India v South Africa 1st Test Tips, Predictions and Preview - India to make home advantage count

India (PA Images)

India started their ICC World Test Championship with a 2-0 series win over West Indies, picking up the full 120 points on offer and now host South Africa, who are making their debut in the tournament. 

The first match will be played at the picturesque ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam starting from Wednesday.

Weather will play a huge part in the game, considering a lot of time leading to the match has been wet. Unseasonal rains in Vizag have kept the pitch under wraps and could make it an interesting team selection choice. Otherwise, it is the spinners who rule the roost here.

India


The hosts were in cruise mode against West Indies, with Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari in prime form. The absence of star bowler Jasprit Bumrah is going to be a challenge, but with spinners leading the charge India will be confident of their chances.

Part of it is because of the spin duo Ashwin – Jadeja. The last time South Africa travelled here, those two picked up 54 of the 70 wickets to fall. In addition, the travails of the South African batsmen against the spinners is well-documented. Considering the conditions, don’t be surprised if the Indians go for a three-pronged spin attack as well.

South Africa


The Proteas are going through a generational shift with AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla retired from international cricket. That robs them of a lot of experience with the bat, putting the onus on Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma to pull their weight.

It is with the ball that South Africa have some exciting names to be confident about. Vernon Philander has been always a threat with his nagging accuracy, wile Kagiso Rabada has a score a settle in these conditions. And with Keshav Maharaj’s uncanny spin, South Africa can surprise the hosts.

Match Up


India are the buoyant side after an easy West Indies tour that brought them full Championship points. The conditions are best suited for their spinners, which should negate the absence of Bumrah. Ashwin and Jadeja should fancy their chances having picked up wickets at will in the previous series against the Proteas. The likes of Elgar, du Plessis, Markram and de Kock all have had their share of problems against the spinners. If time permits, India should walk away with the honours.

History & Statistics


  • India have won 23 of their last 30 home Test matches, losing just once (W23, D6, L1).
  • India haven’t lost to South Africa at home in five Tests (W4, D1), since their last loss in 2010.
  • India haven’t lost a home Test since against Australia in February 2017.
  • South Africa have seen decisive results in their last 21 Tests, since July 2017.
  • South Africa are winless in nine matches in the Indian sub-continent (D4, L5) and have lost their last four.

Key Players


Having lost the mantle of lead spinner in away Tests, Ravichandran Ashwin will be itching to go. Eight wickets in this match will give him 350 Test wickets and he has 38 wickets in seven Tests against South Africa.

Aiden Markram has had a difficult time against spinners, but has shown sparks of his potential with consecutive centuries in the warm-ups. It is time to translate that onto the big stage.

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India v South Africa 1st Test Tips, Predictions and Preview - India to make home advantage count

India started their ICC World Test Championship with a 2-0 series win over West Indies, picking up the full 120 points on offer and now host South Africa.

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