South Africa v India
Friday 5 January 08:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports
South Africa have named a full-strength squad. That means Faf Du Plessis and Dale Steyn are included after an illness and lay-off respectively.
Steyn is something of a gamble these days, though, and it is unlikely he will be risked so soon after overcoming injury. Instead South Africa may pick Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander as their pacers. Keshav Maharaj could get the nod as the frontline spinner.
With the bat the returning AB De Villiers means Temba Bavuma is likely to miss out. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, who has started his Test career well, are the openers with Hashim Amla at No 3. Quinton de Kock keeps wicket. Such a strong batting line-up means they can pick from Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukawayo for the final spot.
South Africa disappointed against England last summer and since then they haven't been tested with weak opposition at home in the form of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They don't lost Tests at home often, though - just four from the last 24 (five years).
India arrive with a reputation as a team which has banished its travel sickness. Previously hopeless on the road they have won in West Indies and Sri Lanka (twice) in the last three years. Forgive us if we need some more convincing.
Oddly, they have chosen not to play a warm-up match. Over-confidence? Possibly. They haven't lost a Test since August 2015.
We like their batting. Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, Chet Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are terrific. It's so good Rohit Sharma is not a certain starter. So the pressure is on the bowlers to see if they can cause the hosts problems.
Three from Ishant Sharma, Bhuv Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami will be tasked with getting bend. Jasprit Bumrah is on the trip but this is surely a game too soon for an ODI bowler.
They would hope to pair Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja but Jadeja has come down with a bug and is a major doubt. If he misses out Hardik Pandya will probably play.
There have been 16 Tests played at Newlands in the last 12 years. The first-innings scores (most recent on the right) read: 205-593-414-157-243-209-291-362-284-580-45-338-494-329-629-392That is an average of 347. The 45 you see was by New Zealand in 2013 and is a freak. The pitch was an absolute road for a draw when England visited in 2016.
South Africa are 1.814/5, India are 5.24/1 and the draw is 3.8514/5. It is the stalemate price which interests us because of the drought in Cape Town and Philander's assertion that the wicket is very flat. Given he's a local he should know.
So two strong batting line-ups could combine to produce something of a run fest that South Africa and England played out two years ago. Certainly there could be some movement in the price for a trade.
India are going to have to stand up and be counted if the ball does zip about but it just doesn't seem as if it's going to be that pacer friendly with only a smattering of grass.
South Africa have lost only four times there since 1993 (all to powerful Australia sides) while teams from Asia are routinely hammered. The hosts have never lost to India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka there. India have managed two draws and two losses.
We are a bit torn about the draw price and South Africa in truth. The lack of preparation time for India really bothers us. But so do the pitch reports. The latter is more intangible than the former, though.
India have a poor record on the road and despite their recent excellent form - and a strong belief they can do more than compete here - it is a great shame they've not put more work in.
Top South Africa runscorer
There are some good numbers to choose from here. Amla averages 47 at Newlands, AB 46, Du Plessis 41 and Elgar 45. Amla and AB are both 4.03/1 with Du Plessis 5.85/1 and Elgar [4.8}. Markram is 5.39/2.
Top India runscorer
Kohli has the most runs away from home in the last three years but it is Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan who have the best averages at 73 and 75 respectively. Kohli is 3.55/2, Pujara 3.9 and Dhawan, not certain to play, 5.39/2.