Bloemfontein: An ill-prepared India would be looking to balance history as it goes into the first of the three-match Test series against the hosts on Saturday seeking its first Test win on South African soil.
India has never defeated South Africa in two previous visits to this country, losing three of the seven matches. In fact it was thrashed even at home last year when South Africa won both the Tests of the series. The head-to-head record between the two countries is heavily tilted in favour of the South Africans, who have won six of the 12 matches and lost two. Yet Indian captain Saurav Ganguly was quite hopeful of his team making a match out of it. He said his team was going into the match with a positive frame of mind and was quite capable of springing up a few surprises. This, despite the fact the Indians have had the worst possible practice coming into this Test series. They suffered their ninth consecutive defeat in a final match when they lost to the hosts in the title-clash of the triangular One-day series last week. Then the Indians watched in frustration as the only practice game ahead of the Test - a three-day match against South Africa 'A' in Chatsworth, Durban - was washed out due to rain and wet outfield. To top it all, vice-captain and batting mainstay Rahul Dravid was found to have been harbouring a shoulder injury. Though he is likely to play on Saturday, the news of his shoulder problem sent shock waves in the Indian camp. Extras:
Dravid fit for Test series: Dalmiya
India's South African Safari