Having gained a significant 1-0 lead in the three-match series hosts India will be confident of putting it across South Africa when the teams meet for the second Test beginning October 10. Except for a couple of sessions where the Proteas put up a fight, it was all India at Visakhapatnam.
Heading into the Pune Test, what India can do is to not relax and improve further on their 203-run victory. There were unending positives for India from the 1st Test. For starters, the decision to open with Rohit Sharma proved to be a smash hit as he scored hundreds in both innings and broke the record for most sixes in a Test by an Indian. With Rohit's success, the opening slot for the home season seems sorted.
Rohit's opening partner, Mayank Agarwal, also took a few steps forward in his journey as a Test cricketer. After failing to convert his first three fifties into big scores, Agarwal went on to hit 215 in his very first Test at home. It was an innings that proved Agarwal is hungry to make up for lost time. Things seem rosy for now at the top. How the Rohit-Agarwal pair performs away from home remains to be seen.
India's bowling in the first Test was also highly impressive despite the absence of their strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has led the attack admirably for the last year. The spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja made the best use of the surface and troubled most South African batsmen en route to their record-breaking performances.
India was impressive in the pace department as well, particularly Mohammed Shami in the second innings, who ran through the opposition at a time when Ashwin was unable to get the breakthroughs. Shami's skills with the old ball have not only added a new dimension to his game but have also made India a stronger bowling attack all-round.
South Africa has not had much to cheer but for Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock's hundred in the first innings at Pune. Skipper Faf du Plessis got some runs but as a leader, a lot more would be expected of him. The likes of Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, and Temba Bavuma would be expected to do much better than they did in the first Test.
The visitors would look to change things around with the ball considering the three spinners did not make much of an impact at Visakhapatnam. As such, there are chances that Dane Piedt or Senuran Muthusamy might make way for Lungi Ngidi. Of course, the last time India played here, against Australia in 2017, Nathan Lyon ran riot. The current Indian batting line-up though is much better suited to deal with the conditions, and South Africa also lacks a Lyon-type match-winner.
The weather, like at Visakhapatnam, is a bit of a worry. There is a prediction for rain with thunderstorms in Pune over the next 72 overs. However, superior drying facilities could reduce the damage.
India likely XI: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Chesteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami
South Africa XI: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Francois du Plessis (C), Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock (WK), Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi
--Renin Wilben Albert