India face pace-test against South Africa at Newlands

Visitors are yet to win a series in five-day format against Proteas on their home ground in 25 years

Virat Kohli-led India knows they will have to get the better of South Africa’s pace battery if they are to avoid another series defeat on the land of the Proteas in the upcoming three-match contest starting from Friday in Cape Town.

The visitors are coming on the back of more than an impressive home season, where they defeated Australia, England and New Zealand.The Men in Blue will be once again depending on their strong batting lineup, and therefore, the focus will be there on the likes of captain Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Chiteshwar Pujara, who will be responsible for putting big runs on the board.

In the bowling department, however, things look not as rosy for the visitors. The pace department will consist of the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami, whereas Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the spin attack.The inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya remains uncertain, as he faces serious competition with middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma who has been in sublime form with the bat.

On the other hand, these are exciting times for South Africa, as the welcome back former captain and explosive batsman AB de Villiers and veteran pacer Dale Steyn.The home side also received a boost with captain Faf du Plessis returning to the team, who missed the Zimbabwe Test due to injury.

In the batting department, the team will be depending on the experienced trio of opener Hashim Amla, De Villiers, and Du Plessis.In the bowling department, however, the home side face a dilemma with the return of Steyn, as only of him or Morne Morkel will start alongside Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, and Keshav Maharaj.

For the fifth bowling option, there is also no surety of who out of Andile Phehlukwayo or Chris Morris will cement their place in the final lineup.The pitch is expected to assist the pacers as the curator left a lot of grass in there, whereas the weather is expected to stay fine for most of the game.