“We understand conditions a lot better so you’d expect us to adapt a lot better but their bowling is quite strong,” he said in Centurion, where the first Test starts on Boxing Day. “The fact that they’ve been able to achieve such success is because of their bowling attack and that kind of nullifies the advantage we have. It’s more between the batters and how the batters take on that challenge.”
And it could make one of the most interesting storylines of the series, even if it does not seem so at first glance.
“There’s a lot of pride attached to that – that we’ve been able to keep that record intact as a South African team… all of us as players also feel that,” he said.
And for Bavuma himself, the last part of that sentence rings particularly true after a tough World Cup, where his form was under the microscope. He has not had any game time since South Africa’s semi-final loss to Australia more than a month ago so it’s difficult to say what kind of touch he is in.
In the time since, he has become a father, led South Africa at a World Cup, and will now take up his position as skipper and middle-order batter against India.
And from here on, it’s a full summer and a busy 2024, in which South Africa will play ten Tests and Bavuma will look to create history with the red-ball side.