India defied the weather and the pre-match odds at Durban, choking on the last day to hand the momentum to South Africa. The teams now head to Newlands, one of South Africa's favourite hunting grounds; Cricinfo takes a look at the venue stats and what to expect
South Africa head to the venue where the pendulum usually swings in their favour
If India were to entertain thoughts of recording their first ever series win in South Africa, they would have to defy a trend that has fallen touring teams in the past at Newlands. Recent history shows that this venue has been an impenetrable fortress for visiting sides, with the exception of Australia. However, a comparison of the of results in the two eras of South Africa's cricketing history reveals contrasting fortunes for South Africa. Before they were banned from international cricket, South Africa's record at Newlands was abysmal - in 24 Tests, they lost 16 and won just three. The years after readmittance tell a totally different story - in 16 matches they have ten wins in their favour, with only three defeats, all of which were against Australia. (Click here
for the venue records).
India first got a taste of South Africa's dominance at Newlands ten seasons ago, when they were comprehensively beaten by 282 runs in what was at that point a hopelessly one-sided series. Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin were the only two players who did justice to the belter of a pitch, adding 222 in a blitz. Their first match, back in 1992-93 ended in a draw, and given the pattern of results in the series, only the weather can stand in the way of a victory for either team.
The uncertainty surrounding Jacques Kallis's fitness for the third Test may still come as a morale booster for India, but South Africa needn't worry too much. Newlands has been a haven for this line-up, as six of the seven average over 40, with the only exception being AB de Villiers. Players battling form and consistency, with the likes of Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Hashim Amla, have the numbers to back them. As expected, Kallis leads the pack with 1123 runs in 12 games at an average of over 70. Smith too enjoys batting on his home ground, averaging close to 50 in seven matches.
Further proof of the batting-friendly conditions in Newlands lies in the increase in the average runs scored per wicket in the last ten games. Compared to the overall average of 30.08 in 40 matches, batsmen have contributed more in the last ten, with the number increasing to 36. Run rates too have moved on with the times, increasing from 2.72 to 3.26.
Mark Boucher, approaching the coveted landmark of 100 Tests, has another milestone to look forward to. He needs just three catches to equal Ian Healy's world record of 366 catches in Tests, as far as wicketkeepers are concerned. With 13 catches already in the two Tests so far, the new record could be his really soon. For the record, he already occupies the second spot, behind Healy, on the most dismissals (including stumpings) - 377.
Among the bowlers, Shaun Pollock's bowling figures make for impressive reading. In ten matches, his 46 wickets have come at an average of 19.50, better than his career average of 23.23. Makhaya Ntini isn't too far behind, with 42 wickets in nine games.