India in South Africa 2010-11

India can face challenge on front foot

Sidharth Monga in Centurion

December 14, 2010

Comments: 119 | Text size: A | A

The Indians cruised towards victory as wickets fell quickly, India v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Nagpur, 4th day, November 23, 2010
Unbeaten through a home season for the second time in the last three years, can the Indian team overcome the South African challenge? © AFP
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Andreas isn't happy that our car doesn't stop at his security check-point, instead driving right into the compound of the stunningly beautiful SuperSport Park in Centurion, the venue of the first Test. He looks like a security guard who has seen it all, one who's kept various kinds of people from entering his ground. It has been overcast all day, and a slight drizzle has made it cold for a summer day. Not as cold as Andreas, though.

"You didn't ask for my permission before entering, now you are not allowed to go into the stadium" he says, pointing towards where the accreditation pass would have been - had there been one. "Okay," we say, "let's step out of the compound again, and then ask for your permission." However, he can't keep the act up for long, and starts laughing. And then he says, "We are going to beat you, boss," pointing to a board featuring Dale Steyn and Ashwell Prince, saying. "Pure Protea. 100% South African."

"Pure Protea," repeats Andreas, and in the friendliest of manners, leads us on a tour of the ground. The ground itself is a pretty sight, with its grass banks, old-fashioned bars with wooden benches, the barbeques, the red benches in the press box, the old dressing room in the corner that is not used anymore, and the feel of the breeze going right across the open turf. South Africa cannot be inhospitable, else it wouldn't be hosting so many top sporting events. Even Andreas has become a friend now, and he will be bought beers if - as he says - South Africa are going to beat India, boss. Warm hosts as they might be, the South Africans will bring a cold edge when they host the No. 1 side in the world.

And India are not expecting anything less. The advertisements say the South Africans are waiting; the same can be said of the Indians. India know this tour will define how the team is seen. They know that as long as they are not swept 3-0 they will hang on to their No. 1 ranking. They also know how seriously their No. 1 ranking will be taken if they perform abysmally here. They know it has never been less about rankings.

In an interview with ESPNcricinfo recently, Gary Kirsten, India's coach, said his side didn't need to justify its No. 1 position, but also that the "Test series [against South Africa] will be a defining moment" for the team. He said this team, if it won the series, could well become the greatest Test side to come out of the country. Without doubt, given Australia's current form, beating South Africa in South Africa remains the biggest challenge for this Indian team.

A measure of how big a challenge this Test series is can be made from how this is a personal challenge for almost every individual in the side, at least the batting unit. Gautam Gambhir has returned to form through the series against New Zealand, but this will be the truest test of his technique since his remarkable comeback to the Indian side. There will be seam movement, and there will be constant bouncers, the kind Morne Morkel bowled to him in Nagpur to get him out twice in one day.

Rahul Dravid knows that every failure for him is as good as three for a younger batsman. Is he still the man for the situations that call for the most determined of efforts, mentally and technically? There won't be a better time than an overcast morning and a bouncy pitch come Thursday morning to prove this.

VVS Laxman has saved and won matches he had no business winning and saving, but he knows he hasn't scored a century in South Africa and it's a record that could do with some setting straight.

The last time Suresh Raina came here for a full tour - albeit a long time ago, and he has succeeded in the IPL here - he was sent back mid-tour, ruthlessly exposed during ODIs played on testing tracks. That drop and a subsequent injury have been the lowest points of his career. He has come back a mentally stronger cricketer and, with a few months to go for the World Cup, he will badly want to conquer the country that effectively cost him a place in the previous World Cup.

 
 
India know this tour will define how the team is seen. They know that as long as they are not swept 3-0 they will hang on to their No. 1 ranking. They also know how seriously their No. 1 ranking will be taken if they perform abysmally here. They know it has never been less about rankings
 

The bowling unit, though, will be looking forward to this series. For close to two years they have been toiling in subcontinent conditions. The trio of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth in fact are the reason why just producing green-tops is not enough to assure South Africa of victory. Over the last five years, the Indian fast bowlers, along with their Pakistani counterparts have best exploited the helpful conditions here.

The other troika, the coaching staff, will probably draw much more attention - not least because they are South Africans. Every player in the side swears by Kirsten's methods - and it has shown in the results - but the same cannot be said of the bowling coach, Eric Simons. While Paddy Upton's mental conditioning work is much more intangible, India's bowling hasn't quite gone from strength to strength under Simons. It is often said that he doesn't quite know the subcontinent conditions well enough, and that spans the sample of his work with the bowlers. In South Africa, in conditions he should know better than most, the room for benefit of doubt will be minimal.

That said, this is the most confident Indian side to have travelled to this side of the Indian Ocean. They know a lot can go wrong, but they also know a lot can go right. They are obviously feeling good as a team, and also as a unit that can do well in crisis situations. They have become better tourists over the years. South Africa is not that foreign either: they have played a World Twenty20 here since their last tour, and most of their players have played the IPL and the Champions League. And despite the individual challenges to the batsmen, they are perhaps the best Test batting unit going around right now. The bowlers cherish helpful conditions, which if delivered as promised, should be as lethal in their hands as in the South Africans'.

Given the constraints of Indian cricket, with its commercial commitments, the team has also prepared the best that it could. It will help that they have stayed unbeaten through a home season for the second time in the last three years. This is not quite the Final Frontier as the admen would have it - they still have Australia to beat in Australia - but there is a sense that all the hard work of the last two to three years could come to nought if they lose comprehensively. The Indian team, however, evident at least from what Kirsten said, is not thinking about how to not lose, but how to win. While all of that pans out - we're waiting.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CurryNCricket on (December 20, 2010, 18:40 GMT)

I am from Ahmedabad, India living in USA, and Cricket fanatic individual. I remember the second test played in Ahmedabad, India in 2007-2008 series. It was exactly the similar fashion India lost the test. On the first day Ahmedabad pitch helped fast bowlers and rest of the days the pitch was flat. The Ahmedabad pitch was batting heaven after the first day and ironically Kallis and De Villers both made centauries in 2007-2008. The only difference was De Villers made double in Ahmedabad and this time was Kallis's turn. The only difference was that time India won the toss and selected to bat first and this time India lost the toss :-(. Sehwag made triple century on the following test. I can't wait to see Sehwag's explosive innings and crush Steyn and Morkel's fast bowling. Zaheer, Get well soon. Go India throw punches on the fast bowling and reply Smith's arrogance.

Posted by mahtab.nafis on (December 19, 2010, 15:18 GMT)

only a strong storm can save india in this test. hoping for a better performence in the next match. atleast we don't enjoy a onesided match. anyways, cheers for tendulkar.

Posted by srismilea on (December 18, 2010, 18:20 GMT)

Actually indian's are starting there 1st inns. now only. now on it is a good wicket to bat on. dravid, sachin, Lax have to get some runs to draw the match. i think raina will struggle in this inns. also since he doesnt have the right technique to play bounce,swing & lateral movement. i think vijay is a right person to bat there simply becuase he is an back foot player who can play well in these conditions. raina have to check in drawing board sorry mate. i am true fan. but this condition is a definite alien to you. let us see south african in one dayers.

