sport

South Africa v India preview

South Africa are looking to exploit India's inexperienced top six in the first Test at the Wanderers, which starts on Wednesday.

India's likely top six in Johannesburg have a total of 59 Test caps and only Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay have previous experience in South Africa, who are the top-ranked Test side in the world.

The tourists will be facing up to the best seam attack in world cricket; Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

"Obviously they're hugely talented but it's a very different line-up to the one I've become accustomed to playing against," Proteas skipper Graeme Smith said of India's batsmen.

"Touring in other parts of the world is a big test of character and that's going to be on show in these two Test matches."

Smith thinks the pitch will be at its most difficult early on.

"Both first innings are probably going to be tough," he said. "There's a bit of moisture in that wicket and some good cracks. I expect it to be a normal Wanderers wicket of recent times, hopefully with good pace and bounce."

India have yet to win a game on tour; they lost the one-day international series 2-0 and then saw both days of their warm-up fixture against a South African Invitational XI in Benoni washed out.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not concerned by his batsmen's unfamiliarity with the local conditions.

He said: "Not getting too technical is very important. You can't change your technique in five or seven days. What is important is to know your limitations and at the same time back your strengths. It's not an experiment.

"They've done really well on the domestic circuit in whatever international exposure they have had they have done well."

South Africa have named their starting XI with Hashim Amla returning in place of Dean Elgar in the only change to the XI that beat Pakistan by an innings in Dubai in October. Amla missed that match to attend the birth of his second child.

India will wait to assess conditions on the morning of the match before finalishing their selection, although Dhoni indicated veteran left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan - who has dismissed Smith 12 times in international cricket - will make his first international appearance in more than a year.

South Africa: Smith (capt), Petersen, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers (wkt), Duminy, Du Plessis, Philander, Steyn, Morkel, Tahir.

India squad: Dhoni (capt, wkt), Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rahane, Ashwin, Kumar, Yadav, Shami, Jadeja, Khan, Rayudu, Saha (wkt), Ishant Sharma, Ojha.