The opening Test at Newlands proved to be a dampener for the spirited Indian cricket fans. When the Indian bowlers bundled up South Africa’s second innings before lunch on day 4, the team was in with a real chance. There was a sense of excitement among the fans. But, the prospect of India’s win was short-lived, as the scenario took a sharp turn in the next session.
The bandwagon now moves to Centurion with India trailing 0-1. Virat and co. will be hoping for a change in their fortunes. Here is a look at other things that are set to change in the 2nd Test.
The Newlands pitch, coupled with the breezy conditions, turned out to be a nightmare for the batsmen. Apart from the AB De Villiers-Faf du Plessis partnership and the heroics of Pandya, batsmen found it hard to occupy the crease for long periods of time.
Despite the rain eating up a day, the first match got over in less than four days. No one wants matches to fold up so rapidly. There will be pressure on the groundsmen of the SuperSport Park to dish out a more balanced wicket. Tegobo, a member of the Centurion ground staff said, “We don’t want a three-day Test again.”
Hence, the pitch for the second Test match starting on Saturday is expected to be a little less hostile for the batsmen. Don’t expect a flat wicket – they don’t make those in South Africa. However, some respite for the batsmen is definitely on the cards.
Chris Morris is all set to make the South African XI as the replacement for Dale Steyn. Steyn picked up an injury to his left heel in the last over before tea on day two of the first match. Morris has also been out of action after incurring a lower back strain in the third Test match against England in August 2017.
The Pretoria boy will fancy his chances on the home turf. The 30-year old has the ability to crank up some serious pace. The Indian team would be wary of him and Morkel – both of whom will be looking to exploit the bounce of the SuperSport Park pitch.
The team management came up with some surprising selections ahead of the first match. After losing the match, a course correction is anticipated.
The prime contender for making the final cut is KL Rahul, who will potentially replace Shikhar Dhawan from the playing XI. Dhawan has been struggling to cope up with the rising deliveries. Ishant Sharma is also a good bet keeping in mind the bouncy nature of the Centurion track.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was benched in the first Test, may have to wait for another match before getting a game. Virat has showed tremendous confidence in Rohit and is willing to give him a longer rope.
SuperSport Park is a comparatively newer ground compared to the Wanderers or the Newlands. Over the years, it has made a name for itself for its bounce.
Thus, the Indian team seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The batsmen were troubled by pace and movement in Newlands. The track in Centurion is expected to bother them with its bounce. “It will be 50-50, a bit of bounce and a bit of seam movement,” the ground staff said. It is also expected to get ‘two-paced’ as the match progresses.
A quick analysis of what’s in store for the second India-South Africa Test match:
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