Posted by CHANCHALRATNA on (December 18, 2010, 10:54 GMT)

INDIA, ZIMBABWE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PLAY IN OVERSEAS TEST SERIES. FROM SUBCONTINENT, LAST TWENTY YEARS WE HAVE SEEN SOME QUALITY TEST BOWLERS FROM SRILANKA AND PAKISTAN BUT NOT ANY FROM INDIA. VAZZI, KUMBLEY ALL WERE TIGER IN HOME BUT PUSSY CAT IN OVERSEAS. TEST CRICKET IS NOT ABOUT MAKING ONLY RUNS YOU HAVE TO TAKE 20 WICKETS. MAKING A SPIN TRACK AT HOME WHERE THE BATSMAN LIKE HARVAZZI CAN MAKE CENTURIES WILL NOT GOING TO HELP INDIAN CRICKET..... AM I RIGHT

Posted by A.Afker on (December 18, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

@UdayaPrasanna & SaravananDev I can laugh at u when I see IND's record away from home. Since 1990-2010 SL played- 67, won-11, lost-36, drew-20. For IND played- 87, won-14, lost-33, drew-41. For PAK played- 91, won-28, lost-41, drew-22.These are all away from home except BAN & ZIM matches. IND Even lost 2 Test in ZIM too. Whereas SL never. So PAK is the best subcontinent team and see their ranking by now. Same way SL winning percentage is marginally better than IND. Still IND is NO1?.......Perhaps SL still not win a test in IND,AUS or SA. But if we get a decent chance to play against these teams in their backyard SL too can win few matches. After playing 78years of Test winning a Just one match in SA is not make any team No1.

Posted by yesbose on (December 17, 2010, 17:26 GMT)

India might be flat track bullies. The fact that remains is that is flat tracks are so easy to bat on why can't the other teams, if their batsmen are so good, bat India out of tests on those very flat tracks. Instead they loose and start complaining about the heat, logistics and UDRS etc. Every country has its specialties. South Africans have bouncy and fast tracks and their batsmen are adept to bat on those tracks but so are the Australians. That is why they best them. India can produce spinning tracks on which their batsmen can bat really well than the other teams and the South Africans and the Australians will start complaining about the dustbowls. Indian batting tracks are flatter these days due to overrolling and, the TV channels can have 5 days of cricket and get revenues. When South Africans come to India for the world cup, I hope they get some real turning tracks to play on and even Bangladesh beat them so that they will also be exposed.

Posted by Cricketlover645 on (December 17, 2010, 16:20 GMT)

"Pakistan have brought MohommadYousuf from retirement. Australia thought of Shane Warne for once in the ongoing Ashes series. India can consider bringing Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh prasad specially for South Africa series." lol

Posted by Agus2010 on (December 16, 2010, 18:18 GMT)

Now we all know that why India don't like UDRS system, here some eg. from Cricinfo. commentary 0.1 Steyn to Gambhir, no run, huge appeal first up. It could have been for a catch, it could have been for lbw. Lands on off stump, back of a length and holds its line as Gambhir prods tentatively across the line. Misses the angled face and grazes the thigh on its way to slip. Replays suggest that would have hit off. Hmmm. 5.2 Morkel to Gambhir, no run, SA roar for caught behind and umpire Davis says no. Rip snorter of a bouncer, lands around off stump, holds its line and Gambhir instinctively brings the hands in front of his face before dropping it. That touched something on its way to Boucher. Could have only been the glove. India may have survived this one due to the absence of the UDRS.

Now we all knows what Test No.1 team is capable of lol! :)

Posted by A_J.. on (December 15, 2010, 21:29 GMT)

@SFGoldenGate; seems that u passes up your all time, in Examining up the Cricket Records. well, 'ts a gud thing, s a Cricket fan; bt also, jst check up d8 whether Your Wife, is still yours; or start making Contacts with other Men; 'coz You only indulges up, in updating ur Record-Memory. So Buddy, start taking intrests in your family activities, so that ur Marriage will b kept up; unless the Result of d Ind-SA Series, will go anywhere, but your Wife, will b of Other's Wife, 4 Sure....:P:P:P . & ya; BEST OF LUCK 2 UR TEAM, TOO:P:D

Posted by A_J.. on (December 15, 2010, 20:49 GMT)

@Brenton1.... ohhh, r u talking abt the same 'Massacre', vich was probalised by many Cricket Pandits, on England by Australia, b4 the start of this year Ashes. Just Shut up & keep ur 'over-confident' comments, in your own mouth. Steyn & Morkel, or other Protea Seamers, are oppositively praying 4 some mercy 4m God, when they will b up-againest the Indian Batting Line-Up; & if this Duo is such Devastating in their Home Conditions, then How the Aricans were crushed in their own backyard last year, by the Aussies. If you don't remember, then i m telling U, abt der 1-2 result againest the Aussies, out in which, in the 2nd Test of the very Series, they both r thrashed away, by a New boy, named Phil Jacques; posting up consecutive tons in d8 Match.

Posted by SaravananDev on (December 15, 2010, 18:44 GMT)

@lankan_neutral... you are right. Rankings go out of place. I remember once Srilanka were ranked Number #2 in the Test rankings, when(still) they never won a single test match (let alone a series) in India, Aus & Srilanka. Whereas india won test series in Eng, WI, PAK & NZ. Drawn test sereis in AUS, Srilanka. Won a test match in SA ...these are india's latest tours. and lost very few matches at home past 2 decades.

Posted by SaravananDev on (December 15, 2010, 18:30 GMT)

I Strongly support@ lankan_neutral..... Rankings system are not proper, thats y srilanka was once ranked NUMBER 2 in tests, when they never won a single test match in India, Aus & SA (let alone series) :-). Whereas India have won series in England, WI , NZ, PAK. Drawn sereis in AUS, Srilanka. and won test match in SA, and very rarely lose test matches in INDIA.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (December 15, 2010, 17:48 GMT)

I always see the same frequent names repeatedly commenting on various cricket events here on Cricinfo. But what surprises me is one of the issues regarding IND batsmen's capabilty on various tracks. And SURPRISINGLY these frequent guys keep calling IND batsmen 'flat track bullies', when all they have to do is just check the page which displays IND batters records in ALL test nations and they will find some outstanding averages except perhaps in SA. But these guys never bother to check that particular page even though it takes seconds but are willing to keep calling IND batsmen flat-track bullies for years now on Cricinfo. May be yes, IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

Posted by UdayaPrasanna on (December 15, 2010, 16:13 GMT)

lankan_neutral, I find it funny when Lankan fans question India being No.1. how many test wins u hav away from home. ur batting lineup can only survive in subcontinental pitches and ur speaking abt the Indian team outside India and remember u were thrashed in the ODIs in India and SL but only thing u boast of is the series win against the Indians @ home. Think abt ur last newzealand and England tour and then start commenting on this Indian team.

