“One of the most crucial things will be to bowl well, especially with the new ball because early wickets can put pressure on the middle order,” he said.
“To win Test matches of course you need to score runs but you also need to take 20 wickets. It’s a bit of both, whatever we start first it will fire the confidence of the other department.”
Dhoni said he had confidence in his young players despite India having only batted twice in a three-match one-day series and having their planned two-day warm-up game washed out.
“The preparation has been good,” he said, citing intensive middle practice after the warm-up game was called off. Dhoni said he did not believe the lack of experience among the batsmen would be a negative for India.
“Not getting too technical is very important,” he said. “You can’t change your technique in five or seven days. What is important is to know your limitations and at the same time back your strengths. It’s not an experiment.
“They’ve done really well on the domestic circuit in whatever international exposure they have had they have done well.”
Zak likely in playing XI
Dhoni said India would only finalise their team today but indicated that veteran left-arm bowler Zaheer Khan would play his first international match in more than a year.
“He is very experienced and he can be the leader of the pack.” Zaheer has dismissed Smith 12 times in international matches.
Live on TV
SA vs India, Day One, Live on Ten HD, Ten Sports & Ten Cricket, 14:00