Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

South Africa vs India: Expected changes in the Indian playing XI

South Africa vs India: Expected changes in the Indian playing XI

"Because one thing I have observed, this is one of the best teams that is visiting South Africa". Australia beat them in February 2014 with Mitchell Johnson continuing his post-Ashes form.

India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has said that the team's confidence can not be dented after "just one match".

If South Africa are untouchable at Newlands then how do you describe their record at SuperSport Park? A loss will mean the series is gone.

"We need to have intent because of the kind of bowling attack they have", Kohli said.

In comparison, the Indian batsmen could not come to terms with the pitch, and may not be able to do so even when the second Test begins.

On a positive side, the Indian team has always shown that extra aggression under Virat Kohli's captaincy and if that aggression is displayed again here, I must say India can send jitter waves to the South African dressing room. The Indians stayed at the ground till almost sundown for a thorough debriefing on what had gone wrong, especially with the top-order batting.

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out due to a strain and Parthiv Patel was included is his place. So one of, if not both, KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane should come up for selection consideration.

"We still talk about combinations that we will go with but it is about getting the right balance".

"I feel that the batting order‚ through the mistakes we committed in the first game‚ will be in a much better shape to counter the South African bowlers".

There were some indications that KL Rahul could replace Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order.

Head-to-head: South Africa have an excellent record at Centurion. To go with four out and out pacers could give Lungisani Ngidi, the young pacer who's reputed to be very quick, the spot vacated by Dale Steyn. Or they could plump for an all-rounder like Chris Morris. Yes, it does end up helping the home team, but that is how it is world over. "That's why Lungi has been brought into the squad - we want to get a closer look at him and what he can do". As a bowler, my motto is not to get too excited and not to get too down after every match. "I believe there is a lot of talent there". The batsmen were troubled by pace and movement in Newlands.

"There's a lot of Test cricket still to be played". "If you pick four seamers, he can be in amongst them".

And he could play a bit: Sachin Tendulkar scored an undefeated 111 at the ground in December 2010. However, his primary role will be to provide support to the pace trio of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel.

Historically, the SuperSport Park track is a balanced one, with ideal conditions for both batting and bowling. India will be looking to rectify that in this match. But office hours are office hours and practising for a Test is about being in the office and preparing for the big day. However, if they do not, du Plessis' men could cause all sort of headaches for India. Centurion has helped reduce proud‚ strong teams like India and Pakistan to the risible standards of Zimbabwe and West Indies.

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