Posted by HostileJ on (December 15, 2010, 15:03 GMT)

@mrgupta:Sure enough - I would back India's bowlers in india as well, anyone would..India is one of the toughest countries to tour to..but...neither side was as strong as they are now.Zaheer is key for India.If he doesnt play and Bhajji dont do well SA will rip India apart...I dont think india's other bowlers can deliver 5fors...maybe sreesanth...I just think at this point in time SA has more ammo in the bowling department.You need to take 20 wickets to win a test.it will be a great test series.Cant wait to watch Sachin,Dravid and Sehwag.They are certainly heroes of mine and it will be a great test of skill to come up against the likes of steyn,morkel and tsotsobe.Forget the past - India's big test is coming up now.If you can beat SA in SA...then you truly deserve that nr.1 spot...if you dont you will still be 1st but it wont be the same - and dont then go and sack gary kirsten - he deserves a lot of credit for india's success...keep him and you will be 1st in the world for many years!

Posted by couchpundit on (December 15, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

@SurlyCynic - You are Right Indian Batsmen are over rated, most of their sensational heroics have come under tough situations in Home conditions(but mostly against Australians when they were white washing rest of cricket playing countries in their respective turfs..specially south africa in south africa and england in england) or flat tracks, with one or two exceptions by Laxman,Ganguly and Dravid...Sachin has never lived upto the hype when it came to crunch situation no matter how many runs he scores..he cannot claim to be match winner...ofcourse he has scored bulk of runs for india but ver few times in winning cause. Beware....This is new breed of Indian Cricketers they wont be shaking in their boots for dale steyn bowling but they will waiting to exploit his loose mouth and turn it on himself. BTW...We Indians are not expecting much from Old gaurds in the team...ofcourse we welcome any good contribution from them.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 15, 2010, 12:06 GMT)

If we cannot judge Indian bowlers based on their stats, as they bowl on 'flat tracks' most of the time, does this mean we cannot judge Indian batsmen based on their stats as they bat on flat tracks? Can't have it both ways.

Posted by ILuvTests on (December 15, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

I find it funny that the comments focus on "flat" or "sub - standard" Indian pitches. I find it funny that Smith, for example has an average of 36 on the same pitches that are supposed to help the Indians get a massive average and also 36 against India. So does that mean that we expect him to fail in this series? Averages can mean anything!

Also, where is the same ICC that wanted Wankhede banned? Spinning pitches are not OK? They are not a challenge? Only green tops are allowed is it? BCCI kill the ICC, please. they are too illogical to be believed. Do not bow to them in the matter of pitches. The beauty of cricket is that Perth is as different from Mumbai as chalk is to cheese. We must not lose that.

Posted by Brenton1 on (December 15, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. India may have won many games in India but they have only won 1 in SA since readmision in 1992. Their stars have been here before and failed so why should this time be different. India are better than they were last time here but SA are also better.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 15, 2010, 11:46 GMT)

Its Indias best chance to beat SA with one of the all time great batting line ups. This should be as good as it gets - top Indian batters against SA pace which will require all that experience and technique from both. Safe to say we wont see Sachin, Dravid and Laxman on the next tour so this is definitely India's best chance.

Posted by kusunilbhat on (December 15, 2010, 11:16 GMT)

guys did u knw india hav scored 300+ runs in atleast an innings in the previous 24 tests????????? AWESOME INDIA AND AWESOME CRICINFO FOR THE STATS INDIA IS GONNA WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NT OLY THIS SERIES BT ALSO THE WORLD CUP

Posted by Aussasinator on (December 15, 2010, 10:29 GMT)

India should do well. The batsmen are well used to pace and bounce and the SA attack is known to be ridiculously innocuous in key situations.

Posted by SFGoldenGate on (December 15, 2010, 10:28 GMT)

@kvkrrish, where did you find that AUS did not win in India in22 years? They won a 4 match series 2-1 in India in 2004 under Gilchrist/Ponting. SA won a 2 match series in 2000 under Hansie and drew the recent 2 series in India and won 1 match in each series by innings in each series. So, please get your facts right. @Arjun, nicely said, history (by definition what happened in the past) can not be changed but new history can be created, so best of luck to your team.

Posted by KrishnaVinod on (December 15, 2010, 9:55 GMT)

Dear Brenton... Please check up with the facts. Even south african batters averages dropped significantly in South Africa except Kallis. So please stop running behind averages and history. When we came to SA in last tours, we are not No.1 but now we being on top of the table will retain it which SA unable to do. If u argue so much about No.1 not winning on foreign soil, what about Australia who are unable to win in India in 22 years. If u argue that Indian teams cannot play on bouncy tracks so ur teams who cannot play on turning turfs. Let us wait and watch on thursday when ZAK and Sree wrecking SA hyped top order.

Posted by Arjun_CB on (December 15, 2010, 9:42 GMT)

This series will be an intresting one.... India is not done well in SA, similarlly SA (not only SA, AUS,NZ &ENG)didnt do well in IND..... SA has home advantage and so would be tough to beat, But this Indian Team has the potential to challenge any team in the world now.. India is the No1 team in the world( Dont forget this is the same ranking system put AUS and SA @No1 once) and they have to show eveyone that How and Why they are still on the top of the table for 12 months........

in the last series ind won a test match in SA for the first time, so History is re written.. now if they won the series agian the History will change, Please do remember one thing.....

................HISTORY IS MEANT TO BE BROKEN..................

So the Ultimate result will be a lively, aggresive, & Much needed 3Test matches.... All the Best for team IND& SA,

Thanks Arjun

Posted by xln_c on (December 15, 2010, 9:32 GMT)

West Indies team of 1980s and Australia team of late 1990s and early 2000 succeeded in batting and bowling aided pitches whereas these two teams India and South Africa failed to take twenty wickets against Pakistan and New Zealand teams respectively when pitches did not helped their respective bowlers, None of these two teams can be assured of their claim to be dominant over other.

Posted by srini_jana on (December 15, 2010, 9:29 GMT)

As rightly said by others, India's chances heavily depend upon Sehwag, Sachin, Rahul and VVS. No one else but by them..

Posted by Brenton1 on (December 15, 2010, 8:15 GMT)

@geminianrahul: South Africa is a tough place. All our dogs bite.

India only seem to have the best batting line up as their averages are grossly inflated by the flat pitches in India. All of Indias greats averages drop significantly when the runs scored in south africa are only considered.

Posted by Rawpower on (December 15, 2010, 8:09 GMT)

@Diri and SA fans...I am sorry to say but you generally point Indian team's weakness against bouncy wickets...but never comment on SA's weakness against spin.. Cricket is about adjusting in all conditions.. India has time and again proved in England, Australia and Sri lanka in last few months. I am not even considering NZ tour...Lets all wait till thursday...We will prove why we are No-1 :) Sachin hit first 200 in ODI against SA.....time for first series win in SA!!! :)

Posted by Ray24 on (December 15, 2010, 8:01 GMT)

India stays number I even if they loose all three tests?? Can someone explain how this system works? Someone above has given India's excellent away performances as a reason. I see that India has not beaten Aus, SA, SL in a series. They beat Pk in one and lost one. They cud've beaten Aus but could'nt due to umpiring - wasn't it neutral? Howlers are made, but India gets a fair share of benefit from these. And no mention of not loosign a test in England and hence a drawn series as the last day was called off because of rain, with only the last wicket remaining? Hopefully India get what they deserve, i.e. trashed.

