Virat Kohli’s team will back itself to become the first from India to win a Test series on South African soil, coming as it does off a superb last two years and with players in form and high on confidence, but history tells us that the challenge is mighty.
India are ranked No 1 in the ICC Test Championship after a heavy home season, and the tour of Sri Lanka this year, but have never won a series in South Africa. From the one tour they managed to draw a series, only Ishant Sharma remains (and he is India’s most capped player of this squad, too).
Kohli, in two Tests in South Africa, has 272 runs with scores of 119 and 96 in one drawn Test. Rahane averages 69.66 in as many games, with two fifties and a 47. Pujara averages 44.42 in four, with top scores of 153 and 70. Vijay’s average is 29.33 from three Tests, with one fifty. Both he and Rahane came to within a shot of scoring centuries during the last tour, out for 97 and 96 respectively. Dhawan averages 19 in two Tests, with a best of 29; 11.25 in two, with a best of 25.
As TOI highlighted this week, the success of past Indian pace attacks in South Africa has, collectively, not been flattering bar a couple of stand-out exploits, which literally have resulted in the two wins in South Africa in 2006-07 and 2010-11. In front of the South African pace attack’s collective figures, India’s pales.
Kohli’s record in Tests against South Africa is a bit middling, compared to those against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, and considering the incredibly high standards he sets.