NEW DELHI (AFP) - Virat Kohli bruised from being fired as India’s one-day captain bids to rebound by leading his country to an historic triumph in South Africa in a three-match Test series which starts at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday.
South Africa is the only regular Test-playing nation where India have yet to win a series.
“We have worked really hard to win series away from India,” said vice-captain KL Rahul at India’s pre-match press conference on Friday.
“We’ve won series in England and Australia, which gives us a lot of confidence. We haven’t won a series in South Africa, which gives us extra motivation to do our best.”
South African captain Dean Elgar said he thought the teams were evenly matched.
“India are number one in the world for a reason but the fact that we are playing in our own back yard gives as an advantage.”
Despite losing to New Zealand in last year’s world Test championship final, India are the top-ranked Test team, five places ahead of South Africa, who have lost several key players to retirement in recent years.
Kohli leads an experienced side.
Crucially, it has the fast-bowling fire power to match South Africa’s in conditions which usually favour pace.
No fewer than ten of India’s 18-man squad have toured South Africa before.
Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha are on their fourth tour of the country.