Posted by KrishnaVinod on (December 15, 2010, 7:25 GMT)

I dont agree that India dont have good bowling..... please stop comparing subcontinental bowling averages.... not only Indians, every other country bowlers average is like that in Sub continent pitches. Take it from me... it is not 2-1 for SA but India win this by 3-0 and if proteas show some mettle they can reduce the lead to 2-0 and if rain helps them it will be 1-0. But Proteas cannot win one match also. thats what going to happen.

Posted by santosh.sampath on (December 15, 2010, 7:06 GMT)

Since some records were mentioned in the article, Sachin will get his 50th hundred in SA.

Posted by Raj_pandian on (December 15, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

Guys guys!! past is past...its going to be very good series for sure..... lets expect some good cricket from both the teams........ All the best India & SA

Posted by a.jalan on (December 15, 2010, 6:34 GMT)

India will win 1 test in which Sehwag scores big, draw 1 test in which Dravid scores a slow and painstaking century and will lose 1 in which Sachin scores his 50th. So, scores level at 1-1.

Posted by diri on (December 15, 2010, 6:21 GMT)

Brenton1 you are 100% correct!! SA will be number 1 soon because they are far better than India in all departments. Including batting!!! SA have a team that can dominate for the next 10 years while the indian batting legends will retire soon and india will be in big trouble....I see India slipping to 5th in the rankings very soon and SA at number 1

Posted by fadms on (December 15, 2010, 5:59 GMT)

Indians know they are not truly the No. 1 test team no wonder they defend themselves so much. SA will give you a thumping

Posted by shovwar on (December 15, 2010, 5:44 GMT)

"He (Tendulkar) is a world class player and a great ambassador for the game," Smith said as he reminisced at an official reception for the Indian cricket team here last night. "As a youngster I watched the games and that's where all my dreams started. You see the players (like Tendulkar) on TV and you think that I want to be like that one day, and here we are," he said. This is how SA respect talents.So dont compare them with OZs who likes to talk alot. And ofcourse this SA team is way more stronger than the OZ team at present so dont expect it would be easy as the recent Ind VS Aus in India. SA drew wit Pak in a wicket I believe no Test nation can win and a home series victory for SA is overdue and SA is hungrier thanever. BTW the statement at the top by Smith was made at the reception of Indian team last night so instead of all the big talks Smithy welcomed India with such an honor that tells you the strength, confidence and sportsmanship at the same time.GO PROTEAS U deserve 2 win.

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (December 15, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

hello lankan, thanks for your understanding, i have no problems with SL being number 5 or lower.

Posted by Gulshan_Grover on (December 15, 2010, 4:24 GMT)

@Lankanneutral: you guys should be thanking rain, otherwise you would have been 6th or 7th based on WI margin of victory.

Posted by Venkatb on (December 15, 2010, 2:38 GMT)

Other than in the 3rd Test against NZ, India's batting prowesses were exhited by Harbhajan in the NZ series and won a match against Australia by the skin of its teeth thanks to Laxman. Add to that the quality of India's bowling where the strike bowlers average 30+ per wicket - this is going to be a lopsided contest with SA overwhelming India

Posted by Sajeesh.M.S on (December 15, 2010, 1:14 GMT)

Those who say India cannot play well,away from home, please look into the stats below. These are the results of Indian team's away tours for the last 7 years(From Dec/03/2003 to Dec/03/2010) Autralia 1-1(4) Pakistan 2-1(3) Bangladesh 2-0(2) Zimbabwe 2-0(2) Pkaistan 0-1(3) West Indies 1-0(4) South Africa 1-2(3) Bangladesh 1-0(2) England 1-0(3) Autralia 1-2(4) Srilanka 1-2(3) NewZealand 1-0(3) Bangladesh 2-0(3) Srilanka 1-1(3)

Only once India failed to win at least a single test(against Pakistan 2006) No team in the World (including Aus and SA) possess such a good record recently.That is why India is at #1. Not just because of home performances.

Posted by New_Wind on (December 15, 2010, 1:04 GMT)

SA has good batting and bowling lineups. India has only good batting lineup. where r the bowlers? Except half fit Zak and half blunted Bhajji, others are totally harmless. By theway india's prep was much weaker. Look at Englands prep, their hype before ashes and the results. I give 1 to India vs 8 to SA.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2010, 22:07 GMT)

Can anyone please tell me how Raina keeps getting picked ahead of Pujara when you compare their records in the longer form of the game?

Posted by cricket_for_all on (December 14, 2010, 21:13 GMT)

@Martin_Hooks: SL became #5 due to rain and We still accept it (We are not fighting for rank and no Sri lankan worry about it- We know our strength). SL didn't loose the test series to India back home (Even thought SL is #5?). But India, #1 team, should have won SL (#5 team?) in SL but they didn't do so. I am expecting to India to win SA (#2) in SA to show us they are #1. Counter attack is not going to help about anything. Just show us that India is #1 team by winning SA (away). If you don't know what is #1 stand for please look at AUS's past records (They were really #1 team). I am still sub-continent supporter (Personally I like to India to win this series) but the ranking system should be fair to all. Best team (winning home and away) should get #1 status.

Posted by Kaze on (December 14, 2010, 21:11 GMT)

*Yawn* South Africa will thump them as per usual.

Posted by Wolfpax on (December 14, 2010, 20:58 GMT)

I think both the teams are well-balanced...Indians have well established batsmen, SA has class bowlers who can explore the conditions well. Having said that, cricket is all about team game and strategy. In that context, MS Dhoni led India is much more better unit in terms of approaching the game and reading the situation well. If SA (who find it difficult to play in the subcontinent) can win a match in India, I don't see why India won't be able to win one. Ofcourse any home team has an advantage, but definitely look out for a tough climb for the Proteas. Lets wait and watch and expect the best performing team to win. The series is not going to be Steyns, Morkels, Dravids, Laxmans or even conditions per say. Its going to be all about adapting to the conditions well and stay mentally focus on the job at hand. All the best to India (go India!) and SA.

Posted by avis1001 on (December 14, 2010, 20:56 GMT)

Nice comparision - only hope that there are no draws.

Posted by Nampally on (December 14, 2010, 20:47 GMT)

After months of waiting and serious debate amongst the cricinfo commenters, the series between Indai & SA is due to commence.SA claim to have an all round side and think that they are the better side. on the other hand India has a very solid and strong batting line up probably the best in the world today. Can the Indian batsmen show their might on fast paced SA wickets? This is the question that is being asked and India must stand up to this challenge by proving that their batsmen can perform well on any wicket and against any bowling. Indian bowling might be weakened by Zaheer's injury. But In Yadhev they have a good pace bowler matching Steyn in speed, at least. Ishant ahd Sreesanth can bowl at fairly good pace too.The question mark is Harbhajan's bowling.Will India chance with Ojha instead and use Raina & Sehwag for off spin?Dhoni does not use Sehwag or Tendulkar as bowlers, for reasons best known to him. If India use their potential fully, they can beat SA-will thay?Jai Ho India.

Posted by kriskini on (December 14, 2010, 20:21 GMT)

Lets go back to tennis and see how Ivan lendl was top Ranked in his days even though he cannot win the most prestegious tennis tournament Wimbledon. IF India never wins in SA or Australia does not mean they donot deserve to be #1 .

