'Unusual layer of brown grass' worries Proteas' captain Faf du Plessis

Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly

While grass at the Centurion is common but before the start of the game, the pitch seemed little brown and it was assumed that the curator worked in turning pitch's characteristics and in the second game it will help the spinners a bit. Du Plessis was all praise for the options in his stable.

If Rohit Sharma is getting a Test nod ahead of vice-captain Ajnkya Rahane based on current form, then why was that criterion overlooked when captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri chose to replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar with Ishant Sharma in the eleven for the second Test against South Africa? Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar looks on from the sidelines, leaving the Indian fan in a fix as to what could have possibly led to Kumar's omission, for he returned with figures of 4-87 in the first innings of the first Test and ensured that the South African batsmen were found wanting for answers against his lethal swing. "That's why I said it was one of the best Tests I've played in, because there were so many ups and downs for both teams".

There has been a lot of debate over India's team selection in the first Test. "I have to say I'm impressed with his bowling", said Du Plessis. Only Ishant and Ashwin consistently made the batsmen uncomfortable, prompting the question why India went with just five batsmen in a Test they have to win. I expect another huge performance from them. "For us is to make sure that we don't rely on a 1-0 lead‚ because if you do that against India they will pounce". "India is the same".

"We are going to look at anything possible to take them out of their comfort zones". The tall fast bowler has always relished pace and bounce which he troubled India with in their previous match here in 2010.

And then we come to the bowling. To have pace anywhere in the world is an advantage. "Let me tell you, he is well capable of doing that". "I don't mind that". "Sometimes when you have a long batting line-up you can take your foot off because someone else might come and do that".

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"For us, at the moment, it's unknown".

Home captain Faf du Plessis is not out on 24 will resume his innings on Sunday with Keshav Maharaj (10) on a wicket that is expected to quicken over the next couple of days.

In the past it has often been far too convenient to pick players for a Test and drop them when they haven't passed muster - only to be dictated by their limited overs' form and picked for Test cricket again. "Everybody is on the same level". And if they think an antelope can do the job, they shouldn't look for a zebra. It's easier to feel at home. "We just need to apply ourselves better", Kohli said at the press meet.

The skipper's reaction, though, was baffling to say the least: "It's amusing how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days. But it's a good sign to see the pitch looking lively here".

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