Rohit Sharma will open in Test against South Africa tomorrow

Victory in the three-match series would see India break the record of 10 straight home series wins it currently holds with Australia. Much focus in the first Test in Visakhapatnam will be on the 32-year-old Sharma - a star of India’s limited-overs teams as well as skipper of the Mumbai Indians which won this year’s Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament.

Sharma has not been a Test regular, however. The last of his 27 Test caps since 2013 was in Australia last year. He now has a new chance, replacing the out-of-form Lokesh Rahul, as the opening positions remain a problem for India.

“He has worked so hard and if he gets an opportunity, I am sure he will do well,” vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said of Sharma.

“We all know the quality he has. He is simply special.” The new Sharma experiment has had a disastrous start, however - he was dismissed for a duck on the second ball he faced in a practice game against the South Africans.