India vs South Africa prediction, 1st Test

India vs South Africa prediction, 1st Test

1st October 2019,

Visakhapatnam

India vs South Africa

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Pitch & Weather Report Today:

The last test match played in Vizag was India vs England back in 2016. What resulted was a 145 run victory for the Indians. The pitch will serve up a traditional batting feast for those who can navigate spin, for it does disintegrate pretty rapidly after the 2nd day.

The weather forecast expects thunderstorms through the week, and play will probably be scattered. Even then, it is expected to be hot and humid and that and the wet outfield will not help the seamers much.

India Line-up

Mayank Agarwal will open the innings for India again after a decent, if not spectacular showing in West Indies, but with Rahul dropped, the question is: who will partner him? Ravi Shastri has been public in his backing for the Indian batsman. The selectors have also spoken about trying Rohit up top, and with the rise of Hanuma Vihari at number 6 and the inconsistency of Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay and KL Rahul, Rohit is expected to partner Mayank.

Numbers 3 and 4 are fixed for Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli, which leaves no space in the middle for Pujara. Pant is now the undisputed wicket keeper for the Indians with Wriddhiman Saha as the back-up.

Ravi Shastri has also spoken about having only 5 established batsmen in the line-up, with 3 pacers, 1 spinner and 2 all-rounders rounding out the rest of the spots. Vihari and Ashwin will take the all-rounder spots and Yadav, Ishant and Shami will form the battery of pacers. Bumrah is out of the series after a lower back stress injury. Jadeja will probably be retained ahead of Ashwin after scoring 75 runs and taking 6 wickets in 2 tests against the Windies.

India Predicted XI: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant (wk), Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Hanuma Vihari, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.

South Africa Line-up

For South Africa, it is a time of transition after the retirements of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers. The top-order combinations and the pace battery are set, maybe even in stone. Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma will be the top 3 and Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada will spearhead the bowling attack. Keshav Maharaj now brings experience to the spin-attack, so crucial in the subcontinent, and will be the 7th man in the line-up. Markram, at 24, has already cemented his place in the playing XI, and even has a century in the practice match against the Board President’s XI.

Faf du Plessis is the captain and Quinton de Kock is the set keeper, with Heinrich Klaasen the backup behind the stumps. Apart from that, there will be newish faces in the line-up. Let’s look at them next.

Theunis de Bruyn, Dane Piedt, Senuran Muthusamy, Zubair Hamza and Anrich Nortje will be given chances in the tour, and all of them are in the squad on the back of sustained domestic success and outstanding performances in the Mzansi Super League.

Dane Piedt is the closest to the line-up. He is a spin option and could be in the squad due to experience (he is 29) and he bowls right-arm off-break (both Keshav Maharaj and the other spin option, Senuran Muthusamy, are left-arm spinners). If the Proteas go for spin variety, then Dane Piedt will be in the squad. Muthusamy is also untried. He did play the practice matches against BP XI and batted at number 5 in both the matches but will probably be seen as back-up to Keshav Maharaj.

The Proteas already have a set pace battery and Anrich Nortje will find it hard to break that up in the first test. Zubair Hamza and Theunis de Bruyn. The former boasts of a domestic batting average of 50+ while de Bruyn brought up his first and only test century in the disastrous test series against Sri Lanka in 2018. He was the only South African centurion in the series which comprised of 2 tests that SA lost by 278 and 199 runs. That ability should see him take the final spot in the line-up.

South Africa Predicted XI: Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Piedt, Dean Elgar

With this, we move on to predicting which team will win today’s match?

India have a more settled test line-up than South Africa and under tough conditions, that should see them complete a victory in the inaugural Freedom Trophy test match

  1. Vizag is a traditional Indian batting track that offers pace and bounce and then disintegrates spectacularly to help the spinners. Whoever wins the toss will choose to bat first and the 1st innings will see at least one team score 400+ (probably India), if rain doesn’t spoil the play
  2. Rain will spoil play and the match will be a low-scoring affair
  3. ‘The Rohit Sharma as opener’ experiment will take time to fructify and he will probably not score more than 70-75 runs in the test
  4. Hanuma Vihari will continue to perform well in tests, and he will be joined by Ajinkya Rahane among the runs
  5. Aiden Markram has 2 centuries in the 2 practice matches played and that form will continue into the test series. Expect a century from him
  6. The spinners will be among the wickets, and I expect them to capture more than 60% of the wickets in the match.

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