The young South African side out up a tough resistance in the first Test of the series at Vishakapatnam. But the Indian cricket team is arguably the best in the world and it is very, very difficult to avoid getting beaten against them in India – forget winning.
The result of the first Test confirms our prediction of 3-0 for India in this Test series. Sure, had South Africa still had the likes of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and Morne Morkel in their side, they could have put up a real challenge. But they are all retired and we have a new generation of South African cricketers.
Very, very hard to beat India, but South Africa must also question their team selection. Their best batsman, Quinton de Kock bats at no. 7. That is hard to understand.
Yes, he is also their wicketkeeper, which is why he needs some rest in between innings. If that is so, South Africa should have gone with another wicketkeeper so that Quinton could bat at no. 4 and focus 100 percent on his batting.
As for India – finally they have found the right position in the Test side for Rohit Sharma, the opening batting slot, same as the one he occupies when he plays for India in ODIs and T20s.
Rohit is a monster with the bat and he showed just why he is so good, smashing 100s in both innings in his Test comeback. His superlative performance makes one question why wasn’t this tried before: why on earth did the Indian team had to put up with mediocrities like KL Rahul, Murli Vijay and many others at the opening position when Hitman was just around the corner!
Rohit being at the top should give Captain Virat Kohli the confidence to go with 5 bowlers, which means Hanuma Vihari may be replaced by a specialist bowler. Or should be, rather. Virat has indicated that he is not going to change a winning combination.
India : 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Hanuma Vihari, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ravindra Jadeja, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Mohammed Shami
South Africa : Aiden Markram, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Theunis de Bruyn, 4 Temba Bavuma, 5 Faf du Plessis (capt), 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Senuran Muthusamy, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi
It’s been raining heavily in Pune over the last couple of months or so. In fact, residents say that they can’t remember the last time when it rained as much. Which is why there is a 100% certainty that we going to lose a lot of time because of rain in this match. One just hopes that we get a result.
As for the pitch, it is a typical Pune track – lots of grass, good seam movement, should be good for the fast bowlers. Which is why India should go in with a 3-man pace attack. Let’s see!
Prediction: If rains stay away, India should win this match easily.