Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out that the Indian cricket team knows that the only way they can defeat visitors South Africa is by creating a spin-friendly pitch.

India face South Africa in the third and penultimate Test in Nagpur from November 25 with a 1-0 lead after winning the first Test in Mohali by 108 runs and the second in Bangalore being washed out.

Gimme five: Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the wicket of SA’s Dane Vilas on Day 3 of the first Test in Mohali recently. Pic/AFP. (Inset) Sanjay Manjrekar

In Nagpur, this first class cricket season saw spinners picking up 51 wickets while seamers claimed just 17 wickets so far. With the Indian team management preferring spin-friendly pitches it remains to be seen how the association goes ahead with it.

“India have got it totally that if they are to beat them (South Africa) here they have to beat them with spin and by making spin-friendly pitches. And if that is the case I don’t see the visitors winning a Test here,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo on Wednesday.

“They (Proteas) don’t have the spinners like Monty Panesar or Graeme Swann to surprise the Indians. Their batsmen also lack depth, except AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and sometimes Dean Elgar. India will fancy the chances if they see ball spinning,” he added.

The 50-year-old said that he expects a turning track for this Test unlike the original batting friendly pitch which the venue is known to offer.

Back in 2010...
When South Africa played a Test in Nagpur last time in February 2010, Amla scored a brilliant 253 not out and the visitors went on to make 558-6 declared in the first innings. In reply, India went on to lose by an innings and six runs, thanks to some terrific bowling by Dale Steyn which saw him claim 10 wickets in the match. “It will be seen how Nagpur and it’s association looks at Indian cricket; if they make a pitch that will suit Indians or make something keeping in mind the long term Indian team which would test both India’s batting and bowling line-up. But as far as I think an attempt will be made to prepare a turning pitch,” he said.