India is all set to lock their horns with South Africa in the second Test at the MCA Stadium, Pune. Will Virat and company continue their dominant form in the Test cricket?
In the first Test, the Proteas gave a tough competition after India posted 502 runs in the first innings. The visitors were trailing by just 71 runs before the Men in Blue started their second innings.
India scored 323 runs with the loss of four wickets and posted a target of 395 runs for South Africa. The Proteas in return failed to build upon their phenomenal first innings performance and lost the game by 203 runs.
The mind-blowing batting from Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal along with tricky bowling from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sailed the Men in Blue home comfortably.
In the last 30 Tests at home, India have managed to emerge victorious in 24, while lost only one Test to Australia back in 2017 series, which the Men in Blue won 2-1. The remaining five matches ended in a draw.
The Men in Blue are on top of the ICC Test Championship with 160 points, while South Africa are on the sixth position with zero points. A victory in the second Test will ensure that India will remain on top of the table for quite some time in the future.
Rohit Sharma vs Keshav Maharaj
The Indian cricket team was quite worried about their opening pair in Test cricket, however, selection of Rohit Sharma in place of KL Rahul proved to be the right decision for the team.
The Indian opener registered 317 runs opening stand with Mayank Agarwal in the first Test against the Proteas. He also managed to score centuries in each innings of the opening test match, which has surely taken a lot of pressure off the middle order batsmen.
Keshav Maharaj, on the other hand, was impressive in the first Test. The South African spinner took five out of 11 wickets of India in the opening match and gave out a warning to the Indian batsmen.
The pitch is expected to be a spinning track and that might turn out to be hazardous for Rohit. Also, the Indian opener became prey to Keshav in both the innings, which is the reason we are expecting this to be a close-fought battle.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Dean Elgar
Ravichandran Ashwin might not get a chance in ODIs or T20Is, but one thing is sure that he has booked his place in the Indian Test team for the coming years.
The Indian spinner took eight wickets in the first test, picking seven of them in the first innings. When most of the bowlers were struggling, Ashwin was providing breakthroughs from the other end.
Dean Elgar will be the batsman up against Ashwin in this match. The opener surprised everybody with his 160 runs knock at the spinning track. Elgar became prey to Ravindra Jadeja in both the innings, but Ashwin has continuously kept the pressure on him from the other end.
Who will win this battle? Well, Ashwin will surely have an upper hand in this battle as the pitch is going to support the spinners. However, it will be interesting to see how Elgar deals with tricky bowling of the Indians and make sure his side doesn’t give away the match easily.
India is playing at home, which is a great advantage for them and their recent record in the Tests at home justifies it. The visitors did bat well in the first innings but lost the rhythm in the second innings and will try to correct it in this fixture.
The pitch is expected to provide some good turn and with Ashwin and Jadeja attacking from two ends, it will be tough for the Proteas to stand tall against them. The South African spinners have done a decent job so far but have to raise their bar, if they want to stand a chance in this match.
With solid batting and bowling line-up, India is expected to clinch victory in this fixture comfortably. South Africa will try their best to challenge the Men in Blue, but their effort won’t be enough to bring down the Indian team.