Proteas look to improve in Nagpur

2015-11-24 15:12
AB de Villers (Gallo)

Nagpur - South Africa is looking to offer greater resistance to spin in the third Test in Nagpur starting on Wednesday with AB de Villiers the only Proteas batsman to have made a half-century in the first two matches.

India is leading the four-Test series 1-0 with the top-ranked tourists struggling to acclimatise to the pitches which offer help to spinners.

A 108-run loss at Mohali in under three days in the first Test was followed by a draw at Bangalore in which only the opening day's play was possible because of rain.

South Africa was bowled out for 214 in that game, it’s highest score in three innings so far and the only time it crossed 200.

India was comfortably placed at 80-0 in reply before rain washed out the remaining days.

The Proteas has not lost an away series in nine years but it faces another turning pitch in Nagpur.

"We haven't played our best Test cricket," South Africa captain Hashim Amla said on Tuesday. "We were in the match for the first three innings of the Mohali Test but then we failed in the last innings and did not bat well again in the last Test. So, it hasn't been the full-flowing Test cricket that we're normally used to."

Amla has scored only 50 runs in three Test innings but hit an unbeaten 253 in Nagpur the last time South Africa played there in 2010.

"I definitely would've liked to have got more runs. Hopefully, the runs are still to come. We've got two big Test matches to deal with," Amla said.

Pace bowler Dale Steyn took 10 wickets at the same venue five years ago with reverse swing on a good batting pitch as South Africa won by an innings and six runs.

But Steyn missed the Bangalore Test with a groin strain and Marchant de Lange has been flown in as a backup.

"Dale probably won't play in this Test match. I don't think his injury has recovered fully," Amla said.

The pitch at Nagpur is much drier this time and if recent domestic matches are any indication, another short match is in the offing.

"I don't know why there is hue and cry about the wickets in India," India captain Virat Kohl said on Tuesday. "If both teams don't agree on playing on a particular wicket, then it is a wicket that is not suited for a game of cricket. But we are absolutely ready, all 11 of us. No problems!"

India have hit back on tracks tailor-made for spinners after losing a preceding five-game one-day series 3-2 and a three-game Twenty20 international series 2-0.

Off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja have taken 24 of the 30 wickets with South Africa struggling as much with the turning ball as the inability to judge spin and straight deliveries.

"I'm delighted Ashwin is in our team along with (leg spinner) Amit Mishra, who brings a lot of variation for us and Jadeja, who is very, very consistent. If I was playing against them I would find it really difficult to score. I'm sure it's not pleasant facing all three together," Kohli said.

The final Test of the series will be played in New Delhi from 3-7 December.

Read more on:    proteas  |  cricket

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