The Indian cricket team, which has won series in Australia and England, will take to the field with the intention of breaking the ‘impregnable fortress’ of South Africa in the first Test at Centurion’s SuperSport Park stadium from Saturday. The Indian team would like to win a Test series for the first time on the South Africa tour. However, South Africa’s recent home record has also not been better and they have lost five of their last eight home Tests. During this, they have lost two of the three home Test series. This record will propel Team India to win their first Test series in South Africa.

South Africa’s excellent record in Centurion

The first match will be played at Centurion, which is also considered the host team’s fortress. There have been 26 Test matches at this ground, of which South Africa have lost only two, while they have won 21. One of these two matches is the one when England and South Africa played one inning each after a lot of time wasted due to bad weather. India played two Test matches here in 2010 and 2018 and lost both of them.

Kohli, Rahane, and Pujara’s form a matter of concern

India’s openers showed some consistency on overseas tours last year as well but the experienced middle-order of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Cheteshwar Pujara struggled with runs short of runs. All three have toured South Africa twice and all three have a very good record. Kohli and Rahane have averaged 50 more here, while Pujara has also played some important innings. However, in the last two years, the performance of these three batsmen has declined and the average has come down to less than 30. This year only Shreyas Iyer has been the only Indian batsman to have scored a century from number three to number five.

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Kohli awaits century in Tests for two years

Pujara does not have a century in his name in the last 42 innings. At the same time, captain Kohli has not scored a century since November 2019. On the other hand, Rahane has only three 50+ scores in 16 Tests. After playing 29 Tests till 2016, Rahane’s average went up to 51.37 over 50 for the first and only time. Since then he has played more than 50 Tests and his average has come down to 32.73. After a match-winning century in Melbourne last year, he has scored just two half-centuries in 22 innings. Playing 50 Tests in a row in the top six, only Ravi Shastri (32.38) averaged less than this.

Challenging to choose between Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, and Shreyas Iyer

The biggest concern for India in the middle order, in which they have to choose between Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, and Iyer. Although Rahane is being supported by everyone in the team, considering the silence shown by his bat against New Zealand in the home series, he finds it difficult to pick him but it seems difficult to say anything till the last minute.