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Another pace test awaits India in Pretoria

January 11, 2018 19:46 IST

The Pretoria wicket is likely to be similar, with perhaps not the same sideways movement of Newlands, and will provide another test of the Indian batsmen's bravery against a seam bowling barrage.

IMAGE: Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Hardik Pandya during the first Test. Photograph: BCCI

If India were hoping for a reprieve from fast and bouncy South African wickets in the second Test starting on Saturday, they will not find it in Pretoria, a ground where the home side have a formidable record.

 

South Africa romped to a 72-run victory in the first Test of the three-game series at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday, a match that effectively needed just three days to be completed with one lost to rain.

The Pretoria wicket is likely to be similar, with perhaps not the same sideways movement of Newlands, and will provide another test of the Indian batsmen's bravery against a seam bowling barrage.

Vernon Philander looked at times unplayable in Cape Town, while the new leading bowler in Test cricket, Kagiso Rabada, brings plenty of pace, fire and skill. He took 13 wickets in a Test against England at the venue two years ago.

Morne Morkel will be the third seamer, with Chris Morris likely to play in place of the injured Dale Steyn. He will also strengthen the batting.

There have been murmurings that South Africa may even select a fifth seamer and leave spinner Keshav Maharaj on the sidelines, with Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo and uncapped Lungi Ngidi in the squad to offer that option.

"In this series and for the rest of the summer, we will be looking to see how best we can fit four fast bowlers into whatever formula we come up with," South Africa coach Ottis Gibson told reporters this week.

"When you are playing at home, you must play to your strengths. If you want to beat the best team in the world, which India are, then maybe we have to do something slightly different to what we've done in the past.

"We have to get stuck in and be tough with the bat and the ball; get in their faces a bit and use our physicality in terms of our pace."

Cheteshwar Pujara

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara avoids a bouncer. Photograph: BCCI

India know what is coming and their success will be determined by how they handle the threat.

They managed a match aggregate of 344 over their two innings in Cape Town and captain Virat Kohli has told his batsmen to take the attack to the home side.

"We need to have intent because of the kind of bowling attack they have,” Kohli said.

"You need to find the perfect balance to do well in South Africa, especially where there is more bounce. You cannot be casual at the same time you cannot have loose shots also."

South Africa have a dominant record in Pretoria, with 17 wins and three draws in their 22 Tests. Four of their last six victories have been by an innings, including against India in 2010, and the other two by more than 200 runs.

Factbox: South Africa v India, second Test, Pretoria

Schedule:

First Test Jan 5-9: South Africa won by 72 runs
Second Test Jan 13-17 (1330 IST) Centurion, Pretoria
Third Test Jan 24-28 (1330) Wanderers, Johannesburg

SOUTH AFRICA

Test ranking: Second

Captain: Faf du Plessis

Coach: Ottis Gibson

Top ranked Test batsman: Hashim Amla (10)

Top ranked Test bowler: Kagiso Rabada (1)

Squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Last five Tests

Against England at Manchester: Lost by 177 runs

Against Bangladesh at Potchefstroom: Won by 333 runs

Against Bangladesh at Bloemfontein: Won by an innings and 254 runs

Against Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth: Won by an innings and 120 runs

Against India at Cape Town: Won by 72 runs

INDIA

Test ranking: First

Captain: Virat Kohli

Coach: Ravi Shastri

Top ranked Test batsman: Virat Kohli (3)

Top ranked Test bowler: Ravindra Jadeja (3)

Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vija, Umesh Yadav

Last five Tests

Against Sri Lanka at Pallekele: Won by an innings and 171 runs

Against Sri Lanka at Kolkata: Match drawn

Against Sri Lanka at Nagpur: Won by an innings and 239 runs

Against Sri Lanka at Delhi: Match drawn

Against South Africa at Cape Town: Lost by 72 runs

PREVIOUS RESULTS

South Africa v India all Tests

Matches 34: South Africa wins 14; India wins 10; Draws 10

South Africa v India in South Africa:

Matches 18: South Africa wins 9; India wins 2; Draws 7

PREVIOUS SERIES

1992/93 South Africa beat India 1-0 (three draws)

1996/97 India beat South Africa 2-1

1996/97 South Africa beat India 2-0 (one draw)

1999/00 India lost to South Africa 0-2

2001/02 South Africa beat India 1-0 (one draw)

2004/05 India beat South Africa 1-0 (one draw)

2006/07 South Africa beat India 2-1

2007/08 India and South Africa drew 1-1 (one draw)

2009/10 India and South Africa drew 1-1

2010/11 South Africa and India drew 1-1 (one draw)

2013/14 South Africa beat India 1-0 (one draw)

2015/16 India beat South Africa 3-0 (one draw).