~By Krishna Rajit
A lot will be at stake as India take on South Africa in the first test match at Cape Town starting tomorrow. Last month, when India beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the three Test match series, yet another milestone was unlocked for the Indian captain Virat Kohli. The series win was a record equalling ninth for India which means Kohli, has now equalled former Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s record of the most successive series wins as captain. Under Ponting, Australia won nine straight series’ from 2005 to 2008. For record keepers, England also recorded nine straight series triumphs from 1884 to 1892.
However, South Africa will be a big test for Virat Kohli as a batsman and also as captain. At the present moment Kohli along with Australian captain Steve Smith, England captain Joe Roots and Kiwi captain Williamson are considered the best batsmen around. But in the ongoing Ashes, Roots has not performed to his potential while Smith has done himself and his country proud by scoring profusely. Smith became the first Australia captain since Don Bradman to get three or more centuries in an Ashes series when he reached his century in the second innings of the fourth test at MCG last week. In such a scenario, Kohli will be under pressure to perform. He will be supported by Chateshwar Pujara who is on way to become the “new wall” of Indian cricket, following the retirement of Rahul Dravid. Murali Vijay and Ajiyanke Rahane have a lot to prove on this tour.
But a million dollar question would be how the Indian pace battery will perform against Springboks. Will they get carried away by the bounce and bite offered by the wicket or will they be able to macth up the illustrious line-up of Steyn, Philander, Morkel and Rabada.
It would also be a treat watching Hasim Amla and De Villiers negotiating Indian pace battery as well as spin.
All in all it will be an exciting series, far different from the last few series where India won at home or against weaker teams offshore.