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1st Test : India Tour of SA | Newlands,Cape Town | 5th Jan 2:00 PM IST

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This is getting Interesting:


9.30am Sidharth Monga, from the Newlands, says there are likely to be four seamers for India: Bhuvi, Shami, Ishant, Pandya. Hardik Pandya is marking his run-up. He also says he sees Parthiv Patel keeping. "Both Saha and Parthiv have their gloves on," he says.

Here's more from Sid Monga: "Bumrah also marking his run." India keeping many on their toes. Four seamers and Pandya is definitely not a possibility, is it

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RSA vs Ind, Cape Town

Starts at 02:00 PM IST (08:30 GMT), Jan 5th,2018



In the drive to make Test cricket more relevant, and by extension attractive, one word has been used more than any other: context. It is the factor that gives cricket meaning beyond merely playing for the sake of playing, and it is the basis on which all good decisions in any sphere of life are made. Essentially, context really is everything.


So it is refreshing to go into an encounter that is as context-rich as the first Test between South Africa and India. It is the beginning of a three-match series between the top two teams on the ICC rankings, but there is more to it than that. There is the backstory, in which South Africa are out to "settle a score" against the team that ambushed them with "extreme conditions" on tour in 2015, and subsequently relieved them of the No. 1 ranking. India can expect the pitch tactics of 2015 to be used against them this time around.


But there is also the context of this Indian team and its desire to step out of the common narrative that they can not succeed outside of the subcontinent. They have won nine straight Test series now, equaling the world record, but none of those series was played in England, Australia or South Africa - the three places that India has historically struggled. India is still to win a Test series in South Africa.


Yet this generation looks the best equipped to break that run. Their batsmen have experienced South African conditions before, and have even experienced personal success. More importantly, they have a bowling attack to back them up - something that has been sorely lacking in years gone by. Four years ago, India should have won a Test at the Wanderers, but their bowlers could not close the deal. This crop has the ability to claim 20 wickets in a match, particularly in conditions that will aid the seamers.


India also have the benefit of starting their tour on the least lively pitch and ending the series on the most lively. Newlands has often been a good pitch for batting, while the Wanderers - venue for the third Test - has seen its last two matches finish inside three days. Can the visiting batsmen adapt quickly enough to put the pressure back on the South Africans?


The Proteas have context of their own. Although Faf du Plessis spoke of the desire to push hard "for the next three years" to recover and retain the top ranking, the truth is that South Africa's golden generation will pass on within the next 18 months. The next three months, which include this series and then a four-Test encounter against Australia, present their final spell in which to make a big mark on the game.


In some ways South Africa has come full circle since the 2015 tour of India. In the past two years they have suffered a high number of injuries, while one of their best batsmen took a year-long sabbatical. Not once since 2015 have they been able to put their strongest side on the field. Now they have everyone fit, available and refreshed. There is a new sense of purpose.


On paper, a full-strength South Africa should be too good for India in their own conditions. But there is not so much between the two teams as there has been at times in the past. There is not only context around both sides, but heaps of quality within them. The next few weeks, starting at Newlands on Friday, should be the sort of showcase for Test cricket that the game too often yearns for.


When: January 5-9, 10:30 local time; 14:00 IST

Where: Newlands, Cape Town


What to expect: Since encountering what Faf du Plessis termed "extreme conditions" in India in 2015, South Africa have been eager to exact some sort of revenge. To that end they will prepare lively pitches for this series, but Newlands is likely to be the most balanced of the three venues so far as bat and ball are concerned. There will be some movement at times, but generally a true surface expected with good bounce and carry. Or, as du Plessis put it, "nothing extreme". Day three could experience some light showers but otherwise the forecast is good.


South Africa

Such are South Africa's options that 14 of their 15-man squad have a real chance of selection. Either they will pick seven batsmen with three seamers and a spinner, or six batsmen, an allrounder, three seamers and a spinner. The latter looks the likeliest option, which means Temba Bavuma could miss out. Dale Steyn's comeback may also have to wait with the selectors yet to be convinced by his ability to get through a whole Test.


Probable XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Chris Morris/Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.



All the double sessions in the week gone by meant India decided to rest their collective heels on the day before the Test. Ravindra Jadeja's illness has virtually eased one selection decision for India. Given his good recent form, the green-looking wicket and the fact that it's the first Test of the series, India will use the additional batting insurance that Rohit Sharma provides at No. 6. The team management have a call to make on the opening and bowling combinations and on the evidence of Wednesday's training, it would appear that KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav will likely sit the Newlands Test out.



Probable XI: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.


Did you know?

- Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli all scored over 200 runs and averaged between 68 and 70 in the two-Test tour of South Africa in 2013. That was better than any of South Africa's main batsmen.


- In 13 Tests at Newlands, Dale Steyn has taken 65 wickets at an average of a shade under 22. His overall record against India is remarkably similar - 13 Tests, 63 wickets at 21.4. In two Tests against India at Newlands he has 12 wickets at 17. Steyn needs just five wickets to become South Africa's leading wicket-taker in Tests.


- Ishant Sharma is India's most experienced seamer in South African conditions, but his experiences have not been good ones - in five Tests on the previous two tours, he claimed just 12 wickets at an average of 54.


What they said:

"I sent the Ferrari into the panelbeaters, just to get fixed. It was frustrating at times because everything (in the recovery) happened slower than I thought it would. It's 11 weeks now and I feel now like I'm finally ready to play." - Faf du Plessis talks about his injury layoff, which has kept him out of action since October.


"As of now, the conditions that we found is, we are expecting that it will seam around a bit on day one. But days two and three are going to be very good batting conditions. We'll take a call tomorrow morning about the extent of moisture in the surface and we'll take it from there." - Sanjay Bangar kept India's potential 'combinations' close to his chest, when asked to categorically state if this was a four- or five-bowler kind of wicket.



India (From): Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja


South Africa (From): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Chris Morris, Vernon Philander, Theunis de Bruyn

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5 minutes ago, Rasgulla said:



Looks like it

probably the worst batting line up ever to visit SA.....2 walking wickets right there..Dhawan and rohit

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Good to see Bumrah in, but buddies Dhawan and Rohit in place of Rahul and Rahane respectively :wall:


Worst batting line-up to be fielded in SA.


India's XI: Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah

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Actually only real question mark is why Raul not in . But then you can’t say Dhawan and Rohit are not in red hot form 


rahane is in awful form . Just cos away from home don’t mean suddenly will be on form ? Probably right move 


Bumrah in . Pandya in . Serious seam attack 



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1 minute ago, Oldhere said:

I dont like Dhawan and Rohit in the team but would wholly support them and if they dont play weill then knowing Kohli they wont play in coming tests.


Whatever be the casse, Kohli the test captain isnt timid like Kohli the odi captain.

At the cost of a test in SA? There is no coming back if we lose the 1st. Last time he did these blunders it didn't cost us but this time we are in SA and it will cost big.

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2 minutes ago, Forever Indian said:

Good to see Bumrah in, but buddies Dhawan and Rohit in place of Rahul and Rahane respectively :wall:


Worst batting line-up to be fielded in SA.


India's XI: Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah

Rahane been walking wickets recently . Hardly shocking call ?

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