Cricket Article

South Africa v India 2nd Test Preview & Live - Hosts Favourites but Expect an Indian Bounce-Back

South Africa v India 2nd Test Preview & Live - Hosts Favourites but Expect an Indian Bounce-Back Photo: IBL

With South Africa already leading their three match series one-nil, India can expect more of the same when the Second Test gets underway at Centurion Park on Saturday.

It was the four fast bowlers of Vernon Philander, Morne Merkel, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn that bowled out India in effectively 3 days in the first match, and, given that the pitch for this weekend’s match is likely to favour seam and bounce even more than the Cape Town wicket, the Indian batsmen know what to expect going in to the match.

One change, however, that will be enforced on the South African attack is due to the unfortunate Steyn, who, having forced his way back into their test side after missing more than a year with injury, will not play in the rest of the series because of a heel problem. Duanne Olivier, who has made just two test appearances, and the uncapped Lungi Ngidi have been drafted in as possible replacements, with one of them set to play.

South Africa may also look to strengthen their batting, which, it should be remembered, suffered its own collapse during their second innings in Cape Town, and all-rounders Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo are in line to make it to the playing XI.

India meanwhile will be desperate to put up a better display with the bat than they showed in Newlands, and there has been much scrutiny around the performance of the opening pair of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, and their struggles to cope with balls outside their off-stumps.

There have been calls for India to add another specialist batsman to their line-up, and Ajinkya Rahane could be set for a test recall. There have also been suggestions of a change of wicketkeeper, with Partiv Patel replacing Wriddiham Saha, thus adding more strength to the batting top order.

However, much as ever, will depend on the batting of captain Virat Kohli and the experienced Rohit Sharma to make runs at Centurion Park and give the Indian bowlers something to defend. The pair only scored 54 runs between them in Cape Town, and the visitors will need much more from them if they are to bounce back this time round.

It is hard to see beyond another South African victory unless the Indian batsmen have found a solution to how to play the Proteas seam attack.

Sunny c
Sunny C Sports Pundit staff writer

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