Thursday, 24 January, 2019

If pacers take upper hand in series, so be it, says Faf

South African bowler Vernon Philander celebrates the dismissal of Indian batsman Murali Vijay during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match against India at Newlands cricket ground on 8 If pacers take upper hand in series, so be it, says Faf
Patty Aguilar | 14 January, 2018, 00:19

"An eventful day of Test cricket, isn't it", he said to start the conversation through a WhatsApp call. As alluring as the ambience can get, not many teams that have visited here have gone back with fond memories.

The match saw South Africa's Vernon Philander taking career-best figures of six for 42 and finishing with overall nine wickets to eventually bag "man-of-the-match" award. While they have drawn thrice, only England (2010) and Australia have managed to beat them once each here.

"I think at times they played very good cricket in that first test". India have played only once at this venue and they were hammered out of sight after having been shot out for 136 and 459. Those were times when no one expected India to even match its rival, let alone win.

After a morale-sapping defeat in the first Test, the Indian cricket team will look to forget the terrible outing at Cape Town and face a dominant Proteas side in the second Test match starting from Saturday at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. While these two made for interesting observation of the surface, India would do well not to overthink the pitch and complicate things for themselves.

"You always have a quicker heartbeat when the batsman reviews, they have to check the front line first and then DRS maybe goes its own way". His innings was ended by a faint edge off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin which he chose to review but the mics picked up a sound as the ball passed the bat. "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". Ashwin may have to sacrifice his place for an extra pacer, but that's unlikely to happen as India would like to keep an All-round option handy at number 9. While Saha had a niggle, and had to be replaced by Parthiv, the other two changes do not make much sense.

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Once again, the first innings batting will be crucial for India. Rohit Sharma got a chance in the first game and he failed miserably, rather he threw away his wicket.

South Africa's captain and the coach Ottis Gibson have waved the banner for aggression and positivity, and in that regard, it would mean sticking with the structure of six front-line batsmen, four seamers and the spin of Keshav Maharaj that won them the first Test.

Bloy was seen chatting with the South African players in the middle when asked if it was anything specific, he replied, "Naah, just showing them around the wicket as they wanted to have a look at it".

The Proteas have added Lungi Ngidi to the squad as Dale Steyn's replacement. "Wickets at SuperSport Park over the years have turned, not that it has not, but that would be more from the rough created by the bowlers", he said.

Only to be faced with that same old reality when India travel overseas.

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