India did not make a great start in either the T20I or the ODI series, and that led to them losing both to South Africa. There might have been other factors involved in those series losses, but the importance of winning the opening match of the series (or at the very least, not losing it) cannot be underplayed.
Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri would have asked for a wicket that plays to the strengths of this team, and if that does prove to be the case, there really is nothing stopping India from beating South Africa in this first Test match in Mohali.
"Three or four days out from the first day, it looks drier than a pitch normally looks," said an I-am-trying-not-to-look-too-concerned-but-I-am Faf Du Plessis. "That's all I can say.
"We are preparing for the worst. We are expecting big spin on day one."
India team director Ravi Shastri spent much of his press conference espousing the need to take full advantage of playing at home, and rightly too. If South Africa have a perceived weakness of playing spin, all four pitches in the Test matches should take turn, sooner rather than later, plain and simple.
"At home you should play to your strength and there is no need to hide behind that issue," Shastri said. "It has been happening over the years whenever teams have played in their own countries.
"It is something that you expect. Teams are doing that in all countries."
Indeed they are, and there