South Africa win toss and decide to bowl at start of first test

PRETORIA :South Africa won the toss and put visitors India into bat at the start of the first test on Tuesday after a wait of 30 minutes because of a wet outfield at Centurion near Pretoria.

“There is a bit of moisture in and around the wicket and we’d like to make good use of it,” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said at the toss

India skipper Rohit Sharma said he was not sure whether he would have played or bowled if he had won the toss. “At times like this, it is better to lose the toss,” he joked.

Virat Kohli was included in the India line-up after a brief trip home for personal reasons and Prasidh Krishna given his test debut, among four seamers and a spinner in their attack.

Ravichandran Ashwin was picked instead of Ravindra Jadeja, suffering with a back spasm

KL Rahul will wear the wicketkeeper gloves despite having started only one first class match in the role in the past.

South Africa dropped spinner Keshav Maharaj but gave test debuts to David Bedingham as an extra batting option and Nandre Burger among the bowlers.

Play was set to start at 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) but delayed by several wet patches around the field after heavy rain over the last days. The day’s forecast is for a sunny start to the day but with rain predicted later.

India go in search of history when they face hosts in a two tests series, hoping to claim a first ever series victory in a place where they have come close before, but fallen agonisingly short of the winning line.

South Africa have been victors in seven of India’s eight visits since the first in 1992 with one series drawn in 2010/11, but six of those victories have been by a single win margin.

South Africa have won 22 of their 28 previous games at Centurion, drawing three and losing three.

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Temba Bavuma (capt.), Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Nandre Burger.

India: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.

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