South Africa were written off by a lot of their own fans when they arrived in India to play a three match T20 series and a two match test series. The Proteas played poorly at the 2019 World Cup and were eliminated in the playoffs that resulted in a number of their senior players retiring and some getting dropped for the India tour.
Quinton de Kock captained South Africa in the three match T20 series and ended up drawing the series with India 1-1 after the first T20 game was abandoned. The drawn T20 series is a plus for South Africa as many expected India to complete a series whitewash.
The Proteas took confidence from the T20 series and looked good in the warm-up match against an Indian Board President’s XI.
The match ended in a draw and gave the South African batsmen much needed time in the middle in the lead up to the first test which starts on October 2 in Visakhapatnam.
Opening batsman Aiden Markram looked in great knick and hit an unbeaten century while Temba Bavuma made 87 at a brisk strike rate of 68.50. The South African bowlers also picked up wickets as Vernon Philander took two and spinner Keshav Maharaj picked up 3. Overall, they played good cricket and it looks like the Proteas have got back their fighting spirit which is what they need to make the test series competitive and challenge India at home.
India Have Chinks In Their Armour
India are very formidable at home and are favourites to win 2-0. However, there are a couple of chinks in their armour and the South Africans will look at exploiting these weaknesses.
Rohit Sharma is expected to open the batting as he has been drafted into the side in place of K. L. Rahul. However, Sharma did not play very well in the T20 games and also got out for 0 to V Philander in the warm-up match.
The second concern for India is the absence of Jasprit Bumrah who was forced out due to injury. Bumrah has been India’s best bowler in all formats of the game and his absence will definitely make things are lot more even between the two sides.
South African Faf du Plessis knows that if his team can pull off a series win in India, it will revive South African cricket whereas a 2-0 series loss, could put him and his squad under a lot of pressure.