A desperate Team India will seek redemption in the Test format by trying to spin a web around the formidable South Africans in the four-match series starting at Mohali . The pressure for India to fare well in the Tests isall the more more as India failed to make use of the home advantage in the limited-overs games while the South Africans displayed remarkable adaptability to emerge victorious.
Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli and his men would take the field without their pace spearhead Ishant Sharma, who is serving a one-match ban for his aggressive outbursts during the away series against Sri Lanka. Therefore, India will be relying heavily on their spin brigade to out-manoeuvre the potent opposition batting, which has been sublime to say the least.
With all – rounder Ravindra Jadeja back in the mix of things, Kohli will be looking to go with three spinners at the PCA track, hoping to pose a threat to the visitors. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who missed the last four ODIs with a side strain he suffered in the opening game in Kanpur, seems to be fit and raring to go and that augurs well for Team India.
Having been India’s strike bowler in the Test series win in Sri Lanka, Ashwin, who bagged 20 wickets against the Island nation, will be key to the home team’s chances with opposition players like Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar acknowledging the in-form spinner’s threat.
Team director Ravi Shastri though has asserted that even Amit Mishra and Jadeja, who has been in stellar form in the current Ranji season, will be crucial to the home side’s fortunes. Playing for Saurashtra, Jadeja, whose last Test appearance was against England last year, has bagged 38 wickets in four games to win back the selectors’ trust.
His left-arm slow bowling, combined with Mishra’s leg-spin and Ashwin’s offies could turn out to be the much-needed winning formula for the hosts on what seems to be a track that will favour the home team’s strength. Skipper Virat Kohli is likely to go by his theory of 5 bowlers in the match in his quest for win.
On the batting front, India will be spoilt for choices on with opener Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma fighting it out for the top-order slots. So problems aplenty for Team India and time for putting on the thinking caps for both Virat and Shastri over the playing eleven in the Gandhi -Mandela series.