The first test of the Freedom Series between India and South Africa will start on Thursday, 5 November, at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. The two teams have been gearing up for the much-anticipated Test series. Now, it is time for both the captains -- Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla -- to decide on their respective playing XI.
Kohli is likely to go with three spinners in the first Test against South Africa in Mohali. Ravichandran Ashwin has been practising in the nets and he was seen bowling for quite some time on Tuesday. Interim coach of Team India Ravi Shastri has opined that Ravichandran Ashwin is 'absolutely fine' and raring to go against the Proteas.
"Ashwin is bowling magnificently. He is absolutely fine. We have got two other spinners, who might just surprise if they focus too much on Ashwin," Shastri told the reporters on Tuesday.
This will give a major boost to this young Indian side who have lost both the T20 and the ODI series against South Africa. Ashwin has proven to be a lethal weapon when he is playing in the sub-continental conditions and tricky pitches. He will be ably assisted by Amit Mishra, who has also been bowling well ever since he marked his return during the Sri Lanka tour, where he bagged 15 wickets in three Test matches.
Ravindra Jadeja is likely to add to that spinning option for skipper Kohli. With the kind of form the Saurashtra lad is in, he is probably going to mark his return in the longest format of the game. Jadeja has picked up 37 wickets in three matches for Saurashtra in this ongoing Ranji season. Recently, he scored a gritty half century as well that powered his side to yet another win few days ago.
The Mohali wicket has a tinge of grass on it that will assist the seamers initially. But the cherry is expected to turn right from Day 1 of the first Test. With three spinning options up his sleeves, Kohli already might be smelling victory. However, it is too early to say that as Kohli & co. must not forget that South Africa are the no. 1 Test team in the world and they have not lost a Test series in the overseas since 2001.