The setting of the test series between India and South Africa fits the perfect redemption storyline. Two gifted captains, one looking to lead his side to victory in his first series as skipper in home soil, while the other leading his men without the availability of a couple of their best players in an attempt to win their first test series in the Rainbow Nation. The Indian camp may have been the hub of all the chaos in the past few days but the players would be determined to set all the differences aside and concentrate on channeling their efforts for the greater good of the side. Both the sides square off in the Boxing Day Test as a riveting encounter is almost a guarantee. The following is an insightful preview of India vs South Africa 1st Test Match.
Pitch and conditions
Date- Boxing Day, 26th December 2021
Venue / Stadium: SuperSport Park, Centurion
Pitch conditions: Hard Surface with lots on offer for the seamers
Weather Forecast: Overcast in general with probable and certain chances of a shower on Sunday and Monday respectively.
The conditions on hand can prove to be a stern test of batting ability on the first two days, a feast of runs on the third, and creeping inconsistency in bounce on the last two. Also, an outrageously fast outfield.
When and Where to watch
When: 26th-30th December 2021
Time: 1.30 PM IST, 8 AM GMT
Where: Star Sports Network and Disney+Hotstar
India vs South Africa Head-to-Head Records
Matches Played: 39
India Won: 14
South Africa Won: 15
Previous performances of both teams
India: India had a strong showcase with both bat and ball during their series against the Kiwis on home soil. Hundreds from Mayank Agarwal and debutant Shreyas Iyer helped boost India’s batting while the usual domination continued from India’s spin trio of Axar, Jadeja, and Ashwin. The Men-in-Blue won the 2-game series 1-0 and continued their winning ways following a memorable tour of England away from home.
South Africa: South Africa is yet to play a test match in the 2021-23 cycle of the World Test Championship. Their series at home against last season’s runner-up India would serve as the initiation of their test campaign for the next two years.
Fantasy Dream XI picks:
Wicketkeepers: Quinton de Kock
Batters: Virat Kohli, Aiden Markram, KL Rahul, Dean Elgar, Mayank Agarwal, Rassie Van Der Dussen
All-rounders: Ravichandran Ashwin, Wiaan Mulder
Bowlers: Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Jasprit Bumrah
Vice-Captain: Dean Elgar
Captain: Virat Kohli
Also Read: IND VS SA: 5 Indians with highest runs in India vs South Africa Test Battle
Probable Playing XI
India: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.
South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi.
Players to Watch Out for
All eyes would be on Virat Kohli, who was recently stripped of the white-ball captaincy via nefarious means. Kohli the batter has seen a dip in the red-ball format in the last two years and there is no better way to prove all the critics wrong by ending a 2-year long century drought and slamming a ton. Virat has time and again proven his critics wrong through his outlandish feats of achievement on and off the field, and given the present scenario, the occasion demands for a Kohli-classic. All eyes would also be on Ajinkya Rahane whose inclusion in the playing XI seems certain but given the rise of cricketers like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, who deserve as many chances as him, if not more so, Rahane will be walking onto the field with his back against the wall as any slip-up here could cost him his career.
Also Read: IND VS SA Test Series: 5 Indians to watch out for during South Africa Tour
India vs South Africa 1st Test Match Preview
The Virat Kohli-led Indian side, who have never beaten the Proteas in a Test series away from home, is all set to lock horns with their toughest competition as of yet as they look to change the course of history. South Africa, on the other hand, would be aiming to continue their unbeaten streak against India in home soil. Who’s going to come out on top? Our guess is as good as yours. One thing is a guarantee that we can expect a cracking game of red-ball cricket with both teams determined to give it their all for the glory of their motherland.