Clash of Titans: South Africa vs India – ICC World Test Championship 2023-2025, 2nd Test Match Preview

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India seeks redemption after humbling defeat in South Africa

The much-anticipated South Africa Test tour turned into a disappointment for India after they suffered a demoralizing defeat in the first Test match in Centurion. Rain interruptions and the absence of South Africa’s captain, Temba Bavuma, was not enough to save India from a heavy defeat in the Boxing Day Test, which they lost inside three days. To add insult to injury, India were penalized for a slow over rate, further dampening their spirits. Heading into the second Test at Newlands, India is facing a daunting challenge, having never won a Test in six attempts at the venue.

India’s woes in the first Test were primarily due to a batting collapse in the second innings, but their bowling also came under scrutiny. The change bowlers, Shardul Thakur and debutant Prasidh Krishna, were unable to control the flow of runs, conceding 194 runs in 39 overs while taking just two wickets. This has prompted discussions about potential changes in the bowling lineup for India in the second Test, with questions surrounding the inclusion of Mukesh Kumar or Avesh Khan for Prasidh, or considering dropping Thakur for a pace bowler. India’s management faces tough decisions as they seek to salvage the series.

South Africa, on the other hand, is riding high on their victory and will be looking to further assert their dominance in the absence of Bavuma, who will be replaced by local player Zubayr Hamza. Fast bowler Gerald Coetzee’s injury opens up possibilities for Lungi Ngidi or left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj to join the team. Despite the changes, South Africa remains focused on a series win and giving captain Dean Elgar a fitting send-off in his final Test match.

South Africa WWWDL (last five Tests, most recent first)

Key players to watch: Dean Elgar and Shreyas Iyer

The spotlight will be on South African captain Dean Elgar, who is set to play his final Test match. Elgar has a strong record at home and will be eager to leave a lasting impact in his farewell match. On the Indian side, Shreyas Iyer’s performance will be closely scrutinized, especially after his struggles against the South African bowling attack in the first Test.

Team news: India to make changes, while South Africa deals with injuries

As India aims to bounce back, they are set to welcome back Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the first Test due to injury. However, decisions regarding the bowling lineup are pending, with Prasidh and Thakur under scrutiny. Local player Zubayr Hamza is expected to replace the injured Bavuma in the South African lineup, while they also face decisions on their bowling combination due to Coetzee’s absence.

South Africa (probable): 1 Dean Elgar (capt), 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Tony de Zorzi, 4 Keegan Petersen, 5 Zubayr Hamza, 6 David Bedingham, 7 Kyle Verreynne (wk), 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Keshav Maharaj/Lungi Ngidi, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Nandre Burger
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Shubman Gill, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 KL Rahul (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Prasidh Krishna/Mukesh Kumar

Pitch and conditions: Tough conditions await the teams in Cape Town

Cape Town’s Newlands will present a challenging pitch, especially for the batsmen, as they face the potential threat of seam movement and challenging weather conditions. The pitch, prepared by a new groundsman, is expected to favor the bowlers, with spinners also having a role to play as the match progresses.

Stats and trivia: Rabada excels at Newlands


“Drawing the series is not something we are thinking about at all. It’s a big occasion for all of us. We are in a fortunate position knowing that we can’t lose the series but drawing is maybe as big as a loss for us.”
South Africa captain Dean Elgar

“We all get nervous playing the first game. It’s understandable but he has good ability to succeed at this level, especially in this format. It’s just about showing faith and trust and getting the job done from there.”
India captain Rohit Sharma on Prasidh Krishna

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