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Proteas sweats it off in ground ahead of Centurion test against India

Proteas sweats it off in ground ahead of Centurion test against India

India were thrashed by 72 runs in the first Test against South Africa at Cape Town. I don't remember many such wins when the pitch has been flat. There are chances that he will be unavailable for the rest of the series too. The pitch will be a bit slow on the first day, but it will quicken up on day two and three.

Initial signs were that the pitch at Centurion wouldn't be as hard to bat on as the seam-friendly track in Cape Town where South Africa's 286 in the first innings was the highest total of the match.

Conditions in Centurion might have prompted Kohli to drop Bhuvneshwar but he could have given a break to Mohammed Shami or Jasprit Bumrah instead of him. Bumrah, in fact, showed he had grasped learnings that usually take a couple of tours to sink in for other bowlers. Shami, well, he attacked the stumps with more control.

"You have to be open to those suggestions, but I'll have to give this one to "Faffie", he said.

Kohli had an advice for batsmen and encouragement for bowlers. "It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump". Despite his form, Rabada was the fourth bowler used by South African captain Faf du Plessis in the first innings against India, a bow to his team mates' seniority.

One of the biggest issues India are facing ahead of the game is whether or not to bring back Ajinkya Rahane, one of the best Indian batsmen on the road in the last few years.

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India have never won a Test series in South Africa before and after completing a successful home season, expectations of a victory heap upon Kohli and Co. The left-hander, 32, struggles against the short ball and is a liability. "Their [India's] batsmen though have to stand up literally to see the dream of beating South Africa coming true". And he is not saying it just like that; he knows from experience what such losses do to your morale.

"We still talk about combinations that we will go with but it is about getting the right balance". The figures look anemic to say the least. "For us‚ at the moment, it is unknown and we will see how it plays over the next five days", he told a news conference. We have been in a very good space and we believe we can get them out twice again in this game.

India remain confident that they can beat South Africa despite losing the first Test after putting themselves in a favourable position.

I was surprised by the way M Vijay batted at Newlands. For some reason, he wasn't doing that in Cape Town. Meanwhile, Markram reached his second Test half-century off 81 balls, just before the break. That is, if he plays.

Fitness trainer Shankar Basu in Centurion's SuperSport Park performed a session where all the players in Team India had a lot of fun.

To succeed against South Africa and to beat them at home, you need attacking batsmen who can rattle the opposition, and we saw that happen in the little phase when Hardik Pandya got going in the first innings. For that matter, Kohli did not blame the Newlands pitch for his team's defeat, he was all praise for it as it had something for everyone. Ishant Sharma is also a good bet keeping in mind the bouncy nature of the Centurion track. The bowling, for a change, does not need much addressing.


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