The Proteas did slightly better than they were expected to in the face of India’s spin barrage in the first Test but will need to up their game if they are to prevent the hosts from clinching the series in Pune.
India were boosted by the success of a newly-minted opening partnership between Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal.
Second Test | Thursday 10 October – Monday 14 October | The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune | 06:00
There was plenty of encouragement for the home side in their opening victory, which was a textbook subcontinent win.
India suffered a shock 333-run defeat to Australia in the only previous Test played at the MCA Stadium in Pune. Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe was the unexpected Aussie hero claiming 12 Indian wickets. The hosts were skittled cheaply in both innings after Australia won the toss and elected to bat first.
If Virat Kohli wins the toss again for the second Test against the Proteas, he is likely to opt bat first as he did in Vizag.
India’s seamers have shown that they can hurt the Proteas, even on a flat deck like the one that saw India amass over 500 in their first innings. Mohammad Shami helped break the Proteas resistance on day five, claiming a superb five-for while Ishant Sharma also made a crucial contribution.
As much as India’s pace attack are dangerous their biggest weapons remain Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, with both also capable of contributing with the bat.
It has been a 2019 of doom and gloom for the Proteas, but they will take a lot of heart from elements of their performance in the series-opening defeat.
Dean Elgar showed the rest of the Proteas how to apply themselves and was unlucky to get one that kept low early in his second innings. Quinton de Kock stood up as a senior man in the middle order with a vital century after the Proteas threatened another capitulation.
Senuran Muthusamy found Test bowling has a steep learning curve, but his batting performance should be enough for him to retain his place in the team. Muthusamy scored 82 runs across his two innings batting for 214 balls without being dismissed.
The Proteas spin trio of Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt have a tough task ahead of them in Pune but will need to find a way to build pressure on the hosts.
Pune is expected to take more turn than Vizag which is terrible news for the Proteas.
Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.