After getting a royal drubbing at the hands of South African bowlers in the first test, Ind vs SA 2nd Test match shall be a true test of character for the Indian side. The second test will be played at Pretoria from 13th January. And if India were hoping for a reprieve from the fast and bouncy wickets, we have only one thing to say, Sorry Mates!
The Proteas romped to a 72-run victory in the first Test of the Freedom Series. If we don’t count the rain washed day, the match effectively ended in just three days.
Wickets at Pretoria are likely to be similar. The Indian batters should expect the same sideways movement of Newlands. Virat and Co. will have to come up with something special against a seam bowling barrage.
Ind vs SA 2nd Test Match – India’s Opening Woes
India’s openers had a sub-standard outing in the first test, with partnership of 16 and 30 in Cape Town. While Shikhar Dhawan was exploited through short balls, Murali Vijay steered catches towards gully. None managed to score against top-quality pace bowling of the South Africans. So, the moot question that arises here is, was the right opening pair picked?
At the Ind vs SA 2nd Test match the team management must seriously consider using KL Rahul in place of Dhawan. This is for a simple fact that Rahul is technically sounder than Dhawan. KL has overseas Test centuries in Australia and the West Indies. It is his compact technique that offers more hope than Dhawan’s. Centurion, the venue of Ind vs SA 2nd Test match is a place where the ball will move around. Having a batsman who leaves well, and who has a good understanding of where his off stump is, will be a big asset for team India.
Ind vs SA 2nd Test Match – Can the management please avoid ‘Bold’ decision
Dropping vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane raised plenty of questions in the first Test. Captain Kohli’s post-match comments of Rohit being preferred because of his better form have no takers. We hope the team management avoids such bold decisions for Ind vs SA 2nd test match.
Overall, Rahane has the temperament and technique to succeed in such conditions. His average on overseas tours is 53.44. The Mumbai lad has scored centuries at Wellington, Melbourne, London, Jamaica and Colombo (twice). In India the average slips to 33.63.
Sharma with an average of 25.11 overseas and four fifties in 27 innings scored 11 and 10 in first test. Barring Hardik Pandya nobody scored a half-century. If India wants to keep the series alive, they need to shuffle things at the top and middle order and pick players who have a proven overseas record in tough conditions.
Ind vs SA 2nd Test – Do we really need a Spinner in South Africa?
R Ashwin as the sole spinner in Cape Town. In the first innings, he only bowled 7.1 overs and took 2/21. In the second, Ashwin bowled just a single over. This was also because Indian bowlers were running rampage on the Proteas batters. Ashwin as a Test all-rounder is a more than able batsman. He already has four Test centuries and 11 half-centuries to his name. But do we really need a spinner in South Africa is a question to ponder upon.
The Pretoria wicket expected to be just as seam-friendly as Newlands. In fact, bowlers will get more pace and bounce. It’s a tough selection call. However, dropping Ashwin for Rahane would foreseeably add meat to the batting line up. India played four pace bowlers in Cape Town and they proved their mettle.
Ind vs SA 2nd Test Match – Parthiv in the Opening Slot
If India still insists for a left-right opening combination turning to Parthiv Patel is not that bad an option. This would mean no KL Rahul, but can allow India to play Ajinkya Rahane in the middle order, and still go Rohit Sharma, whom skipper Kohli clearly has a lot of faith in.
The last time India needed the services of Parthiv Patel was when England toured in 2016. Rahul was injured, and the wicket keeper batsman did justice to his role as opener with scores of 42, 67*, 15 and a career-best 71.
Ind vs SA 2nd Test Match – Can India handle the Swinging South African Pace Battery
In the first Test, more than the bounce India was caught napping for the swing. The Pretoria venue, which is further north than Cape Town, is renowned for its bounce than swing. On a wicket known more for bounce than lateral movement, India’s batsmen shall counter the challenge they expected in Cape Town. Morne Morkel in particular on his home turf could prove the biggest threat.
Considering the bouncy nature of the Centurion track, there is a good chance for Ishant Sharma to get selected in the playing 11. He is the most experienced member of this squad and has toured the Rainbow nation earlier as well.
In the Ind vs SA 2nd Test match, the team will need someone to emulate Morkel. Hope Ishant Sharma is selected and deliveries for India to stay alive in the Freedom Series.