The opening Test at Newlands proved to be a damper for the spirited Indian cricket fans. When the Indian bowlers bundled up South Africa’s second innings before Lunch on Day 4, the team was in with a real chance. There was a sense of excitement among the fans. But the prospect of India’s win was short lived as the scenario took a sharp turn in the next session.
The bandwagon now moves to Centurion with India trailing 0-1. Virat & co. would be hoping for a change in their fortunes. Here is a look at other things that are set to change in the 2nd Test.
The Newlands pitch coupled with the breezy conditions turned out to be a nightmare for the batsmen. Apart from the ABD-Faf partnership and the heroics of Pandya, batsmen found it hard to occupy the crease for long periods of time.
Despite the rain eating up one day, the 1st match got over in less than 4 days. No one wants matches to fold up so rapidly. There would be pressure on the grounds men of the SuperSport Park to dish out a bit more balanced wicket. Tegobo, a member of the Centurion ground staff says, “We don’t want a three-day Test again”.
Hence, the pitch for the 2nd Test starting on Saturday is expected to be a little less hostile for the batsmen. Don’t expect a flat wicket; they don’t make those in South Africa. However, some respite for the batsmen is definitely on the cards.
Chris Morris is all set to make the South African XI as the replacement for Dale Steyn. Steyn picked up an injury to his left heel in the last over before tea on Day 2 of the first Test. Morris has also been out of action since incurring a lower back strain in the third Test against England in August.
The Pretoria boy will fancy his chances on home turf. The 30-year old has the ability to crank up some serious pace. The Indian team would be wary of him and Morkel who will to exploit the bounce of the SuperSport Park pitch.
The Team management came up with some surprising selections ahead of the 1st Test. After losing the match, course correction is anticipated.
The prime contender for making the final cut is KL Rahul who will potentially replace Shikhar Dhawan from the XI. Dhawan has been struggling to cope up with the rising deliveries. Ishant Sharma is also a good bet keeping in mind the bouncy nature of the Centurion track.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane who was benched in the 1st Test may have to wait for another match before getting a game. Virat has showed tremendous confidence in Rohit and is willing to give him a longer rope.
SuperSport Park is a comparatively newer ground as compared to Wanderers and Newlands. It has made a name for itself due to its bounce over the years.
Thus, the Indian team seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The batsmen were troubled by pace and movement in Newlands. The track in Centurion is expected to bother them with its bounce. “It will be 50-50, a bit of bounce and a bit of seam movement,” say the ground staff. It is also expected to get two paced as the match progresses.