Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Proteas sweats it off in ground ahead of Centurion test against India

Proteas sweats it off in ground ahead of Centurion test against India

Faf du Plessis won the toss and made a decision to bat first in the second Test against India at Centurion. It may not have the sheer speed and talent of the current Australian bowling attack but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are top-class bowlers as the Indian bowling attack in the recently concluded Test match at Newlands proved. Perhaps Kohli should stick to the left-right opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay but Ajinkya Rahane definitely needs to be drafted ahead of Rohit Sharma.

I do not expect a sea change in the way India bat in the second Test. "This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is something we are looking forward to".

Head-to-head: South Africa have an excellent record at Centurion.

India's team is full of stroke-makers like Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya. If it was a low-scoring game, we'd want to get 20 or 30 or 50 more. As a bowler you look to get the first wicket early and I got AB de Villiers.

At Wanderers India have an unbeaten record, winning in 2010-11 to share the series 1-1, and drawing the other three, including a weird finish to a Test which the South Africans should have won, but they chose to settle for a draw, eighth-wicket pair Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn not wanting to take chances, even when they needed eight runs chasing 458.

"We wanted something where both teams will be in the contest and we are happy to see the wicket". "People need to apply themselves much better whether we are playing five batsmen or six".

"India may have lost the first Test but they are still in with a chance to win the series".

The 32-year-old seamer credited his skipper Faf du Plessis for the tactics of having Quinton de Kock standing up to the stumps to get rid of Ashwin. India were in the game for 90% of the game, so it was a fantastic contest between two really strong teams. Not to say, India have subsequently lost 0-1 in South Africa in 2013, 0-1 in New Zealand in 2014, 1-3 in England in 2014 and 0-2 in Australia in 2014-15. We've asked for pace and bounce so hopefully we will get that.

Kohli said he was delighted with with his bowlers' performance in the first Test. It will be a do-or-die game for India at Centurion, who, with one more loss, will lose the Test series. "It was always going to be a challenge for India especially after it had just played Sri Lanka", he said.

South African skipper Faf du Plessis, who will be playing on his home ground, however expressed his surprise at the presence of brown grass on the pitch in the pre-match press conference. Ishant Sharma is also a good bet keeping in mind the bouncy nature of the Centurion track.

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