Sunday, December 31, 2017

India vs South Africa 2018 Test Series - A Test of Champions

India vs South Africa 2018 Test Series Preview

Sony Pictures Sports Network has come up with a TV advertisement which portrays Indian fans heavily disappointed and yearning for revenge. This ad revolves around a fact that India has never won a test series against South Africa since their first tour in 1992. While the advertisement went little too extreme and hard to digest that Indian fans would never be this disappointed that they would break television sets or shave off their moustaches following a loss against South Africa. This could certainly be a possibility if the loss came against Pakistan. But again, it rightly portrays the fact of win-less streak in South Africa.

Away test series wins, especially if they come in South Africa, Australia or England are always great. India as well as the other sub-continent teams are still longing for a series win in Australia and South Africa. Cricket fans here in India do have a lot of expectations from the Kohli's XI. This team is full of positive intent and they play fearless cricket. Kohli's intentions were pretty clear right from the time he had to take over the captaincy from Dhoni mid of the Australian tour.

India vs South Africa 2018 Test Live Streaming

After losing IPL bid, Sony has strengthen it's positioning to broadcast International matches. Cricket fans in India would be able to watch live cricket streaming and telecast of India vs South Africa series on SonyLiv, Sony Ten 1 and Ten 3 HD channels. The live telecast would be available with English and Hindi commentary.

Test Series Schedule

1st Test Match at Durban from 5th January 2018
2nd Test Match at Centurion from 13th January 2018
3rd Test Match at Johannesburg from 24th January 2018

Squad Details

India - Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah

South Africa - Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn

What should be India's game plan against South Africa?

After toppling all the teams on your way to the apex of ICC Test Rankings comes a lot of responsibilities. Teams could crumble under pressure to maintain the top spot. Virat Kohli and his men have seen many such situations where they have stood tall. Facing South Africa in their own backyard isn't easy. We all know how best of the teams have failed against their quickies and resolute batsmen.

Good part about the Indian batting line up, most of them are in good form. With Kookaburra ball, South Africa pacers would look dangerous especially in the first 20 odd overs. This means the opening pair needs to be mentally prepared to play out the first hour and half confidently. If they manage to stick to the crease for half of the first session, things would be relatively easier. Hence, Murali Vijay and the second opener (that can be Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul) will have to hang out there and at the same time keep scoring runs to put the likes of Dale Steyn, Philander and Rabada under pressure.

One down comes Pujara who would add a lot of strength to the batting line up. Just like Hashim Amla, he will hang on at one side scoring runs on loose balls. Having said so, his partner at the other end may have to be a bit aggressive to keep the scoreboard ticking. Since the late 90s we have seen how Australian team has changed the face of test cricket with aggressive batting. Post that, teams scoring at a rate of 3.5 plus have generally dominated the game. Virat Kohli and Ajikya Rahane would play a vital for in this aspect. The think tank may go ahead with Rohit Sharma (considering he is in a golden touch right now) instead of Hardik Pandya to strengthen the batting line up.

As far as including a spinner is concerned, the selection would revolve around the pitch predictions. If the pitch suggests, the team may go ahead with just one spinner and that could be R Ashwin considering he can extract more bounce from the wicket. His solid batting also is an add on to the team.

Talking about the pace attack from India, it looks full of variety. Umesh Yadav comes with pace and bounce, Shami's ball skids and can create uncertainty in the minds of batsmen, Ishant Sharma will maintain his bouncy line outside off whereas Bhuvaneshwar and Bumrah can create havoc with their swinging deliveries.

Having said so, with the history behind them and favourable home conditions; South Africa have an upper hand. It would take something really special from the Indian team to clinch a test series in South Africa. And trust me, if that happens; that would be one of the greatest series wins ever in the history of Indian test cricket.

Stay tuned with Sony Ten TV channels and SonyLiv for live cricket telecast and streaming of India's tour to South Africa.

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