Just one off the over. Indian batsmen struggled in the first Test against South African pacers and looks like they will have no respite from it as the two teams square off in the second Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. If the Indian batsman failed on the Newlands pitch, it would be even more hard to handle the more lively and bouncy pitch of Centurion. "I expect another huge performance from them".
"The only part where we were a little better than them was that we got a few more runs in the first innings".
I still recall bumping into him after the press conferences were over at the end of the Kingsmead Test. There will be pressure on the groundsmen of the SuperSport Park to dish out a more balanced wicket. The hosts have not lost at this venue since 2014. India and South Africa have faced each other just once here in 2010. Dale, Morne (Morkel), Vernon (Philander) and KG (Kagiso Rabada) are a step above in that regard. Veteran Steyn injured his left heel midway through the match and has been sidelined for four to six weeks.
Skipper Du Plessis was so happy with Pandya's wicket that he kissed Rabada on the forehead after the dismissal. Keshav Maharaj will be the lone spinner in the team.
Having said that, on another day the Indian batsmen would put the same attack to the sword in slightly different conditions.
Let's hope that the downtime they have had in the last couple of days has done them good, and this time when they take the field on Saturday for the second game of the three-match rubber they give the Proteas a good run for their money.
South Africa's price has collapsed to [1.55] from the [1.7] they were for the Cape Town Test. Their attitude of dominating the bowlers with a flurry of strokes will not work. They went to Durban and a pitch greener than most Indian outfields, and were bowled out for 205 and 228. They might also be thinking to boost up their batting which was exposed in both the innings by adding the expertise of Ajinkya Rahane in place of Rohit Sharma or Ashwin. On the other hand, Shikar Dhawan was found wanting in both the innings and might be replaced with young KL Rahul.
And Murali Vijay? He has the experience of playing the moving ball and has done well overseas.
That the captain hasn't seen Ngidi bowl in person before match eve might make him reluctant to take a punt on the big, strapping pacer.
South Africa will depend upon Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis to score the bulk of runs. Opening batsman KL Rahul was in for Shikhar Dhawan, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel in for Wriddhiman Saha, and seam bowler Ishant Sharma for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.