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Zaheer to return as India look to level series in Durban

Last updated on: December 25, 2010 09:16 IST

'We need 20 Test wickets'



India will welcome paceman Zaheer Khan from injury to bolster an attack that was pulverized by South Africa in a one-sided first Test when the second starts in Durban on Sunday.

The number-one ranked Test team was crushed by an innings and 25 runs at Centurion in the first of the three-match series. The game was put beyond India in the first two days after they were skittled for 136 and the hosts then piled up 620 for four declared.

Things are expected to be similar in Durban, where a humid atmosphere and the usual overcast conditions ensure plenty of assistance to bowlers.

Zaheer is set to replace Jaidev Unadkat.

- Poor planning responsible for India's flop show at Centurion

"We need 20 Test wickets and we've shown in the last three years that we have the ability to do that on any surface," India coach Gary Kirsten said.

"We were well-prepared for the last Test, but it was a tough pitch to bat on the first day and we let ourselves down a bit; we needed a hundred more runs.

"If one of our top six can score a big hundred, then we will get to 400. The guy that's in needs to bat for a decent time because if you don't get around that 400 mark then you put yourself under pressure."

Photographs: Reuters

Image: Zaheer Khan


South Africa ready for an India backlash

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South Africa are ready for an India backlash and will not be complacent, captain Graeme Smith said.

"It was great to start the series well and it would be great to carry it on in Durban. If we can go 2-0 up it would be fantastic, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and work to that point.

"It's about getting our skills right here in Durban, finding the right areas with the ball and knowing our game plans with the bat. If we can do that then we can really build on our success in Centurion and it will be tough for India."

Image: Graeme Smith

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'It's going to be a big Test match for Hashim'

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Hashim Amla will celebrate his 50th Test on his home ground. He will be at the forefront of a powerful South Africa top six that has collectively motored to 19 centuries in 10 Tests this year.

"It's going to be a big Test match for Hashim, but he's the type of guy who takes these things in his stride, which is one of his biggest strengths. He is very composed, very disciplined and very calm, and I expect it to be no different here," Smith said.

"He is one of the better players around the world which is fantastic for us."

Image: Hashim Amla

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Pujara likely to replace Raina

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Amla has scored five centuries this year and averages 85.71, while Jacques Kallis, who had the nation in raptures last weekend with his maiden Test double century, has amassed six centuries and averages 90.07.

The ailing Indian batting line-up could well be beefed up, with Cheteshwar Pujara earning his second call-up, in place of Suresh Raina, who scored just one and five at Centurion and was caught in the slips in both innings.

Probable teams

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Paul Harris, Morne Morkel.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth.

Image: Cheteshwar Pujara

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