IND vs SA, 1st Test: Rohit & Co. sets out to conquer final frontier

The weather is expected to curtail proceedings in Centurion as India begins another attempt to win a Test series in South Africa.

Published : Dec 25, 2023 22:03 IST , CENTURION - 2 MINS READ

India’s Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid during a practice session.
India’s Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid during a practice session. | Photo Credit: PTI

India’s Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid during a practice session. | Photo Credit: PTI

No Indian team has won a Test series in South Africa and Rohit Sharma’s men will be looking to conquer this final frontier as the first out the two Tests gets underway at the SuperSport Park here from Tuesday.

To begin their challenge, they need the weather to allow play. It rained heavily on the eve of the match and the forecast isn’t very encouraging for the Boxing Day either.

The last time India played a Test match here, two years ago, it secured a convincing 113-run victory. Many of the players from that side are missing in this squad, though, including Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. This is the first time in over a decade that India is playing an away Test without either of the red-ball specialists.

But in Rohit and Virat Kohli, who averages 51.35 in Tests here, it has enough experience, and if the duo fires, India should have enough runs on the board to put the host under pressure.

It would be interesting to see how the young guns Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made a big hundred on Test debut in the West Indies, and Shubman Gill fare at the top of the order. K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer may have vital roles to play in the middle order.

Mohammed Shami’s absence will be a big blow, but fellow seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj can cause plenty of damage. Prasidh Krishna or Mukesh Kumar could get an opportunity to fill in for Shami.

As for South Africa, though there had been injury concerns about its quality quicks Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, coach Shukri Conrad has indicated they are ready to fire. The Proteas will be looking to the likes of opener Dean Elgar, who is retiring from international cricket after this series, captain Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram for runs.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne, Keegan Petersen, Nandre Burger, Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabad and Tristan Stubbs.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, K.S. Bharat and Abhimanyu Easwaran.
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