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India vs South Africa 2021-22: Virat Kohli and co eye historic first-ever Test series win in SA

India and South Africa clash in a three-Test series for the Freedom Trophy from Boxing Day. India will be looking to win its first-ever Test series in SA. Here's what we can expect.

India vs South Africa, INA vs SA 2021-22 series preview: Virat Kohli and co eye historic first-ever Test series in SA?-ayh
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Centurion, First Published Dec 24, 2021, 5:00 AM IST
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It would be a mouth-watering three-Test series. India and South Africa take on each other for the 2021-22 Freedom Trophy. The opening Test will be played at the SuperSport Park in Centurion from Boxing Day (December 26). The series would be of utmost importance for India, as it looks to win its first-ever Test series in the country. In the same light, we present the series preview.

Team composition
India has gone ahead with 11 batters and nine bowlers. Naturally, the batting department will have a lot to do in terms of putting runs on the board to make the task easier for the bowlers. The likes of skipper Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will have a lot to do with the bat. On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will have to nail it with their bowling.

As for South Africa, it has a heavy batting compared to that of his bowling. Therefore, it seems like both sides are moving in with the same ideology and plan. Led by Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, and Quinton de Kock will have a lot to do with the bat. As for its bowling, it would heavily rely on Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj and Lungi Ngidi.

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Strengths and weaknesses
Considering India's strength, it would undoubtedly be its batting. Also, it will have the grave task of surviving the fierce pace attack of the Proteas. However, India's bowling attack is not to be taken lightly either, as the possession of world-class pacers, along with the veteran Aswhin's quirky spin, could become a headache for the host.

On the other hand, SA is tide strong in its batting. However, it can be considered equally strong in its bowling too. Although it lacks enough star power in its side, the players are talented enough to give the Indians a hard time. Thus, an even contest can be expected from the Proteas in every department.

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Players to watch
Rahul:
He has been in flawless form in the limited-overs circuit. He is being backed to carry the same condition in the Tests too. Although Test cricket is a different ball game, it will hardly make a difference considering his severe form. However, he would be watchful since he hasn't played in the longest format for quite some time.

Bumrah: The Indian pacer happens to be India's number one. Moreover, with the South African track assisting the pacers heavily, he would relish to bowl on these surfaces. Also, he is coming off fresh in the series, having rested after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 and did not take part in the home Tests against New Zealand.

De Kock: He has been the man in form for Proteas, especially in the shortest format. However, given his form, he should not find it difficult to perform in the same manner in the longest format, and that too at home. Furthermore, having played in the Indian Premier League (IPL), he is well aware of the Indian bowlers' abilities.

Rabada: He happens to be the host's top pacer. With the African tracks best suited for pacers, he will undoubtedly make things challenging for the Indians. Moreover, he, too, is a regular player in the IPL. Thus, he happens to be well aware of the weaknesses of the Indian batters, and the visitors must watch out for him.

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Squads
IND:
Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul (vc), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj.
SA: Dean Elgar (c), Temba Bavuma (vc), Quinton de Kock (wk), Kagiso Rabada, Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Sisanda Magala, Ryan Rickelton and Duanne Olivier.

India's vs South Africa 2021-22 Test schedule
1st Test: December 26-30 - Centurion
2nd Test: January 3-7 - Johannesburg
3rd Test: January 11-15 - Cape Town

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