Ind vs SA, Ind vs SA live cricket score, Ind vs SA live score, Ind vs SA 1st Test Mohali

Having lost the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) and the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against a rampant South Africa, the Virat Kohli-led Team India will look for redemption in the four-match Test series, starting on Thursday at the PCA Stadium at Mohali. This will be the first full home Test series for Kohli as captain — who turns 27 on November 5 — and there will be a lot of stake for India as their opponents look completely determined to make it three in three, having won the first two legs of their tour of India. The other three matches of the Gandhi-Mandela Series 2015 will be played at Bengaluru, Nagpur and Delhi respectively. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs South Africa 2015, 1st Test at Mohali

India will climb up to the second position in the ICC Test Rankings if they register a 4-0 clean sweep over South Africa, but the probability of this happening is very less. Unlike the other touring teams to India, the South Africans have not only acclimatised very well but they have not lost their intensity, which can be gauged by the way they played in the T20Is and the ODIs, as well as in the two-day warm-up match against Indian Board President’s XI at Mumbai. ALSO READ: IND vs SA 2015 — Four members of visitors’ squad to watch out for in upcoming Tests

AB de Villiers will be a relieved man as he would be passing on the baton of leadership to Hashim Amla, which will enable him to focus only on his game and winning matches for South Africa. De Villiers has been notching up big scores in almost every outing; he even slammed a splendid century in the tour match in Mumbai. On the other hand, the form of Amla will be a bit of a concern as the right-handed batting mainstay is yet to make a mark on this tour.

The only relief, which India will have is that there is no Quinton de Kock in the Test series. The left-hander proved to be a thorn in India’s flesh in the limited-overs leg, as de Kock plundered runs, which gave other batsmen in his line-up a solid platform on several occasions. India would look to exploit the inexperience of the South African openers, but the main worry would be the form of de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl have a massive challenge in front of them. ALSO READ: Hashim Amla needs to let his bat talk during upcoming India vs South Africa Test series

It will be interesting to see if South Africa decide to play four bowlers (Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Tahir/Harmer) to accommodate Elgar and van Zyl. The middle and lower-order will certainly be packed, with JP Duminy playing the role of the fifth bowler. Duminy had a good outing with the ball in the limited-overs series, but there are questions over his fitness.

Apart from an inexperienced opening combination, another concern for South Africa would be their spinners. Simon Harmer may have declared that the Proteas spinners are ready for the Indian challenge, but they are not expected to create the impact which the troika of Indian spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja can produce. Imran Tahir and Dane Piedt are the other two spinners, but it will be a shock if South Africa play more than two spinners. South Africa will heavily rely on their pacers. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander can be destructive on all sorts of wickets and India will have to bat responsibly against them. South Africa are spoilt for choices with Kagiso Rabada being in excellent form, but it is likely that the tourists won’t tinker with the trio of Steyn, Morkel and Philander.

For India, it will all depend on how they go on about their jobs. The team looks settled on paper, with their batting slots more or less fixed and the possibility of having a three-pronged spin attack. Jadeja has been in terrific form, in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2015-16 he has claimed as many as 38 wickets in three matches for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16, and would try to leave no stone unturned to cement his place in the Test side. Gauging India’s need at the moment to have an additional spinner, it is likely that Stuart Binny will continue to be confined at the bench. ALSO READ — Ravindra Jadeja vs Stuart Binny: Which all-rounder should India pick for 1st Test against South Africa?

The Indian team will have to stick to their gameplans and not fret too much over the South Africans, who have worked really hard so far on this tour to get desired results. India will be without the services of Ishant Sharma, who is serving a one-Test ban imposed by the ICC and their pace combination could be a weak spot. Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron are likely to share the new ball if Kohli decides to play five bowlers, and their performances may play a crucial role in the first Test at least.

India’s batting line-up is more or less settled, but it is not about who bats at which position. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli are likely to form the Indian middle-order, followed by Wriddhiman Saha, Ashwin and the rest. India will have to bat responsibly, as any slip up against the might of South Africa could prove costly. In the race between Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara, it is likely that the former will get the nod given Pujara’s inconsistencies.

The match will be played at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali, a venue that is famous for assisting fast bowlers. But after all the debate of having tracks that suit the host team and the drama that transpired in Mumbai in the final ODI, it is likely that Kohli will get the pitch he wants.

This will be the first time India will be playing Test cricket at home since Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from the international arena. There is no MS Dhoni as well, which shows that the team has gone through a lot of changes and development over the last couple of years, and the fans would hope that the young brigade under Kohli makes a winning start.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KL Rahul, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.

South Africa: Hashim Amla (c), AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas (wk).

Time: 09:30 local | 04:00 GMT

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)