PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat in the second test against India in Pretoria on Saturday.
South Africa won the first match of the three-test series at Newlands by 72 runs, having also elected to bat first, and Du Plessis is expecting the wicket to deteriorate on days four and five.
“With the history of this ground, it is a little slow on day one and then speeds. Later in the test match, there are cracks,” Du Plessis said at the toss. “The stats are very in favour of batting first.”
South Africa have handed a first test cap to tall fast bowler Lungi Ngidi in the place of the injured Dale Steyn.
“He is a promising youngster, so with some pace and bounce we are looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Du Plessis said.
India captain Virat Kohli says batting first was a “no brainer” and was disappointed to have lost his second toss of the series.
“We would have batted on this pitch too, it looks really dry and completely different from what we thought it would be two days back. We thought it would be similar to Cape Town, but a lot of the grass is off,” Kohli said.
India have included opener Lokesh Rahul, wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel and seamer Ishant Sharma in the place of Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar respectively.
Saha has a hamstring problem and has not been risked.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi.
India: Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel(wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien