1st Test: India bat, South Africa include three spinners
Rohit Sharma will be opening for the first time in Tests. (AFP Image)

India have opted to bat first against South Africa in the first Test, a decision which captain Virat Kohli called a “no-brainer” after he won the toss in Visakhapatnam.

“It’s a no-brainer, we’re going to bat. Looks a good wicket, I think it will play well for the first couple of days,” Kohli said. “Nature of the pitch is that it’ll get slower after that. Great opportunity for Rohit at the top of the order. He’s excited to get the role clarity. It’s a new opportunity for him. According to me, Saha is the best keeper in the world. We were waiting for the right moment to bring him back. They had more experienced players back then. It’s going to be a hard grind for sure.”

South Africa have now lost the coin toss in their last five Tests in India and captain Faf du Plessis confirmed the inclusions of Keshav Maharaj, Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt as the three spinners.

“Our coin toss record in the subcontinent isn’t the best. First innings is going to be very important,” du Plessis said. “We’ve lost a few Test players, even in the last year or so. Fresh start for a lot of new faces. Very young group. Nice challenge for us. These guys will be the next Dale Steyns and the next Hashim Amlas. Good to be at the start of the journey for them, have to try and play a mentorship role to get them through. The dryness of the surface, we’ve gone in with two seamers, one allrounder, and three spinners.”

India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

South Africa (Playing XI): Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada