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India faces real SA test

Reuters
Sunday, January 14, 2018

CAPE TOWN - If India were hoping for a reprieve from fast and bouncy South African wickets in the second Test today, they will not find it in Pretoria, a ground where the home side have a formidable record.

South Africa romped to a 72-run victory in the first test of the three-game series at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday, a match that effectively needed just three days to be completed with one lost to rain.

The Pretoria wicket is likely to be similar, with perhaps not the same sideways movement of Newlands, and will provide another test of the Indian batsmen's bravery against a seam bowling barrage.

Vernon Philander looked at times unplayable in Cape Town, while the new leading bowler in test cricket, Kagiso Rabada, brings plenty of pace, fire and skill. He took 13 wickets in a test against England at the venue two years ago.

Morne Morkel will be the third seamer, with Chris Morris likely to play in place of the injured Dale Steyn. He will also strengthen the batting.

There have been murmurings that South Africa may even select a fifth seamer and leave spinner Keshav Maharaj on the sidelines, with Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo and uncapped Lungi Ngidi in the squad to offer that option.

"In this series and for the rest of the summer, we will be looking to see how best we can fit four fast bowlers into whatever formula we come up with," South Africa coach Ottis Gibson told reporters this week.

"When you are playing at home, you must play to your strengths. If you want to beat the best team in the world, which India are, then maybe we have to do something slightly different to what we've done in the past.

"We have to get stuck in and be tough with the bat and the ball; get in their faces a bit and use our physicality in terms of our pace."








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