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SAvsInd 1st Test: Clash of two potent bowling attacks, eyes on Rahane and Pujara
The wait is over as the first Test of the three-match series between India and South Africa gets underway on Sunday at the SuperSport Park, Centurion and it would be interesting to see who attains triumph in a clash of two heavyweight bowling attacks.
South Africa remains one country where India is yet to register a Test series win, however, this time, Kohli's team has the best possible chance to register a victory as all the bases in every department are taken care of and there is no particular area that the side seems to be lacking in. However, India's biggest challenge would be to post a competitive score in the first innings of a Test.
South Africa has a potent bowling attack comprising Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Beuran Hendricks and they would not give away an inch. Anrich Nortje being ruled out does give India some breathing space, but taking the Proteas attack lightly will come at its own cost. For the past few series, the spotlight has been on Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, and rightly so.
The duo has not registered big knocks and it seems like the time is running out. Rahane has also lost his vice-captain spot and this might just fire the middle-order batter. Runs would be crucial from the bat of Rahane and Pujara and if the duo is indeed able to get on the scoring charts, it would hold the side in good stead. Skipper Virat Kohli has also been on a dry run as his last international century came way back in 2019. However, the recent events which have led to his ousting as an ODI skipper might just fire the Test skipper and it is about time that he shows the world why he is rated as the best batter currently playing the game.
India's bowling attack comprising of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Ravichandran Ashwin is more than capable of taking 20 wickets in a Test match and it would be fair to say that if the batting lineup can score runs, the bowling will take care of itself and India might just defeat South Africa in South Africa.
Squads: South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Temba Bavuma, Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, George Linde, Marco Jansen, Wiaan Mulder, Prenelan Subrayen, Quinton de Kock, Kyle Verreynne, Ryan Rickelton, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Glenton Stuurman, Sisanda Magala, Duanne Olivier.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Priyank Panchal, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur.