India seek 'intent' to combat South Africa speed kings

Rohit Sharma did not show enough staying power at Newlands Cape Town. Ashley Vlotman  Getty Images

Rohit Sharma did not show enough staying power at Newlands Cape Town. Ashley Vlotman Getty Images

"It is amusing", said Kohli. He and several of the Test specialists arrived 10 days before the first Test at Centurion. "You have to maintain composure when you get a sudden change of bounce because here bounce can be steep‚" he said.

Yes. The match was wide open.

"I hadn't seen him bowl, so it was great to get to know him and see what he's got".

While Newlands provided a green surface that aided the seamers in every way possible, this brown Centurion strip means that the quicks will have to earn their wickets. I was sure that a wicket which was under cover for more than 24 hours will have a lot of sweating and if India managed to pick up a couple of early wickets, we could have a go at the South African batting. Kallis frowned. Smith decided to make a joke of it, asking the reporter: "You really like Sachin, don't you?" "If you do that against a strong team like India, they'll pounce on us". It could've gone either way.

"We might look into doing something different but definitely no need to panic as a batting unit". To repeat what I started with - I surely think this team is capable of making a comeback in the series.

Yes, they bowled well.

Shikhar Dhawan was found waiting while facing the short stuff from South Africa. Gianluigi Guercia  AFP
Shikhar Dhawan was found waiting while facing the short stuff from South Africa. Gianluigi Guercia AFP

The Proteas are in a commanding position on the opening day of the second Test against India, having batted through the first session without losing a wicket on Saturday. That makes a big difference.

Head-to-head: South Africa have an excellent record at Centurion.

South Africa will be without Dale Steyn in this match as he has been ruled out for 4 weeks following a heel injury that the pacer suffered in the first Test. Virat has showed tremendous confidence in Rohit and is willing to give him a longer rope.

Rohit was batting well. Big runs in the first dig bring it down and if India can just hunker down for 400 or more we could get some space for a trade at maybe half the price. Cheteshwar Pujara, with 26 in the first innings, and Kohli, with 28 in the second, were the top scorers, and you don't win Tests with such meagre returns. People need to apply themselves much better. Coming to the wicket, well you will get pace and bounce. Performers like to do well and often try too hard to do so. So what exactly went wrong? He just needs one bad innings and he is out of the team. Only those who poked at deliveries well outside their off-stump or played across the line looked inept and ungainly. It's about the team.

The key to the rest of the series could well be how quickly the batsmen can rebound from the beating they got in Cape Town. Narendra Modi had visited the Jewish state in July previous year, becoming the first Indian premier to do so. In sport such things happen. It was more about just keeping the rhythm going. And needless to say, the conditions were nothing like what greeted them at the Woolloongabba in November. What about South Africa? That's the challenge of Test cricket. That has always been the case.