The South Africa cricket tour of India moves into its final stage Thursday, and fans can watch live online as the First Test match gets underway with India looking to regain their shaky footing after losing two straight limited-overs series to start the 10-week tour. But much will change for both teams in the four-Test series, including the captains of both sides.
Gone are M.S. Dhoni for India and A.B. de Villiers for South Africa, as Virat Kohli takes over the Test team captaincy, while South Africa will be skippered by 32-year-old veteran three-spot batsman Hashim Amla.
Another wild card is expected to the pitch conditions in Mohali, site of the first Test, which are reportedly dry and favoring India's corps of spin bowlers — including their star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who was forced to the sidelines in the limited overs matches due to a side strain, but should be ready to join Kohli's India XI when the first test gets underway on Thursday morning, local time.
But Amla shrugged off the apparent advantage to India.
"It looks a bit different pitch from the Mohali wicket I know, it might turn a bit," Amla said on Wednesday. "As a player, I always expect the conditions to suit the home team wherever I go in the world. It doesn't really matter to us."
To find out how to watch the first India vs. South Africa cricket Test match live online, see the streaming information at the bottom of this article. First ball is scheduled to be bowled at 9:30 a.m. India Standard Time on Thursday, November 5, at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, Chandigarh, India.
For United States-based cricket fans, however, the Test match starts on Wednesday night, November 4. In the Eastern time zone, start time will be 11 p.m., while the match gets started at 8 p.m. Pacific Time.
The tour started with a pair of T20 International matches (with a third washed out by rain), both of which were won by South Africa.
Those games were followed by a five-match One Day International series which went down to the final game — but ultimately South Africa won that series as well, three matches to two.
South Africa is the top-ranked Test side in the world in the ICC rankings, with India sitting in fifth place. But — depending on the outcome of the three-test series between Australia and New Zealand which also got underway Thursday in Brisbane, Australia — India could move all the way to second by sweeping all four Test matches against South Africa.
But they will look for help from the pitch conditions to deal with the ferocious pace bowling attack of South Africa, with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Morne Morkel ranked first, seventh, and 11th in the world on the ICC bowling table.
For India, only Ashwin at eighth and 19th-ranked Ishant Sharma are in the world top 20.
India-based website CricHD will stream the first 2015 India vs. South Africa Test match at this link, but fans who choose that option will have to put up with numerous advertisements that often cause slowdowns when viewing online. The best way to watch the first Test match of the India vs. South Africa cricket tour online in the United States is through Willow TV, which is available via this YouTube link with a monthly subscription fee, as well as on Willow TV's own site, accessible by clicking here.
But there are legal ways to watch Willow TV for free. Certain promotional offers make it possible to watch the all-cricket network, including the India vs. South Africa Test series, for a limited period of time, such as the offer at this link — or try the one-month free trial of Sling TV's International Sports Package, which includes Willow. Information on that deal can be found at this link.
India network Star Sports streams the India vs. South Africa cricket first Test match at this link.
[Featured Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images]