They have been doing that at home under Virat Kohli for years, but it was under then stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane that they followed the template overseas as well, starting from the 2020 Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne.
For eight successive Tests now across Australia and England, India have stuck to the five-bowler combination in the absence of a seam-bowling all-rounder such as a fully-fit Hardik Pandya. And Ravindra Jadeja has been a critical component of that strategy, having missed only the Brisbane Test out of those eight games with a broken thumb. He will be missing the South Africa tour this time with a forearm injury, and his absence will test India's ability and willingness to apply their preferred five-bowler approach.
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