Posted by svinodmenon on (December 14, 2010, 20:13 GMT)

For all that say SA will derail the indian batting line up. I tell you that Smith will Struggle against Zaheer, Alviro is anyone's wicket. Hamla and Devillers will struggle against Sreesanth. Kalis the only man can survive. If the pitch is going to be seam around the whole 5 days then India has a bit of higher percentage to win the game when compared to normal conditions. It doesn't mean that India is better in SA. I would say the best strategy wins the game. Smith will fail on his batting but has the trupmp card Steyn to perform. 1-1 is more possible for India but it may favor 2-1 for SA.

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (December 14, 2010, 20:10 GMT)

@Lankanneutral: India may or may not be the number 1 but SL certainly is deserving number 5.

Posted by Loyalguy on (December 14, 2010, 19:33 GMT)

I Must India didn't prepare well for a very important series like this, which is going to define/justify their rankings... See How England went to Australia and played 3 practice matches and how they acclamatised to the conditions...and they are reaping benefits by beating OZ covincingly.. India should have played atleast 2 matches, but they didn't...Also, no SA Local bowlers have bowled to them in practice...I couldn't see any positives without practice

Posted by poolcricket on (December 14, 2010, 19:02 GMT)

The only advantage SA has is Steyn. Apart from him, the sides are leveled. That said, this is truly the best Indian team after the few amazing years under Ganguly-Wright. Hope they could conquer the Proteas and shut up the critics once and for all.

Posted by gopinh on (December 14, 2010, 18:44 GMT)

Not sure why everyone is pointing finger at Dravid. I understand he has poor record in SA but please check stats of all good batsmen like SRT, Kallis, Ponting, Sanga, Mahela etc. etc. all have poor record in one place or the other. Its common. Let me wish Dravid good luck and knowing Dravid he will quit the day he knows if he is not his 100 percent just like he gave up captaincy.

Dravid, Kumble and SRT are the only cricketers in Indian cricket who gave captaincy on their on will and didn' wait to be pushed out. If we cant respect them atleast lets not criticize them.

Posted by Divinetouch on (December 14, 2010, 18:26 GMT)

Dear Indian Cricketers,

Give of your best and I trust in so doing you would achieve all that you planned including a series victory over South Africa. Keep your focus and do Bharatma proud.

No matter what the cricket know all write on these pages - you the cricketers know as karmayogis that it is in doing that tangible results are achieved.

Let your actual contributions to the game be counted.

Posted by cricket_for_all on (December 14, 2010, 18:17 GMT)

Finally India is playing outside after enjoying several home matches. Please show us that you are really #1 (Very unlikely).

Posted by Samgen on (December 14, 2010, 18:15 GMT)

This is the series that will seperate boys and men. It is true for both the teams. SA is the more balanced of the two teams and also has the advantage. I expect Indian team to loose the first test and make a come back in 2nd or 3rd. I do think, this will be the last (SA) test series for couple of Indian players, I am hoping that they will have a good fare well series.

Posted by geminianrahul on (December 14, 2010, 18:14 GMT)

@Chona & @Brenton1: I just got this to say.. Barking dogs seldom bite..

Posted by venky50 on (December 14, 2010, 18:12 GMT)

Southafricans are busy in blowing their Own Trumphets! Lets see where they hide after 3 match.

Posted by Raj12345 on (December 14, 2010, 18:09 GMT)

If we have 2 or 3 tour like this one, then test middle order will be settled with good cricketer like Pujara not like Raina's anymore. Let us see it is not distant dream to have Pujara in test & as well as in ODI's.

Whatever Partiv done good in last 2 NZ ODIs, will be forgotten soon. He will be called to cover top order failure if that happens.

I am sure, we will overcome SA challenge and can win test, if we produce good bowling there. Hoping to that happens.

Posted by gooey_kablooie on (December 14, 2010, 18:07 GMT)

Bowlers always win matches. Home conditions, away conditions doesn't matter. The bowlers should bowl in the right areas. If you remember the Perth Test, Indian bowlers dismissed an in-form Aussie batting line-up twice with Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma who was playing is first series out of the sub-continent (Nothing gets closer to home conditions for Aussies as PERTH). Why ? They bowled properly. One doesn't need to be express pace. You see guys like Pidge, Pollock, Akram. If you wake them up at the middle of the night even after they get high and sleep and ask them to bowl they will trouble the batsmen. Why ? They bowl properly. Conclusion : SA at home, IND away aint matter. Whichever team bowls properly will win.

Posted by yezdi70 on (December 14, 2010, 18:06 GMT)

@PROTEAFAN. I think the analysis has something to do with the Indian bowling unit giving a tough time to England in England in pace bowling friendly pitches and to Australia in Australia (Perth). It will be interesting to see what happens in the series...whichever way the result goes...a lot of fans on either side will end up with egg on face.

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (December 14, 2010, 17:45 GMT)

India have lost lot of away series. No wonder if they do this time too. But this time it seems bit different. Rather than complete fodder in 2000's and before they are better visitors now. A belief instilled by Ganguly and almost coming to defeating Aus in 2003 series if not for Steve Waugh heroic. Just tell me one instance where they were mauled in a test series except that NZ series prior to 03 WC. They won in Eng, WI, Pak, NZ. Lost 2-1 to SA, 2-1 to Aus (could have been gone India' way, but well they lost and thats' it). Winning a test on foreign soil is no mean achievement. In SA at that time they did not have 3rd pace bowler. We had one VRV singh, ever heard that name again. This time this team knows they are number #1 and have the resources to do that. Steyn can get Sehwag 1st ball, but if Sehwag get going? The way he plays, any of the guy think that you can plan anything for him? I am not saying that India is superior to SA but they are matched man to man. Can't wait till 16th!

Posted by knowledge_eater on (December 14, 2010, 17:45 GMT)

Brilliant Writing. Yes, this is the most confident side India have ever had going to SA. What ever happens, happens, just start the match already, getting impatient now. And nervous.

Posted by Rahulbose on (December 14, 2010, 17:38 GMT)

Can't wait for this one to start.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 14, 2010, 17:29 GMT)

Before India defeated Oz in Perth in 5 days of outstanding Test Cricket no one gave it a chance. India was really worked up then by the Oz press, incidents and a complete run down of its ability to match Oz. Unfortunately nothing of that sort has happened here to make them come out of their shells but something will trigger it may be a bad loss in the first Test. Analytically against all expectations Sehwag could turn it on and Dravid find that extra assurance. Tendulkar to some extent prove a point in SA. Ishant as always before would find a way for India. I trust Ohja too. The cost of legacy or success is going to be the places offered to Ghambir and Harbaj; they will fail; and must be replaced with Pujara and Ashwin in the second test.

Posted by Vilander on (December 14, 2010, 17:16 GMT)

Brenton1 , stop wetting yourself, India is going to crush SA this time buddy.

Posted by drjaygoyal on (December 14, 2010, 16:53 GMT)

@Brenton1....i am seriously waiting for the series to start...lets see who ends up on top...

