South Africa vs India - First Test Preview

India wary of South Africa’s strength in Cape Town

When South Africa and India take to the field for the First Test at Newlands on Friday, they will do so as numbers two and one respectively, in the ICC Test rankings. But a more important form guide might come from the hosts’ recent record at the Cape Town venue, where they have been beaten only once in 15 matches, stretching back to 2006. The Stats Zone discovers the reasons why.

Big first innings totals

Knuckling down to sizeable scores in the first innings has been the key to recent home success. Only once in the last seven Tests on the ground have they failed to register 300 and that was the Test that they lost, at home to Australia having posted 287. Over the same period of time, they have averaged 425 first time around with the bat including nine centurions, and declarations against Sri Lanka (580/4) and England (627/7). Bearing that in mind, the touring bowling attack will be hoping that Virat Kohli wins the toss…

BUT the toss is less important at Newlands

South Africa’s dominance on the ground comes despite an awful record when it comes to the flip of the coin. They have won only one of the last seven tosses in Cape Town, where four captains have decided to bat and three to field. The only clear trend in this data comes from Sri Lanka, who have twice inserted the hosts in that period and twice watched on in horror as South Africa piled on the runs as the foundation for big victories.

Strong seam showings

It isn’t a surprise that with such seam-heavy attacks in South Africa, that their steady performances have contributed to such a winning record. Sri Lanka were rolled out twice last year as Kagiso Rabada stormed to the Man of the Match award with a ten-wicket match haul. Before that, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander had proved a handful, accounting for Pakistan in 2014 and teaming up with Morne Morkel the previous year to skittle New Zealand for just 45 inside 20 overs.