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India’s Predicted Playing XI For 1st Test Against South Africa

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The first Test between India and South Africa will be played at Centurion from December 26. India are currently in the rainbow nation to play a three-match Test series followed by a three-match ODI series. Heading into the first Test, India are currently the top-ranked team while the Proteas are placed sixth on the ladder.


No Indian team in the last 29 years has won a Test series in South Africa and this time around Virat Kohli and his men are looking to create history. The Indian side under Kohli lost 2-1 when they toured the country last in 2018.

In this article, we take a look at India’s predicted XI for the first Test in Centurion keeping the conditions in mind. So far 26 Test matches have been at this venue.

On that note, let’s take a look at India’s predicted playing XI for the 1st Test against South Africa in Centurion.

1) Mayank Agarwal

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In the absence of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal will continue to open the batting for the Indian team. He was in good form in the recently concluded series against New Zealand at home.

Agarwal scored 242 runs and ended as the top scorer in the series.

2) KL Rahul

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Rahul endured a good run of form against England. The series also earmarked his comeback into the Indian Test squad. He scored 315 runs in the four-Test matches and cemented his spot in the team in the process.

With Rohit ruled out, Rahul along with Agarwal will need to give their team a good start in testing conditions.

3) Cheteshwar Pujara

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India’s Test specialist is on a formal warning to score runs in this Test series. The series might well be his last if he does not get back into scoring important runs for Team India.

Like Kohli, Pujara has also not scored a Test century for over two years now and the Indian fans will be hoping for that equation to change. Pujara thus stays at his number three position.

4) Virat Kohli

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Kohli will return to his usual number four position in the Test side. All the Indian fans are patiently waiting for him to score his elusive 72nd international century.

For Kohli’s sake, he will need to get back amongst the runs and prove a point or two after being asked to step down as India’s ODI captain.

5) Shreyas Iyer

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Iyer was retained for the South Africa squad after he had a brilliant series against the Kiwis. He scored a century on his Test debut and might keep out Ajinkya Rahane from playing Xi.

Experts are of the opinion that he is likely to be dropped from the first Test, given his poor run of scores in recent times.

6) Hanuma Vihari

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After missing out from the home series against New Zealand, Vihari was recalled for the South Africa tour. He has shown patience and grit to bat for long hours against Australia and might be India’s crisis man in South Africa.

His off-spin bowling can also be handy with Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel not a part of the squad.

7) Rishabh Pant

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Pant will be preferred over Wriddhiman Saha in the first Test. The southpaw was rested for the Test series against New Zealand at home. He was given a much-needed break after playing continuous cricket in the last six months.

He has also shown tremendous improvement in his glovework as well since the famous Australia tour.

8) Ravichandran Ashwin

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Ashwin will play as the specialist spinner in the Xi. He is fresh of a Man of the Series performance against the Kiwis. Ashwin has a good record against South Africa on which he would like to build on in the series.

The off-spinner has been handly with the bat two in the last couple of years.

9) Jasprit Bumrah

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Bumrah will lead the pace attack for the Indian team. It was in South Africa that he made his red-ball debut for India. Since then, he has become a matchwinner and much-improved bowler for the team.

With conditions favorable for the bowlers, Bumrah will be India’s biggest hope in the series.

10) Mohammed Shami

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Shami will partner Bumrah from the other end. He along with Bumrah were the standout bowlers for India when they last toured the country.

Shami with his pace and movement can be a tough prospect for the opposition batters who are the weaker link of the side.

11) Mohammed Siraj

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Siraj completes the predicted playing XI for the first Test against South Africa. He was recently praised by Sachin Tendulkar in a chat with Boria Majumdar.

Siraj has made a mark in Test cricket since his debut in Australia and can certainly exploit the seaming and swinging conditions in Centurion.

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