While the Indian batting certainly faltered in the first test match once the pitch came alive, the Indian bowlers showed that they are equal to the task and bowled out South Africa cheaply in both innings. South Africa was vary of the Indian bowling attack and now they have witnessed first hand how lethal Indian bowling can be if the pitch is conducive to fast bowling.
India has never lost a test match at Wanderers, Johannesburg. In the five outings that India has had on this venue, they have won three and have drawn 2. And nothing less is expected of them this time around too as they currently possess one of the most, if not the most lethal bowling lineup. South Africa has plenty of worries to tackle, especially with their batting. They were given an unexpected shock from De Kock when he announced his immediate retirement after the Centurion Test.
“We’ve had a few very good conversations since the first Test finished, the message that we’ve come out with is we don’t need to panic as a unit.” Elgar said on the eve of the 2nd test match.
Is South Africa looking for batting-friendly wicket at Wanderers?
The wicket at Wanderers has usually supported pacers. But now that a new groundsman has taken over, a more batting-friendly pitch can be expected according to the captain Dean Elgar. “I think the surface will play a lot better than it has in recent times,” Elgar stated. “They have a new groundsman now in Evan (Flint) and I think he’s been trying to make it more batting friendly or a little bit more of a better cricket wicket that creates better Test cricket.”
The South African team over the years has dominated their home series usually through their fast bowlers but having seen how well the Indian pacers can extract the bounce and seam movement from a lively pitch, they may ask the groundsman to prepare a more batting-friendly wicket that will allow their inexperience and frail batting line up to score runs against a quality Indian attack.
“But irrespective of how the wicket plays, us as batsmen we have to put our hands up. We have to take more ownership and responsibility of the positions we’ve been given. Hopefully it works that way.
Its no secret that every home team prepares wicket according to their strengths. India produces rank turners whereas in England the pitches along with the Duke ball and overcast conditions allow for both seam and swing movement. It would be interesting to see if South Africa prepares a batting conducive wicket as India has a spin gem in the form of R. Ashwin who can extract both bounce and spin from a batting wicket that deteriorates over the days.