The red ball cricket is back in India and how? A closely fought T20 series saw South Africa drawing level with the host to save their enviable record of not losing a T20 series on the Indian soil.
With the focus shifting to the purest form of the game, one thing is sure that India will start this series as the favourites for two reasons. One, India is enjoying a phenomenal spell of test cricket under Virat Kohli for the past two years and the performances are proof of that. Two, India is playing a test series in their backyard which automatically becomes a difficult territory to play for any overseas side.
However, one should expect fireworks even in the test series seeing the number of star players both possess. Battles within this battle will also feature, so who are the players involved in these mini battles? Let’s have a look.
Virat Kohli vs Kagiso Rabada:
It is fire vs fire!
On the one hand, is Virat Kohli. He is enjoying a life which every player will only dream to have. He is consistent with his approach and is running the show for the Indian team when it comes to the longer format. Kohli had aggregated 286 runs from three Tests when these two sides last met in 2017-18 and will look to produce the same goods at home.
On the other is Kagiso Rabada. With Virat Kohli as his debut test wicket, he will be looking to run the show especially after knowing the fact that he will be the commander in chief to lead this inexperienced South African bowling side.
Faf Du Plessis vs Ravindra Jadeja:
It is a reunion of men in yellow. These two know each other well, thanks to their stint as the Chennai Super Kings players for the past 5 years.
Ravindra Jadeja is the key weapon of Virat Kohli. The South African skipper was his bunny that too twice. Although Du Plessis is a good white-ball player on the Indian soil he is yet to prove the same when things come to the test cricket. With the Proteas skipper struggling to play spin on the uneven Indian tracks, it will be interesting to see combat between these two.
Pujara vs Philander:
What will happen when an immovable object meets a moving force?
The story of Pujara and Philander is the same. Philander has got the better of Pujara’s defence in the past be it in South Africa or India.
Philander is known for his ability to get the ball to seam in off the good length, towards the top of off-stump. And this delivery itself has at times troubled Pujara in the early part of his innings. So who will come out on top in the not so seam friendly Indian conditions?
Dean Elgar vs Ravi Ashwin:
Left-hander, spinning track and Ravi Ashwin, it is a situation which Virat Kohli loves to be in as a captain. It comes as no surprise why the Indian skipper loves to throw the ball in Ashwin’s direction when he sees a left-hander walking towards the pitch.
Moreover, Elgar, one of South Africa’s most consistent batsmen in Tests, has found himself wanting against Ashwin, being dismissed five times by the off-spinner in 11 innings.
It will be intriguing to see whether Elgar’s grit will outperform Ashwin or Ashwin will laugh with Elgar as his bunny?