July 23, 2018

Centurion wicket surprises Faf Du Plessis ahead of second Test with India

13 January 2018, 05:01 | Silvia Roy

Centurion wicket surprises Faf Du Plessis ahead of second Test with India

KL Rahul awaits for his turn at the India nets

Centurion: The South African pacers are in for a treat at the SuperSport Park as they gear up to take on India in the second Test of the three-match series from Saturday.

But there were no surprises for Indian captain Virat Kohli. "It looks like a really lively pitch".

He said: "I think at times they played very good cricket in that first Test".

Centurion wicket surprises Faf Du Plessis ahead of second Test with India
Centurion wicket surprises Faf Du Plessis ahead of second Test with India

"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. "Our culture is strong on making sure that when young guys come into the team that we treat them as though they have played 50 or 70 or 100 Tests", he revealed. On being quizzed about it, he said:"Naah, just showing them around the wicket as they wanted to have a look at it".

"What I got from the groundsman was that it was burnt from the heat".

Speaking in Pretoria on Thursday ahead of his first ever Test match at his home ground, Proteas opener Aiden Markram acknowledged that, historically, the Centurion wicket was always good to bat on.

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"Generally‚ Centurion does not spin that much but there is a thick layer of brown grass on it and it is not something that we are used to here‚" he said. "For us at the moment it's unknown". Du Plessis said he expected India to mount a strong challenge. "That's why I said it was one of the best Tests I've played in, because there were so many ups and downs for both teams". India are now 1-0 down in the three-match Test series and the visitors will look to bounce back in the second Test starting January 13 at Super Sport Park, Centurion.

Notably, India benched vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane for the first Test and picked Rohit Sharma in the XI, which also had three specialist seamers, off-spinner R Ashwin and fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

The Proteas now face a dilemma of the additional fourth pacer in the team due to Steyn's injury but the skipper seemed rather upbeat about this situation saying, "The team that we selected last week was what we thought was the best team, Dale Steyn is among the world's best bowler and he brings a lot to the table. In the last game it was pace, and it worked, so we are definitely going to look at more ways to upset them a little bit". But the Indian batsmen needed to step up. I expect them to take positives out of that game. "We just need to apply ourselves better".

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

The pitch conditions at SuperSport Park are again the centre of the conversation, and du Plessis believes that they will be similar conditions to those in Cape Town, where a total of 20 wickets fell inside four days.

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