Posted by mrgupta on (December 14, 2010, 16:53 GMT)

@HostileJ: I agree that Indian team's bowlers are not that good but then SA bowlers are spineless on the pitches where Indian bowlers do Wonders. Don't believe me? Remember India-SA 2nd test at Kolkata, 2010? Indian FAST bowlers took 7 wickets in this match, SA, well with Steyn and Morkel and Kallis managed only 3 as India won by an Innings. Check for yourself http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-india-2010/engine/match/441826.html. Don't point out the first test of that same series because then we have the First test of the Last series when India toured SA last time. We have a saying in India "Apne ghar main to chooha bhi Sher hota hai" -- "Even a mouse feels like a Lion at his home".

Posted by sathishkla on (December 14, 2010, 16:51 GMT)

I am happy that people feel Indians are going in as underdogs...As for the Indians out there, take the insult now and see how the Indians fare under the testing conditions...and see what our players are made of....

Posted by bestanalyst on (December 14, 2010, 16:49 GMT)

@BRENTON1..dude wt an illogical guy u r..u r questioning the technique of indian batsmen???u cn ask any1 in dis world who hz the best batting lineup.u ll knw.b4 posting ur comments u go n brush up ur knowledge of the game n get bak here..bubye. as far as the series is concerned..yes SA r a vry tough team 2 beat in their backyard given their good quality pace attack..but IND hv bn doin quite well 4 da past few yrs nw homw nd abroad.dey nearly won in aus.dey hv given SA a gud run for their money too in SA..nd everywhr elase dey hv won comprehensively.dats y dey r at da top of da table.dey r no.1..da numbers speak 4 demselves.nd also given the form of india's batsmen:sachin as gr8 as ever,sehwag at his devastatin best,laxman in sizzling form,gambhir hitting form,dravid lukin gud..its gonna b real hardwrk 4 SA bowlers 2 get dem out twice. nd abt da bwlng..i agree ind's bwlng is weak but its better dan ever..recently dey hv bn doin gud.so it ll b da most difficult dan ever for SA 2 beat IND

Posted by CricketIsTekcric on (December 14, 2010, 16:23 GMT)

Well!! Having said all that about India's batting and bowling, we cannot miss the fact that - SA would be playing as underdogs at home which they have not done in recent past. And the Indians are quite high in confidence not taking the credit from the SA bowlers. So I see this to be a fair challenge to both sides where a stronger batting unit India is up against a very tough bowling side at home. On the contrary SA batsmen would have a nice time dealing with the slow Indian seamers, only one full time spinner and part time slower bowlers. Its definitely gonna be a test for the Indian side to perform as the #1 Test side of the world. Mentally the pressure is more on the Proteas to save the match as when the Indians would go for a kill.

Posted by RK.Chandru on (December 14, 2010, 16:17 GMT)

Suresh raina appears to be the weak link in the batting line up. Instead of waiting for a series of failures and waking up, it'd be wise to give him just chance for the first test and replace him with either Murali Vijay (to bat at No.3 which he comfortably can do neing an opener) or Chateswar Pujara. Persisting with a time and again failing Raina could prove costly. Sreesanth must be asked to prune his behaviour and antics and concentrate on just his bowling. And, we do not want Bhajji to bat and get us a ton everytime. He's in the team as a strike bowler and any good bowler is supposed to take a minimum of 5 wickets in every test match.

Posted by Sajjan... on (December 14, 2010, 16:15 GMT)

india will win this series onsided.

Posted by manasvi24 on (December 14, 2010, 16:06 GMT)

Can't wait for it. India look a confident side. Sachin will be the key. Hopefully all will go well.

Posted by wonky on (December 14, 2010, 15:59 GMT)

Finally a series to take the focus away from the Ashes ... it is after all the number one and two sides in the world competing. I say SA to re-take the number one ranking from the Indians. But only just .....

Posted by Cric_Blaze on (December 14, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

@brenton1....come this thursday all your questions will be answered.... lets wait on watch....

Posted by BravoBravo on (December 14, 2010, 15:50 GMT)

Xolile: A very intelligent comment posted by you and I totally agree with you. To me this test series will be a RECORD making festivity for some players who never won a World Cup Title in their life time. All the hype about this series just seems like drama. No team will loose but CRICKET will loose.

Posted by vparisa on (December 14, 2010, 15:34 GMT)

@Xolile, 52% chance of a result mate, What are you complaining about? There is more chance of a result than a draw. I do not understand your argument. FYI, Sachin could not get a century in any of the three flat tracks during Ind-NZ series.

Series will be exciting, Zak vs Smith was one of the high points for India in the last series in SA. AB will get his hundreds but India will have to get Amla/Kallis for cheap if we want to win or draw the series. With bounce in the wickets, Harbhajan will become a crucial factor. Hope Zaks hamstring and Smiths fingers stay injury free for the entire series.

Posted by TorontoBlueJays on (December 14, 2010, 15:32 GMT)

India has had the #1 ranking for about an year, but they've only played at home and Sri Lanka; the 2 countries have different types of pitches but let's see how India does at a pitch with a lot bounce like Centurion

Posted by multipack on (December 14, 2010, 15:28 GMT)

south africa seem very confident going into the series. perhaps rightly so but it wasn't long ago that england turned up and left with a draw so maybe wind your necks in boys.

Posted by MM100 on (December 14, 2010, 15:26 GMT)

A lot of confidence from the South Africans. They were making exactly the same noises last year, before just about managing a draw with England. India are a better batting side than England, too, although England's bowling's probably better.

Posted by india.cricket_lover on (December 14, 2010, 15:10 GMT)

wait for 16th dec and then you will see what this indian team is up to this time...india will definitely beat the africans...even if there are bouncy wickets then also india will win because if africans keep bouncy wickets then even they'll be in trouble as they were in the last indian tour in johannesburg...sreesanth ripped apart their batting order...n smith had no answers to zaheer..indians had a horrible time in new zealand every time but last year they beat them in their own backyard...this time india will give the same treatment to africans...n indian team hence will be the undisputed numero uno once again!!!!one can also see the tension in the african camp with the statements that they are making about indian team rather than focussing on themselves...they know that they are up against a very strong indian team who are ready to eat them in and out!! So watch out the africans,u are goin for a african safari this time by india...

Posted by riskreddy on (December 14, 2010, 15:06 GMT)

@Sandy, I do not agree with your notion "I feel South Africa has a better batting line up, as Dravid and Tendulkar are ageing". Only thing that India has better than South Africa is batting strength. South Africa is way ahead than India in fielding and bowling attack considering it is their home turf. Only factor we can count upon is our batting technique to win in South Africa. If we had all 3 factors batting/fielding/bowling inferior to SA (then whats the point in playing a series to get slautered), then we should be losing 3 - 0 to SA, which i dont see it happeneing anytime soon with the current form. And yeah only Dravid seems to be ageing, Sachin has shown no wear/tear whatsoever on the field. He is still a swift fielder and a scoring batsment in all conditions.

Posted by Razor88 on (December 14, 2010, 15:06 GMT)

Vishal - Plz Don't Rate SL in the league of Ind and SA.What ever the outcome maybe for the Series.Those 2 are the Team to Beat on any surface.England gets an Edge But not that Good against India.SL has a Lot to Prove.Hoping India will Put a Better Show than the last Tour.I would be even Happy with a Draw.But Love to see a 5 Match Series between them.Not because there are Fights Between them,but jus that Both Team Play in the Spirit of the game when playing Each other.Its way better than Ashes.

