India vs SA, 1st Test: Preview, Dream11 and more
India and South Africa gear up for the first Test match to be held in Vizag from October 2 onwards. India enter as outright favorites and they will want to get off to a strong start against a resurgent SA. There will be some stern key battles and players to watch out for. Here we present the detailed match preview.
Saha to keep wickets, focus on Rohit and Ashwin
This is India's second series in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship. With points on offer, expect the hosts to give their all. For India, the focus will be on Rohit Sharma on how he fares as an opener. R Ashwin is back in the starting XI and is the in-form bowler. Also, Wriddhiman Saha will keep the wickets ahead of Rishabh Pant.
Team India playing XI for the first Test
The Indian team playing XI: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Kohli expects to see Rohit play his natural game
SA begin their ICC World Test Championship journey
South Africa begin their campaign in the World Test Championship and a lot is at stake for Faf du Plessis' side. The Proteas had a forgettable series in 2015 and one wants to see a better performance. SA will bank on Faf's experience. The likes of Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock have crucial roles. Kagiso Rabada leads a solid bowling unit on offer.
Dream11: A strong side on offer
We have gone for Mayank Agarwal and Aiden Markram as the two openers. They are solid players and can score runs. Kohli captains the side. He gets joined by Faf, Hanuma Vihari and wicket-keeper batsman De Kock to add more depth. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the two spin all-rounders. Rabada (vice-captain) and Ishant Sharma are the two pacers. Keshav Maharaj fits in too.
Viewpoint: Rahane and Philander open up
"It is important to start with a win because of the Test Championship points. You cannot take any team lightly," said Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. SA pacer Vernon Philander said, "It's a tough start...playing India in India but I don't think the South Africans would have wanted it any other way, take the big dogs in their home ground."
Venue, timing, TV listing and pitch report
The first Test is set to be held at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam. It's scheduled for a 9:30 AM IST start and will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network. According to reports, one expects to see a sunny day tomorrow with gentle breeze on offer. The pitch will assist spinners at large and that will make things interesting.