After winning the only T20 international against South Africa quite comfortably by 21 runs, India start their 2011 campaign on high and look forward to start the ODI series on winning note.
With some of the first choice players (Sehwag & Gambhir) already missing from the Indian squad, India will once again rely on Sachin Tendulkar to give India a flying start from the little master who is making return to the squad after almost 1 year gap.
Some of the Indian Players will have only three opportunities left for them to sign and get selected in the world cup squad. India will play three ODI before selectors sits and pick 15 members squad for the ICC mega event World Cup 2011 on 19th February.
Late Injury to Praveen Kumar, gage a golden opportunity to Ishant Sharma to get back into form and impress the selectors. Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma also needs to perform better to seal their berth for the World Cup. For the off-colour Yuvraj Singh, it is the final chance to convince the selectors that he is the same destructive force which won India many a matches before the stunning slump form.
In the bowling department also there will be fight for the third seamer between Ashish Nehra, S.Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma. Zaheer Khan who was rested in twenty20 game on Sunday is likely to return to the squad for the first ODI.
On the other hand South Africa will be also hoping for some of their young talented players to perform better against India to start the ODI series on brighter note after twenty20 loss.
All in all this series will provide great opportunity for both teams players to prove their metal at highest level.
Watch out for
G.Smith: Graeme Smith who missed the twenty20 international because of hand injury will be raring to go but before that he has to shot out the problem in facing Zaheer Khan. It will be interesting to see how he tackles the Indian prime bowler up-front.
Yuvraj Singh: So far his performance with the bat is below his standard in last few series and it will be his last opportunity to get back into the groove before the World Cup.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at Kingsmead, Durban is likely to assist fast bowlers. Toss will play an important role since ball tends to move quite a lot in the evening. Team winning the toss would love to bat first and put 260 plus runs on the board.
Rohit Sharma who hit superb half-century in the twenty20 game might get chance in place of M.Vijay that means Virat Kohli has to open the batting with Sachin Tendulkar. In bowling department also Munaf Patel is likely to take place of S.Sreesanth because of injury.
South Africa will be boosted by the return of the skipper G.Smith, however they have to play without the service of their start player J.Kallis because of injury.
Likely Playing XI for both teams (Match is schedule to begin at 18:00 PM India Time)
India: S.Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, M.S.Dhoni (Captain & WK), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel.
South Africa: G.Smith (Captain), Hashim Amla, Collin Ingram, AB Devilliers (WK), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Johan Botha, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn.