Emotions were at a high as India received a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa by 135 runs in the 2nd Test. Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game but the manner in which India lost, left the fans dejected. Even the Indian team would concede that they could have fared much better in Centurion.
Leaving the bitter memories of Centurion behind, the bandwagon has now reached Johannesburg. The practice sessions have begun with a bang as both teams are racking their brains to come up with a winning formula. Here is a look at four things that will be the centre of discussion for both teams.
India is yet to lose a Test match at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg. Out of the four matches that the team has played here, it has won one and has managed to draw the other three.
The last match that India played at this venue was the penultimate match of the pace bowling veteran Zaheer Khan. This is one of the most talked about overseas match in which India has fared.
In a match filled with ups and downs, both India and South Africa came close to victory but the match finally ended in a draw.
There was a lot of talk regarding the Centurion pitch by the captains of both teams. While Kohli said that he did not expect such a pitch at all, his counterpart called it an ‘uncharacteristic’ South African pitch. Both Captains would have their wishes fulfilled in the 3rd Test as a green top awaits the two teams at Wanderers.
Wanderers is traditionally known for its pace and seam. It is the quickest ground that South Africa possesses. Newlands has swing, Supersport Park has bounce, but Wanderers has both.
Having collapsed in three out of the four innings, the Indian batsmen would have to be on the top of their game to bat for long periods of time on the lively pitch in Johannesburg.
Wanderers is known as the ‘Bullring’ due to the way the stadium has been designed. The lofty viewing stands circumvent the ground so much so that the players have to raise their necks considerably high to have a view of the viewing galleries.
This gives the stadium the shape of the bowl which can prove to be intimidating for the visitors at times.
Moreover, the ground is located at a high altitude. The air at such locations is very thin. This leads to two things – the ball travels very quickly in the air and there is also a lot of swing on offer.
Coupled with a lively pitch where the ball would seam around, such conditions make for extremely challenging batting conditions.
Kagiso Rabada is one South African bowler, who has been mighty consistent in the first two matches and has looked the most threatening out of all bowlers.
Rabada has been born and brought up in Johannesburg. He has played throughout his growing years at the Wanderers and he would be well aware of each and every bit of the ground.
He would exactly know the lengths to hit on the grassy pitch. If India has to blunt the Proteas attack, they will have to deal with Rabada sensibly.