Green, green grass of doom at the Wanderers

Published: Dec 16, 2013, 23:49 IST | Debasish Datta |

There is no ambiguity about the fact that India will take on South Africa on a track that will assist pace bowlers. But what would be of great interest to the fans is the sort of grass covering the pitch at the Wanderers would wear in the first Test from Wednesday.

And given what one saw yesterday, things look rather ominous for the visitors at a venue where they have enjoyed modest success. On expected lines, the track that’s likely to be used for the Test had considerable grass and it remains to be seen how much of it will be retained on the morning of the match.

Asked about the wicket, South African paceman Morne Morkel, who is likely to play a key role in the game, said: “The nature of the Wanderers’ pitch is that it has always been bouncy and quick. It can be a high scoring game, if the batsmen get in. So the margins for bowlers are definitely a bit smaller here, because of the ball coming onto the wicket and the outfield here.

“It is going to be crucial how we use the pace and bounce. But we need not get too carried away. The Indian bowlers struggled to find the right lengths in the first ODI and it takes some time to adapt to the conditions here. So we need to be smart about using the conditions as well.” Morkel, meanwhile, turned up for the nets in an Audi and was seen dragging his own kitbag.

He had a small cycle tyre wrapped around his neck and when asked about its utility, he quipped that it was a secret! Later he was seen placing it on the good length spot and trying to bowl in that particular area in the company of another paceman Vernon Philander. Dale Steyn, the hosts’ best bowler was seen bowling on another pitch.

Both teams practiced very seriously and given the effort the Indian batsmen put in, it was clear that they are determined to put up a good show. Asked about his likely batting position for the match, Rohit Sharma said: “I have not been told anything yet, but most probably I will be batting at number 5.” 

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