India have won the toss and skipper Virat Kohli elected to bat first in the opening Test of the three-match series at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
After winning the toss, Kohli said, “Runs on the board playing away from home has been our strength. The wicket looks nice, there’s grass on the pitch. Traditionally, Centurion gets quicker as the match goes on.
“We wanted to bat first. Our success away from home started with South Africa series. We won the last Test of the series last time we toured here. We won twice in Australia and once in England. South Africa will be a tough place. We need to be strong with our plans and execution. Lucky to have practiced close to the centre wicket.”
Talking about the composition of the playing eleven, Kohli said, “We are playing with Siraj, Shami and Bumrah, all-rounder is Shardul and spinner is Ashwin.”
South Africa skipper Dean Elgar emphasised on his team doing well at home.
“Nice and relaxed ahead of what is going to be a cracking series. We had a good camp in Johannesburg. No denying the fact that we could have done with more Tests, but there are no excuses going into the Test series. We need to do well in our backyard.”
Speaking on his playing eleven, Elgar revealed that all-rounder Marco Jansen will be making his Test debut.
“We have a debutant in Marco Jansen. He is a tall left-arm bowler and we hope he can trouble the Indian batters. Mulder is our all-rounder and Keshav is our spinner.”
This will be Virat Kohli’s second visit to South Africa as captain of India’s Test team. The previous visit had ended in a narrow 1-2 defeat in 2018.
South Africa XI: Dean Elgar (Capt.), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Wiaan Mulder, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
India Playing XI: Virat Kohli (Capt), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj