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India vs South Africa 2021: 1st Test Best Playing 11 for Indian Team

Team India eyeing their first-ever Test series victory as we look at the 2021 1st Test predicted playing 11 for Team India vs South Africa. 

South Africa is undoubtedly the toughest place to play Test cricket among all the Test-playing nations, and India are bracing themselves for their toughest series of the 2021-23 World Test Championship cycle. Historically, India have never won a Test series in South Africa, and overall have just 3 victories from 20 Tests. 

However, of all the negative stats around series wins, the 2021-22 series could well be their easiest assignment of all South Africa assignments. This is primarily for two reasons. One is that the current South African batting line-up is nowhere close to what we had seen in previous tours. Second, the bowling line-up is without their best pacer, Anrich Nortje. 

If any, this could be time for Team India to break the shackles, and register their first series win on South African soil. The team has the capability in the batting as well as bowling department. More importantly, having been released of the captaincy in the limited-overs format, Virat Kohli would be on a mission to lead Team India with more firepower. 

So, with a day to go for the 1st Test, let’s look at a few unique stats and best predicted playing 11 for Team India for the 1st Test match vs South Africa. Meanwhile, England will be taking on Australia in the third Test of Ashes. England are in a do-or-die situation as the series is on the line. But according to Betway, the odds are currently in favor of Australia. The odds for Australia are 2/5, and for England they are 9/2. 

Team India’s Performance Guide for Test Stats in South Africa: 

Total Tests Played: 20

India: 3 Wins // South Africa: 10 Wins // Draw: 7

Team India’s Stats for Tests in South Africa

459- Highest Team Total by Team India // Centurion 2010

66 – Lowest Team Total by Team India // Durban 1996

123 runs Highest Victory by Runs Margin by Team India // Johannesburg 2006

Team India’s Batting Stats for Tests in South Africa

1161 – Most Runs by Sachin Tendulkar

55.8 – Best Batting Average by Virat Kohli (Min 300 Runs)

169 – Highest Score by Sachin Tendulkar 

8 – Most 50+ Scores by Sachin Tendulkar 

6 – Most Sixes by Zaheer Khan

172 – Most Fours by Sachin Tendulkar

Team India’s Bowling Stats for Tests in South Africa

45 – Most Wickets by Anil Kumble

20.3 – Best Bowling Average by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Min 10 wickets) 

40.2 – Best Bowling Strike Rate by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Min 10 Wickets) 

7/120 – Best Bowling figures by Harbhajan Singh

3 – Most 5-wicket hauls by Javagal Srinath 

Match Details:

Tournament: India Tour of South Africa 2021-22

Type: Test Series – 1st Test

Where: Centurion

When: December 26-30, 1:30 pm IST start

Openers: KL Rahul & Mayank Agarwal

Probably the easiest of the selection for Team India ahead of the 1st Test. While KL Rahul, who is now the Vice-Captain of Team India had a fantastic Test series in England, Mayank Agarwal is coming off a superb home series vs New Zealand. Both would be eyeing to give Team India good starts in the Test series. 

Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C) & Ajinkya Rahane

‘Experience’ would be the keyword that might get enough emphasis at least for the 1st Test. That is the sole reason why Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane might get one last lifeline to make an impression. Virat Kohli had often shown praise for both these gentlemen, and if he truly believes that, both Pujara and Rahane should get a go for the 1st Test match. 

However, even if Virat doesn’t play Pujara and Rahane, it should not be an issue. Vihari has been in brilliant touch playing for India A. Whereas Shreyas has had a fantastic debut series vs New Zealand. Although Shreyas played at home, the situation in which he made runs makes it even more special. But if Rahane is picked, fans won’t cry foul for ignoring both the aspirants as preferring experience won’t have much questions. 

Lower-order: Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin & Shardul Thakur 

The absence of Ravindra Jadeja should make Rishabh Pant’s role as a batter extremely important. With Team India potentially planning to play Ashwin and Shardul at 7 and 8 respectively, Pant would need to bring more maturity in his approach. This would help Team India achieve more depth in the batting, thus better returns. 

Pacers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami & Ishant Sharma

Talking about pacers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami shall start as the leading pacers. But as is the case with Pujara and Ashwin, Ishant Sharma may also get preferred ahead of young and fiery Mohammed Siraj. To be honest, there’s nothing wrong in selecting either. But if Ishant is there in the squad, he deserves a go-ahead of Siraj for the 1st Test. 

So, that completes the best predicted playing 11 for Team India for the 2021 1st Test vs South Africa (SA). It would be a happy headache for Virat Kohli to choose the final playing 11. While the above seems the predicted 11, Virat Kohli may also go with 7 batters and 4 bowlers combination. 

India vs South Africa 2021: 1st Test Predicted Playing 11 for Team India

Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami & Jasprit Bumrah

Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for Team India for the 1st Test vs South Africa? Please email your thoughts to

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