South Africa overcame India easily to register a victory in the first test. It will be interesting to see how India makes a comeback in the series when they play against the host for the second game at Centurion which begins on 13th January.
Here are five things which India can think about and square the series which will nicely set up the series.
One of the biggest disappointment for the visitors was their opening stand. The openers failed to create an impact in both the innings and got out early in both the innings. Every now and then cricket experts have suggested KL Rahul as the better option for him and Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan.
Dhawan’s poor performance in the first test surely raises a question mark on his place in the team and so Indian Management might rope in the stylish Karnataka Batsman for the second game who has been in a terrific form of late.
Also, Shikhar Dhawan has fared badly outside the subcontinent which would further strengthen the place of KL Rahul ahead of Shikhar Dhawan in the team.
Bring the Vice Captain back
Ajinkya Rahane might not be in the best of the form he still deserves a chance in the playing XI courtesy a great past record. There is no denying the fact that Ajinkya Rahane has been India’s most consistent player in the long format outside the subcontinent.
The Mumbaikar has scored most of his career runs outside the subcontinent and has fared phenomenally not merely as a batsman but as an able strategist.
He has been involved in making some tough decisions in tight situations and has been a perfect deputy to the Indian Captain.
Rohit Sharma should make way for Ajinkya Rahane as the former has fared very poorly against strong bowling lineups and in tight conditions. The fact that further strengthens this argument is that Rohit Sharma has scored more than half of his career runs in 13 innings (He has played a total of 40 in the format) against weak outfits like the Windies and Srilanka.
“Attack is the best form of defence”
Indian batsmen need to bat a little more aggressively and should have a rather attacking approach in the second game.
The one significant difference between the two teams was the Batting approach. Both of them got poor starts and the pitch was assisting seamers in both the innings. However, the way AB De Villiers counterattacked the Indian seamers he made batting look very easy and it was his batting in both the innings that made all the difference.
The only Indian batsman whose intent looked positive was Hardik Pandya as he scored an attacking 93 and took India’s total to 208 after they were suffering at 92/7.
Batsmen need to fire and perform at their best if India wants to put a strong fight against the hosts.
Proper use of R. Ashwin
R Ashwin, over the past couple of years, has proved himself as a potential match-winner in the long format. He has won a lot of matches for India with his all-around capabilities. However, his performance outside the subcontinent has been under the scanner.
Though the track was seamer friendly in Cape Town, Bhuvneshwar was the only Indian bowler who bowled in the right areas at the right line and length. R. Ashwin was highly underutilized in the first innings as he bowled only 7 over out of the total 73 overs when other bowlers were struggling to get wickets.
Building on the Positives
Though India lost the first test, There were still a lot of positives for the visitors and if team India can build on their positives, they can emerge victorious in the end.
The positives from the game 1 included Bhuvneshwar’s emergence as a handy lower order batsman and as the frontline seamer, Hardik Pandya’s attacking batting when all the Indian batsmen failed badly and R Ashwin’s resistance against rampaging South African attack in the second innings.
These positives definitely gave hope to India at many junctures of the game but India failed in capitalizing on many crucial situations which eventually led to their defeat.