With limited-overs leg of their tour of South Africa done and dusted, Team India’s focus next shifts towards a two-match Test series against the Proteas, starting with the Boxing Day Test in Centurion from Tuesday. Several senior players like skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will make their competitive return, having last played in the ODI World Cup final against Australia in Ahmedabad on 19 November.
In the 31 years of touring South Africa, India have never won a Test series in the country and with veterans Rohit and Kohli possibly entering their final phase of their cricket playing career, the visitors would be keen to put up a spirted performance.
The first Test will take place at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Some enticing player battles could be on the cards with both teams featuring some star-studded lineups. However, the weather for the first Test does not look promising.
What’s the weather forecast for the South Africa-India Boxing Day Test?
The weather in Centurion as far as the first Test is concerned does not look good for cricket fans. According to AccuWeather, Tuesday’s forecast is going to be occasionally cloudy with occasional rain and thunderstorm with 92 per cent precipitation. On 27 December, a couple of showers have been predicted for earlier in the day with 90 percent probability of rain.
Thursday, though, could witness a little bit better weather forecast with periods of cloud and sun, and just two per cent precipitation. There is no rain forecast for Day four either, whereas a couple of showers and a thunderstorm have been predicted for Day 5 on Saturday.
If the weather forecast is to go by, the probability of play happening in the first two days looks grim, and should no play happen during this time period, it remains to be seen if this match would produce a result.
“Temperature will be super low, like 20 degrees. The temperature is now 34 and it will drop to 20. I don’t know what conditions will be like, whether we will get play on Day 1,” pitch curator Brian Bloy was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I can’t guarantee the forecast but if it remains under cover for the better part of the two days then that might be tricky to bat first, because it has been covered for so long and hasn’t been rolled for so long, we don’t know how long we will have to get the field ready for play in current situation.”
“So if it’s a Day-3, 10 am start, it doesn’t give us much time, because it’s in the morning and you start playing at 10 and really three hours of cool weather and early morning will be tricky. If its covered for two days, I would presume bowlers would benefit from it.” he had added.
The first Test in Centurion will be followed by the second and final Test in Newlands, Cape Town starting from 3 January. The Indian squad features youngsters like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill. Ruturaj Gaikwad, however, will miss the Test series after sustaining a finger injury while fielding in the second ODI against South Africa on 19 December.