India vs South Africa: The real 'test' for India starts at Newlands

India's right-handed batsman and captain Virat Kohli runs during a training session at the Newlands Cricket ground. Photograph:( AFP )

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Jan 04, 2018, 11.55 AM (IST)

Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team is on the top spot in the ICC Test ranking after whitewashing Sri Lanka at home but now they have to prove themselves against South Africa in the upcoming Freedom Series Trophy. It is believed that the conditions are likely to assist bounce and pace.

Indian captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that his Indian team have the ability to gain a first series win in South Africa.

"We have the right kind of bowling attack and the right kind of balance to win Test matches in any conditions we play in," he said at the Indian team's arrival press conference.

Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis unveil Freedom Series Trophy in Cape Town. The first of the three Test matches start at Newlands in Cape Town on January 5th.

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"A lot of our players have played here before. But it's about the number of games we had played then and the number we have played now," said Kohli. "We all understand our own games so much better. As a team, we have confidence in our personal skills set."

Kohli said team spirit was the outstanding feature of the touring party. "There's a sense of intelligence and awareness and that provides the excitement. We know exactly what we need to do come game time. We know how to win Test matches."

Kohli said India had made the right decision to cancel a scheduled two-day warm-up match, opting instead for intensive middle-wicket practice at a local club.

Kohli said his players expected to be challenged by South Africa's fast bowlers on pitches with pace and bounce but they were confident in their own ability.

"Come the fifth of January we will be ready for it," he said.

Coach Ravi Shastri said, "This team is up for the challenge. If you had asked me four years ago I would have said no. But this team has gained experience. The beauty of this team is that it doesn't matter which opposition. We look at the pitch and adapt to the conditions. Every game is a home game. It's as simple as that."

"This will be a contest. I can sense our players want this Test match to start as soon as possible", he added.

Line up

India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Chris Morris, Vernon Philander, Theunis de Bruyn