Underdogs South Africa plan to land ‘first punch’ vs favourites India


IND vs SA 1st Test: When South Africa take on India in the Boxing Day Test on Sunday, they are sure to feel the heat because of the inexperience they carry in the side. Unlike the 2018 series there is no AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla or a Faf du Plessis in the lineup. The likes of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are there in the pace unit but the services of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will be remembered. South Africa will truly enter the contest as the underdogs. Follow India tour of South Africa Live on InsideSport.IN. 

IND vs SA 1st Test: Underdogs South Africa’s mantra against favourites Virat Kohli & Co, ‘Throw first punch’ in Boxing Day Test

Even if the aforementioned former greats were there, facing this formidable Indian Test team would have been a daunting task. The contest was tough for the Proteas during the 2018 series as well. India lost the series with a 2-1 margin but gave South Africa a run for their money in at least two matches if not all three.

Since then the Virat Kohli-led Test side has beaten Australia in Australia twice, reached into the final of inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) and were leading the 5-Test series against England 2-1 when the final match was postponed due to Covid-19 threats.

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Under the given scenario, South Africa are relying in their old tactics of “throwing the first punch” to get the upper hand against India, who are eyeing their first series win in the African nation.

“For us, it’s about throwing the first punch,” said the 29-year-old fast bowler,” pacer Duanne Olivier, who has been out of the Test arena for three years, has told ahead of the first Test in Centurion from December 26.

The South African squad for the Freedom Series looks weak and inexperienced as captain Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock are the only two players to have played over 50 Tests. However, de Kock is most likely to miss the second and third Test because of a paternity leave. Kagiso Rabada is the most experienced bowler with 47 Test matches.

India too lost the services of their new red-ball vice captain Rohit Sharma days ahead of the team’s departure. Virat Kohli is also not in the best of forms, while the forms of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have been the talk of the town.

Off-field controversies have also played their role in the last one week. Virat Kohli blatantly denied the comments from BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wherein he had claimed that he personally called the 33-year-old to inform him of the selectors’ decision to name Rohit Sharma India’s new white-ball captain.

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The time is just perfect for Kohli to get back among runs achieve what the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the team’s current head coach Rahul Dravid have failed to achieve. A Test series win in South Africa has the power to erase all the talks around Kohli’s batting form and his alleged soured relationship with the BCCI.

The same set of batters scripted history in Australia and England. The Indian pace unit is a force to reckon – Kohli and his team has all what it takes to etch ones name in history books.

South Africa will have to take inspiration from the past seven occasions when they defeated India at home. The side will surely have to “land the first punch” to stand on their feat and push India on the backfoot and if they get that chance they should make sure to land two or three more. The current Indian Test team retaliate forcefully after getting punched first – winning the Test series 2-1 after 36 all-out in Australia is a hard proof of it.

IND vs SA 1st Test: Underdogs South Africa’s mantra against favourites Virat Kohli & Co, ‘Throw first punch’ in Boxing Day Test

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