Virat Kohli calls heads but the coin lands in favour of Faf du Plessis. SOUTH AFRICA WILL BAT FIRST
The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, would have liked to bat first as well. Is surprised to see a very dry surface on offer. Aims to extract confidence from their bowling performance from the first game. Reckons that they would look to extract whatever is on offer in the initial hour. Mentions that they have one forced change in Parthiv Patel, who comes in for Wriddhiman Saha, who has an hamstring niggle and the team doesn’t want to risk the same. Adds further that KL Rahul comes in for Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar misses out as Ishant Sharma comes in due to the extra bounce that he can extract.
Faf du Plessis, the South African skipper, reasons about his decision, that the history of the ground says that it is slow on Day 1 and the cracks are expected later. States that spin doesn’t play a massive part here. Reckons that they expect India to come back hard at them as they are a quality opposition. Looks to improve on the performance in the first game. Announces that Lungi Ngidi makes his Test debut and that’s the only change for them, which is a forced one as Dale Steyn is out injured.
Shaun Pollock is out there doing the pitch report. He expected a nice grass covering but that’s not to be. Reckons that the bright sunshine and seriously hot temperatures out there mean that one has to bat first after winning the toss. Observes that there are patches of grass but not as thick as generally seen. Reckons that spinners will play a part as the game goes on. Expects some reverse swing later, too. Ends saying that it is a bat-first surface although seamers will get some purchase at the start and once the initial phase is seen off, the batters can make merry.
Virat Kohli’s record of not losing a series since he became India’s full-time Test captain is under some serious threat. The pre-match talks suggest a definite change for the visitors at the top of the order. Will Ajinkya Rahane play? We’ll find out that. For the hosts, only Dale Steyn’s spot is up for grabs and it will be interesting to see the route that they take in that respect. Do any surprises await us? We’ll know that in a while. Stay with us.
New year, trailing in the series, now a venue which is South Africa’s best in their nation – these are enough pointers to what a ‘tough’ Test tour means. Pace, bounce and movement were what they had to counter in the first game and there won’t be any respite from at least the first two aspects in the second one. Welcome to our coverage of the second Test between South Africa and India which will be played at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Picture this – the hosts have won 17 of the 22 games that they have played at this venue while India have lost the only one that they have played by an innings.