Despite overcast conditions, India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first at Centurion’s SuperSport Park in the first Test against South Africa. The two teams will square off in a three-match Test series starting today which is also part of the ICC World Test Championship.
Putting to bed all the speculations regarding team combination, India have continued their faith in the struggling middle-order duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane with neither Hanuma Vihari nor Shreyas Iyer making the cut. They have opted for three frontline seamers aided by a fast-bowling allrounder in Shardul Thakur with Ravichandran Ashwin included as the lone spinner.
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“Runs on the board playing away home has been our strength,” Kohli explained his decision to bat first at the toss. “The pitch tends to quicken up here on Day two and three.”
“Our success away from home started from the series we played here last time. Very challenging place to play (in South Africa). South African unit is always strong and they know the conditions,” he added.
On the other hand, South Africa have a debutant in their eleven in fast bowler Marco Jansen who has been preferred over Duanne Olivier.
“Nice and relaxed and looking forward to what is going to be a brilliant Test series, South Africa captain Dean Elgar said at the toss. “We had a good week’s camp in Johannesburg. We are prepared as best as we could.”
India XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
South Africa XI: Dean Elgar (captain), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Wiaan Mulder, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
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