India vs South Africa 2nd Test: Can Virat Kohli & Co level the series at Centurion?

Jan 13, 2018, 08:00 IST | Tanmoy Mitra

After the thrilling Cape Town Test match, India square off against South Africa in the second Test at SuperSports Park in Centurion, starting today

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

India head out to SuperSport Park ground in Centurion for the second Test on Saturday, knowing that a slip up will give the South African team an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. The home team is high on confidence after winning the first test at Newlands by 72-runs.

India has never won a Test-series in all previous outings in South Africa, and the prospects of breaking the 25-year-old jinx looks tough after the heartbreaking loss at Newlands. However, it will be unwise to write-off the Indian team so early in the series as Virat Kohli and his boys have played exceptional cricket over the past two years, winning nine series in a row, which has catapulted India to no-1 Test ranking. Moreover, the Newlands Test was a close contest with India having more than a fighting chance to win, but succumbed to a loss primarily because of a batting collapse.

But the challenge of winning is a huge one as conditions are expected to get tougher for the visitors at Centurion and Johannesburg, the venues for the second and third Test respectively. The pitch at SuperSport Park will have extra pace and bounce than Cape Town, and it will be harder for Team India, reckons a former South African cricketer.0

It will be vital for Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri and the Indian think tank to pick the right playing XI for the second Test match. Will India opt for the same combination they used in Cape Town? Or will the Indian think tank bolster the batting by fielding six batsmen at the expense of a bowler, especially when the batting flopped in Cape Town? These are hard questions to answer and best left to the experts on the job.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli will have to inspire his team to rise up to the challenge if they want to turn things around in the series. If the Indian batting unit bat well and take the battle up to the South African pacers, a mouth-watering contest is in prospect at the Supersports Park on Saturday India vs South Africa at Centurion.

Interesting stats

SuperSport Park, originally named Centurion Park has been one of the newer Test venues in South Africa, the ground is known for its fast and lively wickets India and South Africa have played only one Test at Centurion in 2010, which was won by South Africa by an innings and 25 runs.

Interestingly, despite scoring 459 in the second innings, India went on to lose by an innings.

Sachin Tendulkar scored his 50th century at Centurion to become the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to score 50 centuries.

All-rounder Jacques Kallis scored his first double century to help South Africa post a mammoth 620-4 in the first innings of the Centurion Test against India. Kallis was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match.

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