India won the first test with a comfortable margin of more than 200 runs and they will be looking to wrap up the test series in the 2nd test to be played at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune from tomorrow. The pressure to perform is mounting on the South Africans. Virat Kohli’s men would have ticked all the boxes in that win over Proteas in the first test in Vishakhapatnam.
India team preparations
Rohit Sharma made a terrific re-entry into test cricket and was adjudged man of the match for the first test. This would have solved the opening problem for Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. Mayank Agarwal was fantastic as he posted a double hundred and this together means India’s opening problems are history for the time being at least. The powerful batting lineup also contains Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Hanuma Vihari, and Ajinkya Rahane. It was at this venue India suffered a massive batting collapse against Australia in 2017 when the spinner Nathan Lyon turned Australia to victory. However, it is unlikely that a similar pitch will be on offer for this match. In any event, India is armed with two world-class spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Mohammad Shami is a master with the new and the old ball and knows all the tricks of bowling on dry Indian tracks. The only worry could be his fitness as he was seen stuttering on his run-up during the first innings. He looked a lot better in the second though. Unless there is an unforeseen injury India is unlikely to make any changes to the winning combination.
South Africa team preparations
South Africans, on the other hand, have a lot of problems on their hands. Not all was lost for the Proteas in the first test. Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock showed a lot of fight with hundreds in the first test. However, to expect a Steve Smith-like performance on a dogged track will not be realistic. They might be tempted to drop either Dane Piedt or Senuran Muthuswamy both of whom were drubbed by the Indian batsmen. Muthuswamy might make way for the batsman Zubayr Hamza. In case Piedt is dropped South Africa will probably opt for Lungi Ngidi and this may be a good option due to his movement and pace. But in all eventuality, it is an uphill task for the South Africans.
There were many positives to be drawn out from the first test despite the loss for the South Africans. The batting lineup showed good resistance to the competitive Indian bowling attack. But whether this can win a match for them remains to be seen. I will go to India for this match.
India, South Africa.
The Venue, Match Timing, and TV & Live Streaming
Venue: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune.
Timing: Thursday, October 10, 2019, 9.30 AM LOCAL.
TV: Star Sports.
Live Streaming: Hotstar.