Posted by SUVIN_2005 on (December 14, 2010, 14:59 GMT)

If we look in the past most of the times Indian batsman were miscarried in these type of conditions...but this time they will fire..especially shewag get a good start..then Indian line up will demolish SA Bowlers...

Posted by venugaandu on (December 14, 2010, 14:55 GMT)

If India lose all 3 Tests they will be No. 1???? Well, I think we all know the top 3 Teams in Test Cricket are SA, Ind & Eng ( Not in order. Well, not yet) Whoever wins this SA v Ind series will definitely be in top 2. Then we would need Eng v Ind series and if Ind wins then the above mentioned order will apply( for common people like myself, others can keep going by the rankings) if Ind lose then of course we would need Eng v SA to decide who the No. 1 Test team really is. My Ranking are No. 1 Ind/SA, NO. 3 Eng, No. 4 SL, No. 5 AUS, NO.6......... Well, doesn't really matter does it??????

Posted by vanchi110 on (December 14, 2010, 14:55 GMT)

AGE MIGHT JUST BE A FACTOR . SEEING THE FORM OF THE EXPERIENCED PLAYERS INDIA HAVE AGE DOES NOT COME IN. SACHIN HAS HAD A GREAT 2010 SEASON . REMEMBER WHEN INDIA FAILED IN T20 WITH SHORT BALLS THE REPLACEMENT MADE WAS BRINGING IN DRAVID . SO ITS HIGHLY EVIDENT THAT THE MIX OF EXPERIENCE AND YOUTH WILL ALWAYS ROCK .!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO INDIA GO!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by avis1001 on (December 14, 2010, 14:52 GMT)

So, looks like everybody is thinking of almost a white wash in favor of SA. Wait and see ...

Posted by vinodkd99 on (December 14, 2010, 14:48 GMT)

Sreesanth and Ishant have to get rid of their No-Ball Syndrome, otherwise India would be in problem as we can hardly ill afford to see umpires extending their right arm after Kallis or Amla nicks one behind of these pacers. On the issue of Sachin ageing, I do not feel that the person who commented like this is keeping track of events on the field. I would put 60-40% in favour of Proteas and in my opinion, Indian Seamers shall define the series and tilt it one way or the other.

Posted by vxttemp on (December 14, 2010, 14:46 GMT)

To mannu11: I'm also not too confident about india's batting in SA conditions, sparing sachin. But I do remember a test in England under Ganguly, chose to bat first in overcast conditions and they piled more than 600. Sanjay bangar was one opener, dravid, sachin and sourav did very well in that and india in fact won that test to level the series.

Posted by westindiancanadian on (December 14, 2010, 14:39 GMT)

test cricket is alive and well friends. This is going to be GREAT series with both teams at the top of their games. I am really looking forward to this. Amla and Steyn will be key for SA. I think SA needs better starting support for Steyn though, Morkel doesn't pack the punch needed against this DEEP batting order.

Posted by J-Dbn on (December 14, 2010, 14:39 GMT)

India does not have the bowlers to beat South Africa , the Indian attack is not consistent and the support to the opening bowlers is woeful to say the least. The Indian batting which is much admired is also agingand will not cope with the sustained pace attack of teh Proteas. A realistic goal for India is to draw or lose the series 1-0 and that with help from wet weather conditions and a sub standard performance by the Proteas. The Proteas top order more than matches the Indian line up on current form and will bebetter suited to the local conditions and will be facing the weaker of the two attacks.My predication is a 3-0 win for the Proteas - weather permitting.An Indian series victory is unlikely .

Posted by Chona on (December 14, 2010, 14:26 GMT)

This is the real test for Indian Team....They have been enjoying home conditions and beating SA, Australia etc while not leaving home....

Now they will have to play on bounciest of pitches...and regrettably for India ..on foreign soil.......!!!!!

Look out for hopping sehwag, skipping laxman+dhoni, and jumping Gambhir.. I think only Sachin will deal with Bounce in a better way....!!! Dravid will play the bouncers but will succumb to fast full pitch deliveries due to slower reflexes... On bowling front they do not have anyone look at for consistency..Zaheer might take a 3'fer or 4'fer here and there... otherwise no FIREPOWER....

So South Africa will have to play badly to lose the series .... India is not good enough to win a test in SA ...on merit...... India's decline from number one will start from this series........Unless weather or other chance\mysterious factors intervene.......

Posted by Sourav1183 on (December 14, 2010, 13:57 GMT)

I think this South African team defenately repeat the same performance which they beat India Very badly in the past. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel is the Best partnership bowlers in the world in recent time. Hashim Amla the new run Machine and as usual Jack Kallis is the Wall for South Africa over the decade and There is Devil, he can disturb the bowlers even in their dream also. And smith the successive captain of South Africa with the new found Opening Partner Alviro Peterson, Only worry for the team is Prime spinner that is Paul Harris. Indian batsmans defenatly fall in trouble with the Pace and Bounce in the Wicket. I think Indian Bowlers are not so consistent they r not looking like wicket taking bowlers i think they would not pick 30 wickets in The Whole series.

Posted by HostileJ on (December 14, 2010, 13:57 GMT)

I think it's unlikely that India will beat us with only 3 frontline seamers in mostly seam friendly conditions.SA boasts the likes of Steyn, Morkel, Parnell, Kallis, Tsotsobe and they can all take a 5for anyday.I also think Johan Botha will be more effective than harris,even though harris posed quite a threat last time India was here.On the other hand I think India has the best batting unit in the world (SA a close 2nd) and with only 3 frontline seamers they would have to put big runs on the board to give themselves a chance.Sachin will do well,so will Dravid and so will Sehwag.The problem for India is that SA is not scared to chase down any total.Smith is due,Prince is due and so is Duminy.Perhaps Petersen is not the answer.I would pick Amla to open with Smith.Ingram/Duminy 3,Kallis 4,DeVilliers 5,Prince 6,Boucher 7,Botha 8, Steyn 9,Parnell 10 and Morkel 11.Thats 11 guys that can all bat.SA should get 500 every time they bat.I predict a 2-1 win for SA.India to win the Newlands test.

Posted by Brenton1 on (December 14, 2010, 13:55 GMT)

So all Indians believe team India are awesome. By Thursday evening they are going to realise that conditions are quite different in SA - we dont have flat tracks and that batsmen actually require some form of technique to survive here. Indias top 7 are going to be begging Steyn and Morkel for mercy before the series is over. As as for Indias pop gun attack - who exactly is striking fear into the hearts of the SA batsmen? The only problems the Indian bolwers will pose to the SA batsmen will be how many runs should they hit off each over. And then Indian fans will be crying about bouncy pitches and bowlers bowling too fast and SA batsmen bullying their team. Its not even going to be a contest - its going to be a massacre.

Posted by bkraks21 on (December 14, 2010, 13:54 GMT)

@mannu11 - check the match below; http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-india-2010/engine/match/249215.html

if you dont know history dont open ur mouth

Posted by tsd2783 on (December 14, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

india is playing away so as usual dravid will be key wicket.as long as he stays on the crease others can play arround him and get the credit .as far as india's bowling concern they don't have a anybody who u can trust for sure will do good since kumble's not arround anymore but i think it's gonna be very intersting series not like an ashsesh we r having now.hopefully will get the result of all the matches and don't end up getting draws.

