South Africa South Africa are 1-0 up with two to play having once again proved that Cape Town's Newlands ground is a fortress that can rarely be breached - unless it's a powerful Aussie team invading the ramparts. However, Rahane has to be included in the side anyhow. Given his credentials on overseas tours before, he happens to be a step ahead of misfiring Dhawan in South Africa.
Sachin Tendulkar has five centuries against South Africa in South Africa. While it may not be filled to capacity during the week, weekends and early evenings are packed with people and they are as vociferous in their war cries. Before it is too late in the three-Test series, the openers have to raise the bar. India failed to impress with the bat in both the innings as the Proteas pacers kept arguably one of the best batting line-ups at bay with their pace and variation. To bowl South Africa out for 130 was commendable. What about South Africa? So run-scoring, while tough, is not impossible. We'll see how it plays over the next five days. However, it would be a herculean task for the batsmen to score at will on these seaming pitches. Big runs in the first dig bring it down and if India can just hunker down for 400 or more we could get some space for a trade at maybe half the price.
South Africa will be without Dale Steyn in this match as he has been ruled out for 4 weeks following a heel injury that the pacer suffered in the first Test. In the previous game it was pace and it worked.
"It can also be steep from length balls". Despite Rohit failing in both the innings, Virat Kohli and the team management are keen on giving the middle-order batsman yet another chance.
With that in mind, and four bowlers being enough, Temba Bavuma could return to strengthen the batting.
Kohli dropped hints that there might be changes in the playing XI after a 72-run defeat versus South Africa at Cape Town. In fact it was Steyn who got the aggressive Shikhar Dhawan to a short pitch ball and then picked up wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for zero. A left-field choice could be Parthiv Patel. There were no drooped shoulders, the nets were lengthy and there were long discussions with the coaches. "It's going to be a good SuperSport Park track".
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Kohli added that India need not be surprised if the pitch offers considerable pace and bounce.
"As you can see over there, there is not a lot of green grass".
South Africa have their best win percentage at SuperSport, with victories in 17 out of 22 Tests, a 77% success rate. Would it not be a case of sour-grapes if Indians, by an unfortunate quirk of fate, keep losing the later matches of the series by which time they should get used to the atmosphere? We still have two Tests against India and then four against Australia.
Mohammed Shami needs one more wicket to reach 100 Test scalps. The first priority is to win games. That's our strength at SuperSport Park and we try to play to our strength.
"I don't think we need to panic because of collapses". It does not mean that if you are playing six batters you can go out there and play loose shots - you still have to have a solid technique.