Date & Time: Wednesday, October 02, 09:30 IST
Venue: Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam, India
Can new-look South Africa Challenge formidable India?
After a tied T20I series, the action moves to the longer format in South Africa’s Tour of India, as both teams gear up for the first of the 3-match Test series in Visakhapatnam. The talk used to be all about the kinds of pitches being prepared in the previous tours between these two sides. But, not any more, since both sides have made peace with it after what happened over the past tours. In addition, South Africa maybe No.3 in the world but the quality they have now no more resembles the past. On the other hand, India is at the top of the world in the format and their incredible home record over the last 5 years makes them out and out favorites. So this series is not about results but more about how India dominates and how South Africa can restrict the damages.
India has announced its Playing XI on the eve of the match. Rohit is likely to open with Agarwal and Saha pips Pant behind the stumps.
India Playing XI: 1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Mayank Agarwal, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (capt), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Hanuma Vihari, 7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8. R Ashwin, 9. Ravindra Jadeja, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Mohammed Shami
South Africa’s Possible XI: 1. Aiden Markram, 2. Dean Elgar, 3. Theunis de Bruyn, 4. Faf du Plessis (capt), 5. Temba Bavuma, 6. Quinton de Kock (wk), 7. Vernon Philander, 8. Keshav Maharaj, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Lungi Ngidi/Anrich Nortje, 11. Dane Piedt
Speaking about the surface Virat mentioned it looks like a typical Vizag pitch. So expect some turn and a lot as the game progress. The forecast is for rain on each day of the Test match so expect a stop and start kind of match which could also aid pacers a bit.
The Indian Captain will be the first man on most of the fantasy teams. His records across formats and conditions makes him a must-have. Adding to it, he was also in decent form in the recently concluded Windies Tour.
He may not be an all weather batsman as Virat, but when it comes to home conditions his incredible record speaks for itself. He has a PPM of 102 in the format and a PPMC of 123 which makes him a must-have in the first Test.
One just can’t miss out on Indian spinner in a fantasy team. Jadeja has piped Ashwin to be the lead spinner in the side in the last few tours because of his present form which could serve fantasy players well with his presence. He has a PPM of 140 in the format and a PPMC of 157.
He may have fallen down in the pecking order of spinners in the longer format but in home conditions, there isn’t much difference between Ashwin and Jadeja over the past few years. His PPM of 126 in the format and a PPM of 188 in the last 5 matches make him an unmissable choice.
Faf du Plessis
He has been a part of most tours to India in the present squad. The side is likely to rely more on him because of his ability to handle spin well. If South Africa has to come up with some fight he is likely to be a key player in it.
Considered as the next generation batsman for South Africa, Maekram holds the key for the Proteas’ Top order. He displayed what all he is capable of in the tour games leading up to the test series. He smashed a couple of half centuries and a century too. But, when he is up against the actual team, it is likely to be a different ball game altogether. This uncertainty makes him a big bet player one cannot miss out on their Dream11 fantasy cricket team.