Posted by timohyj on (December 14, 2010, 13:07 GMT)

taking Harris out of the attack could really dent SA's plans. That is why it will be vital for Sehwag to last for a while and play a big knock

Posted by sankar800 on (December 14, 2010, 13:02 GMT)

Excellent series coming! Waiting........

Posted by PROTEAFAN on (December 14, 2010, 13:01 GMT)

It's a poor analysis that says the Indian seamers will benefit as much from our conditions as our bowlers will. What the writer should bear in mind is that SA's batsmen grew up in these conditions and will be well equipped to handle whatever the Indian pace attack can throw at them. Not so the Indian batsmen.

Posted by BellCurve on (December 14, 2010, 13:01 GMT)

Why do Bet365 and Betfair believe there is a 48% chance for a draw at Centurion? There is only a little rain forecast for the first day, so weather cannot be the explanation. I suspect the betting men know something we don't. I suspect we are going to get another flat track to help the Indian batting heroes reach milestones and break records. Tendulkar's 50th century is big business and big business is all that matters to the BCCI.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (December 14, 2010, 12:30 GMT)

this has to be the blockbuster of the year and i tell u what if each of the 22 players play to their maximum i tell u what it can be the best test series of the 21st century along with the 2001 aus-ind test series and 2005 ashes its gonna be much bolder and bloodier than that

Posted by devilzone-3 on (December 14, 2010, 12:13 GMT)

I am pretty sure India will leave South Africa very much humiliated

Posted by Kirstenfan on (December 14, 2010, 11:48 GMT)

I love test cricket! This is going to be such great cricket to watch, hopefully very competitive and tests go all five days!

Posted by Beertjie on (December 14, 2010, 11:37 GMT)

I'll be glad if India win the series, but it won't happen. As so many have pointed out, it's bowlers who win matches and the Indians aren't as good as the Saffers. It should be a good contest though, but only if Sehwag and Dhoni can lead from the front. Otherwise I expect Steyn, Morkel, etc to pressurise the Indian batsmen. I agree with @sandy_bangalore that "Dravid and Tendulkar are ageing". So is Kallis but you wouldn't believe it if you saw him! If the Indians want to be competitive they should attack Harris without losing their wickets. Without him to hold up an end, they just might sufficiently tire out the pace attack. But given the weather here in Centurion, I wouldn't count on it!

Posted by rayl on (December 14, 2010, 11:33 GMT)

excellent series coming up ashes not so good but expect a run filled series

Posted by ManeeshAhuja on (December 14, 2010, 11:31 GMT)

India is always a good side atleast in batting, but I am still not able to recall any match in the history of the game in which there is an overcast condition on a fast pitch and Indians have even survived in test match, forget about winning.

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 14, 2010, 11:25 GMT)

A fit Zaheer Khan is a must for an Indian win. If Indian fast bowlers(Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth) keep fit for the entire series, India should win the series 2-1. Otherwise, a 2-0 win for South Africa is more likely. I beleive the Indian fast bowlers are slightly better than the South Africans. South Africans have the pace. However, Indians have the experience and better skills. Go Sreesanth, Go Ishy and Go Zak!! We are going to see a ripper.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2010, 11:25 GMT)

South Africa has little home advantage, otherwise both teams are equal. Odds just favour africa 55-45! waa u say guys???

Posted by vishal_pintoo on (December 14, 2010, 11:21 GMT)

Now its a serious thing for me "I am an Indian and Team India is gonna face ELEVEN south africans...!" South African team is good athlete and GARY KIRSTEN's role as Team India's coach will once again be seen interestingly.

Posted by vishal_pintoo on (December 14, 2010, 11:16 GMT)

Ashes, though seen one sided this season so far till the end of second game, will not remain same from the next game. Scene will change, Aussies will come back not because they are the great side, espcially not this time after they said BYE BYE to their mainly responsible cricket guns like Adam Gilchrist, Shane warne topping the list, they are not a good side certainly against teams like South Africa, India or Sri Lanka. Its just English team is not a s good as Indian or South African or Sri Lankan teams. One or two great batting innings made difference for them against Aussies in this ashes. Cook is playing like Sachin Tendulkar and Peterson is same time playing like India's Virendar Sehwag so Aussies could not save the game for them and infact faced a historical defeat. What a pity, they lost this game on their soil against a reasonable team. Peterson (orginally a south african) is a very very crucial player is for sure.

Posted by pranavcrazyguy on (December 14, 2010, 11:09 GMT)

@sandy Ha ha dude, Sachin Tendulkar is ageing? Averaging 82 this year; people talking of his ressurection over the last 3 years..200 in an ODI in February. By expert opinion he's the best batsman in the world once again. He seems to be in the form of his life.

About the series, I wish it was a 4-Test Series. A 2-1 result to either side was a good possibility then. I predict 1-1. The series will be closer than many in SA think. India will show they are deserve the No.1 ranking, but SA will be just good enough to stop the Indians from taking the series. Can expect some testing fast bowling, and Gambhir, Raina and Dhoni will for sure face a few problems. But Sehwag's irreverant brutality and the sheer class of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman will see India make good scores. India's bowling will depend a lot on Zaheer's fitness. If he is fit, he will probably do very well. The dark horse is Ishant Sharma..he really has a chance to come of age if he bowls a couple of devastating spells.

Posted by A_J.. on (December 14, 2010, 11:08 GMT)

The last 2 Weeks, r d most tentious 1s of Corie Van Zyl's Life, hu deprieves here & other, telling the Media, about his "Strategies" framed 4 Virender Sehwag, facing the Proteas Seam Attack. The Whole South African Team is looking scared up by dis Indian Side; same as the Aussies, againest the Englishmen, ahead of dis Season's Ashes. What they want 2 Prove, 4m dis Statements, is d8 dey r nt Worrying 4m d Success of Indian Team in recent Times; bt dey dn't knw, in dees Actions, der Fear of losing der Supremeness on der Home Wickets, by dis Indian Team. There's a time, whn South Arica avoid such type of "WORD-GAME" by d Other Teams, bt nw dey r doing d same thing; 'coz THEY ARE SCARED; & this Fear is cleanly showing up in Their Words. Come-on, jst Wait 4 d Start of the Series, & then Shows ur Strategies for the Opponent, on d Ground; not in Media Confrences. Win Up Matches, if you are Superb, not Horning up the Pre-Match Analysis.

Posted by coolbunny200 on (December 14, 2010, 11:04 GMT)

SA is a much better and stronger side than India, India will loose this one. They only can do better in India.

Posted by ssm2407 on (December 14, 2010, 10:50 GMT)

Cant wait....hopefully this series will be more competitive than the anti-climatic Ashes! Chak de India !

Posted by graffin on (December 14, 2010, 10:36 GMT)

best of luck sachoo for 50th test century.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (December 14, 2010, 10:26 GMT)

Should be a great series...hopefully much better than the one-sided Ashes on currently. South Africa might just edge it though. But expecting a strong showing from the Indian pacers. I feel that SA has the better batting line up, as Dravid and Tendulkar are ageing and a few of them are untested overseas yet.

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