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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Preview: South Africa vs India, 1st Test - INDIA Tour SA

Graeme-Smith-MS-Dhoni-Test-Series-2013
What
First of the two-Test series between South Africa and India
When
December 18-22, 2013 – 08:30 GMT (14:00 IST)
Where
The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Teams
India
The first leg of their South African sojourn didn’t turn out to be very memorable. One can only hope that by now the Indians have gotten used to the conditions well enough to put up better fight in the Tests – that the batsmen are now equipped at handling the movement and the bowlers have figured out what the right length is on these tracks. Having played an ODI at the Wanderers just a few days back should give them better understanding of what to expect in the first Test.
What should also help India is the addition of some fresh faces that were not part of the ODI team. Zaheer Khan and Cheteshwar Pujara will bring experience and solidity on the bowling and batting fronts respectively. Zaheer in particular, will be the single-most crucial factor in moulding India’s fate in the series.
South Africa
The hosts will go to the Wanderers oozing with confidence, looking to beat the Indians like they did in the ODIs. However, as AB de Villiers aptly pointed out, complacency could be detrimental to their cause and they must guard against it despite India’s below-par performance in the shorter format.
While both teams are well stacked up with batting talent, the hosts have a distinct edge on the bowling front. While Dale Steyn leads a more than potent fast bowling attack, India have an army of upcoming bowlers led by comeback man Zaheer Khan. The onus is on the Proteas batsmen to use that to their advantage.
Key Players
India
Zaheer Khan has not just returned to the Indian team. He has returned fitter, leaner and fresher than ever. And if his seven Ranji Trophy matches are anything to go by, his swinging skills – both conventional and reverse – are absolutely intact. He will be the key for India in these two Tests for more reason than one. Not only will his shrewdness come in handy in setting the batsmen up for dismissals but his experience of playing in South Africa several times before will speak well for the younger pacers in plotting strategies in the change room and executing them on the field. Not to forget, Zaheer will go in with a mental edge over the Proteas skipper, Greame Smith.
South Africa
When Hashim Amla is in form, he bats like a man who is at peace with the world around him. Nothing and no one seem to bother him as he goes about his business of run-making. The bad news for India is that he is in form. Amla’s role in the South African batting lineup is that of an anchor surrounded by attackers. Patience will be the key for Indian bowlers and Amla is the man who can beat them in that regards.
Statistics

Tests
India
South Africa
Drawn
in South Africa
15
2
7
6
in India
12
5
5
2
Overall
27
7
12
8
Test matches at Johannesburg

Tests
Won
Lost
Drawn
Win%
South Africa
34
14
10
10
41.18
India
3
1
0
2
33.33
India-South Africa Tests at Johannesburg
 Month-Year
Inns1
Inns2
Inns3
Inns4
Result
 Nov 1992
SA 292
Ind 227
SA 252
Ind 141-4
Drawn
 Jan 1997
Ind 410
SA 321
Ind 266-8d
SA 228-8
Drawn
 Dec 2006
Ind 249
SA 84
Ind 236
SA 278
Ind-  123 runs
Trivia

India have won all six Tests they have played in 2013. South Africa have won six out of seven.
MS Dhoni will be leading India for the 50th time in a Test. He will become first Indian and 14th player to do so. Dhoni will also become first captain-wicketkeeper to appear in 50 Tests.
Zaheer Khan is five short of 300 wickets. He will become fourth Indian to reach this milestone after Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (431). He will also become only the third left-arm pacer to do so after Wasim Akram (414) and Chaminda Vaas (355).
Jacques Kallis is two short of 200 catches. He will become second fielder (excluding wicketkeepers) to perform this feat after Rahul Dravid. Kallis will also complete the unique allround treble of 10000 runs, 200 wickets and 200 catches.
The Squads
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt/wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile.

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