Jasprit Bumrah will make his Test debut at Newlands today as the Indian team handed the Gujarat pacer a debut on the foothills of the imposing Table Mountain. Bumrah’s inclusion can be seen as radical choice mainly because he has not played first-class cricket in nearly a year.
Bumrah's ability to swing the ball into the right-handers, his searing pace and crushing, accurate yorkers and his bowling smarts have pushed him ahead in the selection queue. Virat Kohli, at the toss, even went as far as to say that the death over specialist had been the most impressive pacer since the team had landed in South Africa. In limited-overs cricket, he was brilliant in 2017 picking up 35 wickets to become the fourth highest wicket-taker in the world. However, his inclusion over Umesh Yadav can be seen as a surprise as the pacer hasn’t played a single red-ball match in 2017 and his last representation was in 2016 for Gujarat was against Jharkhand in 2016-17 Ranji Trophy semi-final in Nagpur.
An out of form Ajinkya Rahane, despite his good showing in the last Test series in the Rainbow nation, has failed to make a cut to the playing XI and his fellow Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma has been picked in the team. Apart from Bumrah, Virat Kohli has picked Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ishant Sharma as the other three specialist bowlers and stockpiled the bowling line-up with an all-rounder in the form of Hardik Pandya.
South Africa has also sprung in a surprise by including Dale Steyn in the line-up that has the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Kagiso Rabada. Keshav Maharaj has been picked as the lone spinner in the team while the hosts have gone with just six batsmen. Faf du Plessis has also been recalled to lead the side after failing to recover from a back and shoulder injury for the inaugural four-day day-night Test against Zimbabwe and as a result of it, local boy Temba Bavuma has missed out of a place in the Playing XI. This Test will also be the first proper Test for AB de Villiers, who took a long sabbatical from Test cricket in January 2016 and returned to don the whites against Zimbabwe.
India’s playing XI :Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.
South Africa's playing XI : Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada.