In­dia ready for what Cen­tu­rion pitch has to of­fer

Sec­ond Test in SA

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Dan Gil­lott @Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

South African cap­tain Faf du Plessis was sur­prised to see brown grass on the pitch that will be used for the sec­ond Test against In­dia, start­ing at Su­per­Sport Park to­day.

But there were no sur­prises for In­dian cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli. “It looks a re­ally lively pitch,” Kohli said at his pre-Test press con­fer­ence.

“We ex­pected it and we wanted it to be that way. Both teams are into the con­test and will have to play some good cricket.”

Kohli made it clear he would wel­come an­other no-holds-barred bat­tle in con­di­tions as tough as they were in Cape Town, where South Africa won the first Test by 72 runs.

“We were pretty happy with the wicket and the way it played in Cape Town, it gave us many op­por­tu­ni­ties to stay in the game,” said Kohli.

“This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is some­thing we are look­ing for­ward to.”

Du Plessis said he ex­pected pace and bounce but ad­mit­ted he was not sure how the pitch would play.

“It looks browner than I thought it would be,” he said. “What I got from the grounds­man was that it was burnt from the heat. Last week was very hot.”

Al­though Cen­tu­rion is Du Plessis’ home ground, he said the pitch looked un­usual. “There is a thick layer of brown grass so it’s not some­thing we’re used to see­ing. For us at the mo­ment it’s un­known.”

Du Plessis said he ex­pected In­dia to mount a strong chal­lenge.

“In­dia at times were re­ally good at New­lands. There were so many ups and downs for both teams. In­dia were in the game for 90 per­cent of the time. I ex­pect they will take a lot of pos­i­tives from the game and I ex­pect an­other huge per­for­mance from them.”

Kohli said In­dia’s bowlers had shown their abil­ity in Cape Town. “We’re very happy with the way the bowlers went about their busi­ness. We be­lieve we can get them out twice again.”

But the In­dian bats­men needed to step up. Kohli said they had gained from their ex­pe­ri­ence in Cape Town – and the mis­takes they had made there. “There is no need to panic as a bat­ting unit, we have played well for a long time – and we have played well away from home as well. We just need to ap­ply our­selves bet­ter.”

South Africa have to make at least one change fol­low­ing a se­ries-end­ing in­jury to Dale Steyn.

“The team we se­lected last week was the right team and it worked pretty well,” said Du Plessis. “We have to de­cide whether we go with the same balance of four seam­ers and a spin­ner or whether we go for more of an all-rounder.”

Kohli was quizzed on bat­ting changes and ad­mit­ted there would be a dis­cus­sion about In­dia’s open­ing com­bi­na­tion, which sug­gests Shikhar Dhawan could be axed af­ter two poor dis­missals against short-pitched de­liv­er­ies last week.

- Du Plessis

Home sweet home: Faf Du Plessis plays his do­mes­tic cricket at Cen­tu­rion.

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