Team India starts 2018 with the most challenging away tour of South Africa and the tour begins with three-match test series. The home team just thrashed Zimbabwe in the first-ever 4-day test last while the visitors had a good home season in second-half of 2017 and travels to South Africa with lot of confidence. The highly anticipated 1st Test match between South Africa vs India schedule to start at 10:30 AM Local | 2 PM IST on Friday, 5th January 2018.



Almost after two years South Africa set to play a test series with their full force. Faf du Plessis who was sidelined for Zimbabwe test last week, back in the side and he will lead the team. Chris Morris and Dale Steyn are awaiting to make their return to longer format while AB de Villiers looking forward to re-start his test career. As per South African rules, only 5 whitish players are allowed in the playing XI and that creates a headache for selectors. As Faf du Plessis leads the team, he will be in the XI for sure. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram were the opening pair of South Africa in this home season of 2017/18. They both opened together in the test series against Bangladesh and also against Zimbabwe. But there are some chances for the regular opener Dean Elgar to misses out, if South Africa strict with including AB de Villiers in the XI. That case, Markram will open the innings with Hashim Amla. If suppose, AB de Villiers sits out, the regular opening combination of Markram and Elgar will stay. If Amla forced to open the innings, Temba Bavuma will bat at no. 3 for South Africa. So, ABD will bat at 4 and Faf du Plessis will be at 5. The wicket-keeping batsman Quinton de Kock will keep his place at no. 6. He struggled with an injury in the 4-day test against Zimbabwe, but it seems that he is ready for India series. De Kock was the headliner of India’s last test tour of South Africa in 2013/14 season. He scored 3 test centuries in that series, he may recreate the record in this series too. The selection headache is not only selecting batting unit, it’s also there for bowling unit.

The bowling all-rounder Chris Morris is back in the squad after very long time, but most probably he will lose the place to Andile Phehlukwayo. Again that 5 whitish players rules comes into play and may hurt Morris chances in the XI. Phehlukwayo justified his selection with a tally 5 wickets in the test against Zimbabwe last week. He is the front-runner to retain the place in the XI. The hometown boy Vernon Philander is just two wickets away from 100 wickets at home. He is a key bowler and talented lower-order batsman. He might play a crucial role with a ball in this game. The only specialist spin option in the squad, Keshav Maharaj will keep his place safe in the XI, especially after that five wickets haul in the second innings against Zimbabwe. The speedster Dale Steyn is fit and ready to play, but he has to fight for one place along with other experienced bowler Morne Morkel. Steyn is the favorite but Morkel’s brillant 5 wicket-haul against Zimbabwe doubts Steyn place in the XI. The bowling sensation Kagiso Rabada just settled with 3 wickets in Zimbabwe test, but he will be the biggest threat for the opposition in this game.



Team India traveled to South Africa with a tagline of No. 1 Test Team in the world. Virat Kohli led-side has won all the test series which they have played in last 1 year and 8 months. Team India has full strength in both batting and bowling department. Three openers are in the squad, they are Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul. Dhawan was struggled with a minor injury, but he has been declared fit for this test match. Murali Vijay assures his place in the opening position with his recent performances. The decision has to make between KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. India might prefers the left and right opening combination, therefore Dhawan is the front-runner for the place in the XI. The in-form Cheteshwar Pujara will take care of the batting at no. 3. He had a tremendous form in home tests for past 18 months, but this will be a real testing time for him in away series. The newly married skipper Virat Kohli had an amazing year in 2017. He shined in across formats and will continue the good work in South Africa too. Ajinkya Rahane’s form was the biggest worry for the team during the test series against Sri Lanka last month. Rahane managed to score only 17 runs in 5 innings in that series against Sri Lanka. The versatile batsman looks confident ahead of test series which known for seam-friendly tracks in South Africa. Hopefully, Rahane will play a good hand in this test.

The opening batsman in limited overs format, Rohit Sharma bats at no. 6 in tests. He may fight with the all-rounder Hardik Pandya for a place in the XI. The inclusion of Hardik will give an extra pace bowling option for the team, at the same time Rohit Sharma will add more strength to batting unit in bowling-friendly pitches. Viral illness to Ravindra Jadeja may sideline him from the first test. As the team is expected to play with one specialist spin-option, the illness of Jadeja won’t affect the formation much. Ravichandran Ashwin who always does a great job at home and also in sub-continent, has a point to prove in South Africa tracks. The off-spinner emerged as an all-rounder and he has a key role to play with a bat in lower middle-order. India squad has 5 quickies, they are Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah. Among these 5 players, Jasprit Bumrah is the one who awaits for test debut. After played so many ODIs and T20I in past two years, Bumrah will make a test debut in this series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar set to play the first test since his wedding last month. Bhuvi, Shami and Ishant Sharma are front-line pace options for this game. But, the young Bumrah has a chance to make a debut with this game. Therefore, it’s pretty tough to predict India’s pace-attack for this test in Cape Town.




  • Hashim Amla
  • Aiden Markram
  • Faf du Plessis
  • AB de Villiers
  • Quinton de Kock
  • Keshav Maharaj
  • Andile Phehlukwayo
  • Kagiso Rabada



  • Murali Vijay
  • Cheteshwar Pujara
  • Virat Kohli
  • Shikhar Dhawan
  • Ajinkya Rahane
  • Ravichandran Ashwin
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar
  • Mohammad Shami




1. Aiden Markram, 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Temba Bavuma, 4. AB de Villiers / Dean Elgar, 5. Faf du Plessis, 6. Quinton de Kock, 7. Andile Phehlukwayo, 8. Vernon Philander, 9. Keshav Maharaj, 10. Kagiso Rabada, 11. Dale Steyn / Morne Morkel.



1. Shikhar Dhawan / KL Rahul, 2. Murali Vijay, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli, 5. Akinkya Rahane, 6. Rohit Sharma / Hardik Pandya, 7. Wriddhiman Saha, 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Mohammad Shami, 11. Ishant Sharma / Jasprit Bumrah.




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