Best pace attack in 30 years makes India favourites in first two Tests against South Africa: Ali Bacher

South Africa remains one of the very few places where India have not won a Test series, and the Virat Kohli-led side is determined to end the wait this time around.

“The first two Tests are to be played in Centurion, which is nearly 5000 feet above sea level and the Wanderers, Johannesburg which is nearly 6000 feet above sea level. “The rarefied atmosphere at these two Test grounds plus the fast bouncy pitches at the Wanderers and SuperSport Park generally favour fast bowlers.

“The current Indian team has the best pace attack I have seen in the past thirty years. Therefore, India will start as favourites for the first two Test matches,” Bacher told News 18.

Besides being a former cricketer, the 79-year-old Bacher also played a key role in the country’s successful conduct of the 2003 ICC World Cup. The Indian pace attack comprises Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.

Heading into the first Test, India will be full of confidence having won a second consecutive Test series in Australia earlier this year and taken an unassailable 2-1 lead in England before the fifth and final Test had to be postponed to 2022 because of a coronavirus outbreak. The last time India had toured South Africa, in 2018, the Proteas had won the three-match Test series 2-1.

Team India under captain Virat Kohli will be attempting to record their first-ever Test series win in South Africa this time, and it promises a thrilling spectacle.

But the Boxing Day Test will be special for individual reasons too as some players will be looking to create a few milestones at Centurion.

Milestones players eye in the match:

Kohli (98) needs two more catches to complete 100 catches in Test cricket.

India vice-captain KL Rahul (49) needs one more catch to reach 50 catches in Test cricket.

India senior pacer Mohammed Shami (195) needs five more wickets to complete 200 Test wickets.

Senior off-spinner R Ashwin (427) needs eight more wickets to go past legendary Kapil Dev (434) to become the second-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket.

South Africa’s middle-order batsman Aiden Markram (395) requires five fours to complete 400 fours across all three formats.

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