprit Bumrah missing the Test series due to a lower back injury, the responsibility of the pace attack will be on Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami for the Test series opener against South Africa.
Playing XI: Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Mohamed Shami.
As far as the South Africans are concerned, they will be pleased with how Aiden Markram scored a century in the practice match. He is one to watch out for apart from Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar. Zubayr Hamza is most likely to replace Hashim Amla in the squad with Temba Bavuma batting at five. De Kock has proved to be an able batsman and could bat at six with all-rounders Vernon Philander and Senuran Muthusamy balancing the lower middle order. Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada will play a crucial role along with Lungi Ngidi.
Predicted XI: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza/Theunis de Bruyne, Faf du Plessis(C), Temba Bavuma, Quintonde Kock(WK), Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy/Dane Piedt, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
Fantasy XI Prediction:
Wridhhiman Saha, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Vernon Philander, Ravindra Jadeja (vc), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma and Keshav Maharaj.