- India has lost just one Test Match at home in the last five years and their batting line-up gives them superiority on such wickets
- Ravindra Jadeja would be a tough bowler to play on a spinning track and we expect him to trouble the South African batsmen
- The South African spin attack doesn’t look threatening and this is a major disadvantage for the side going into this game
South Africa arrived in India with one of the weakest Test squads and it was reflected in their performance in the 1st Test Match. They were outplayed by the Indians in batting as well as bowling and conceded a 203 run defeat in the end. Starting from team selection the side got almost everything wrong in the match and would need to make a big comeback to win the next one. Apart from some determined batting by the lower middle order in the first innings the side didn’t have any positives in the game. Their weakness in bowling was exploited by the Indians who tamed their bowlers in both innings.
The next test match at Pune will be a bigger challenge for the South Africans with the wicket at his venue known for assisting the spinners. In the last Test Match played at this venue spinners bagged 31 out of 40 wickets. The South African team has already shown its tentativeness as far as playing the Indian spinners is concerned. Indians on the other hand have been riding high on form and confidence with a strong batting line-up. Given the ground’s history of assisting the spinners in the 4th innings the match could well be decided at the toss.
Virat Kohli should be pleased with the form of his side. The side ticked all the boxes with their plans in the last game and would like to continue the same way. Rohit Sharma made an outstanding debut as an opener and along with Mayank Agarwal forms a good opening pair. Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle order make the side look strong.
The side bats deep, an advantage on these kinds of turning wickets. Ravichandra Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja troubled the South African batsmen not allowing them to settle in the last game. On a spinning Pune track they would increase the threat on their opponents. Mohammad Shami bowled well in the last game on a wicket that had little support for him. Overall Indians have an attack that would test the character of the South African batting.
Faf du Plessis’ side put up a poor show in the last game both with the bat as well as the ball. The team composition looked off in the last game and the side would need to bring in Lungi Ngidi to trouble the Indian batsmen with spinners Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt lacking the arsenal to trouble the Indians.
The side needs to play to its strength with fast bowling and shall depend on Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Ngidi. Piedt might have to make way for Ngidi going into this game. Dean Elgar played well in the last game while du Plessis and Quinton de Kock supported him well. Their batting failed otherwise in the last game with Aiden Markram looking rusty. Temba Bavuna also struggled with the bat and needs to put up a better show in the next game.
It is a minefield where spinners always makes lives of batsmen tough. Day 3 onward the ball tends to take sharp turns and bounce on this surface which makes batting extremely challenging. The side that wins the toss should have no hesitation in batting first on this surface.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
The MCA Stadium at Pune is one of the toughest Test wickets to bat in India. The pitch wears down quickly making the odd ball turn and bounce sharply. There would be some assistance for the fast bowlers in the first session but overall it would be a spinners’ wicket and the old ball is likely to make life tough for the batsmen.
There are predictions of thunderstorms at Pune between October 10 and 14, 2019. The conditions would be humid as well and we expect the maximum temperature to be around the 30°C mark during the course of the game.
It will be a test of character for the South African side at Pune after the big defeat they suffered in the last game. It was a one-sided show in the last game where Indians dominated the proceedings for the entire course of the game. The visitors have pretty hard time on a turning surface in the last game and with the upcoming game to be played on a spin-friendly wicket the troubles of the side increases. They need to win this one to level the series 1-1.
The Indian team having drawn first blood will look to apply the same pressure now. The South African top order will need to fire in this match in order for the side to put up a stiff challenge for the Indians. Given the form and team composition we expect the Indians to start as overwhelming favorites to win this one and make it 2-0.