South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town

Newlands track likely to favour batsmen, says curator

Firdose Moonda

December 31, 2010

Comments: 152 | Text size: A | A

Paul Collingwood was the one England batsman to show resolve as he continued his impressive run, South Africa v England, 3rd ODI, Cape Town, November 27, 2009
Conditions during the third Test at Newlands are likely to favour batsmen © PA Photos
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The third Test between South Africa and India will be played "on a good pitch that will last five days," Evan Flint, the Newlands groundsman, told ESPNcricinfo. With the series level at one-all, the Cape Town Test, beginning on January 2, will be the decider in the three-match series.

Newlands traditionally boasts a flat wicket that is batsman-friendly. It has the highest average score, 338.2, for any ground in the country that has hosted more than one Test. That's close to 24 runs greater than the average score at next-highest run-scoring ground in South Africa, Kingsmead in Durban. Flint said the trend is set to continue. "The pitch won't change too much from previous years." It will come as welcome news to the batsmen from both camps, who have had a tough time adjusting to the conditions in the previous two Tests.

Both the Centurion and Durban tracks were lively surfaces that favoured the bowlers initially. The track at SuperSport Park flattened as the sun came out and became excellent for batting. The surface at Kingsmead also became better for batting as the match wore on but there was something in it for the bowlers throughout. The conditions in Newlands will be vastly different.

"I would love to get the same bounce as grounds like SuperSport Park and the Wanderers," Flint said. "The type of bounce we get is different; it's more of a tennis-ball bounce." Flint said his ground offered more of a traditional South African Test-match wicket that was good for batting, particularly on days two and three and turned in favour of the spinners on days four and five.

Flint recognised that South Africa generally "want to get pace and bounce" out of their pitches at home and said he was aware of the home team's desire to exploit their own conditions. "I would like to create a surface that South Africa can get a good result on, but I've just got to do the best I can, and hopefully South Africa can play to their strengths."

There is still a bit of work to do on the surface because the weather has not, up to now, assisted Flint as much as he hoped it would. "It's still not 100%, which is a little bit disappointing. It's been very windy and quite cloudy; a bit cooler than usual, but we still need another really good day of sun." Some showers are forecast for New Year's Day but sunshine is expected to dominate the Test.

Newlands is a fortress for South Africa, where they have won 14 out of 21 Tests since readmission and lost just three, all against Australia. South Africa have beaten India twice in Cape Town, most recently in 2007. On that occasion, the match was also a series decider and South Africa's victory allowed them to clinch the series 2-1.

The one difference between the 2007 match and this one is that three years ago, South Africa went into the game having won the Boxing Day Test after losing the first Test. This season, the opposite has happened. South Africa are under pressure to bounce back after the defeat in Durban, while India are coming off a confidence-boosting win. The stage is set for a grand finale and, fittingly, the first day of the Test match is sold out.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 2, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

@Nadeem - I don't think you need to worry about the curator making a "bore draw" pitch - Newlands since 1992 has had 21 tests with 17 results, only 4 drawn tests, yet it has almost always been a good batting pitch

Posted by AMBH on (January 2, 2011, 6:53 GMT)

@donndaman hey poor boy.. SA played away series ya but hahahaha drawn all except a win against WI(no.7 in ranking).. and in ODIs even more pity won against PAK WI ZIM very big teams keep it up.. poor fellow first win a major ICC title SA.. atleast t20 WC....lol..;) i feel really for ur team... keep it up..;) ur team yet to prove to Cricket World whether u can play at international level.. and really can hold pressure when needed most..!.. becoz all other teams hav major titles to there names.... keep trying man,,,..lol;)

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (January 2, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

Oh come on crutor, why are you making this historical thrilling test series a boaring one in last match. Spice up the series, it should have a result either india wins or sa wins. We all want to see result in this match, its like final of test championship. Dont create flat pitch please. Come on. It will be unfair to see a drawn test , especialy this one. Draw test will make test cricket more boaring. Need results.

Posted by Flat_Track_bullies on (January 2, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

I have a feeling its goin to be a draw - OR having followed India all my life - they're goin to disappoint - like they do in finals and key matches..

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 18:49 GMT)

Hey guys lets jst sit back and enjoy the cricket, lets hope there is no rain and a good surface to play on, moreover, i wish there was a UDRS in place for a fair game.

Posted by adamgilly on (January 1, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

sorry to see indian fans now fighting for SRT VS VVS greatness.... both are great in themselves.... @Magnum_Octopus: well said mate, instead of useless criticising, lets just sit back and enjoy the game... please dont post any derogatory comments about any of the players/country... looking forward to 2-6 and 3-7...

Posted by donndaman on (January 1, 2011, 17:38 GMT)

@ vijaykankanala. U are quite the statistitian. Of all those 11 games that South Africa has played, how many games was @ home???. The answer is 3 my friend. Question how many of the 14 games India has played, was @ home?????. 7 my friend. Has india won any away series against a good opponent in 2010????. No.South Africa is definately the better team. There is no denying. that.

Posted by rohanblue on (January 1, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

why the hell time running so slow??????????? cnt wait fr it to start...

Posted by SnowSnake on (January 1, 2011, 17:15 GMT)

@The_Professor: calling Don Bradman better than SRT is as ridiculous as calling SRT better than Don. Unless Don played 175 tests and maintained an average of over 99, these two cannot be compared. Circumstances including types of bats, pitches, number of teams playing test cricket, time gap between tests, rest days within a test match, timeless tests, lack of neutral umpires, lack of 3rd umpires for checking run outs, frequency with which a player played cricket, number of venues, number of teams playing cricket (leading to different number of bowlers to face), different formats of the game etc. are so different that these comparisons do not make sense. Don has unassilable average and Sachin will probably have unassilable total number of tests+ODI centuries & much more.

Posted by sudhs_107 on (January 1, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

@cricketfan1 and Wangde -- I watched the hawk eye of that wicket many times because you had mentioned. And I don't think it was going to hit stumps!! There was some inward movement but, trajectory shown in hawk eye seems to be correct. Surely, the system would have built based on lot of mathematical formulas and calculations. There can be slight variations in the trajectory from the actual as no system can be complete foolproof. But, don't think it will be huge problem in the system.

Posted by Dimescream on (January 1, 2011, 16:18 GMT)

Guys, stop arguing. The third test is either a draw or India's victory.

Posted by indianpunter on (January 1, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

Hope the Capetown tests lives up to its billing as a fitting finale. I am indian, but i feel that it would be a draw or a SA win. Of course, it would be great if India wins. India could try a few different things and i agree with promoting Pujara to number 3. This would serve 2 purposes. One , it will be a window to the future and more importantly, i think that Dravid is going to ruin it for India by killing any momentum gained by sehwag. We brought him here saying that we needed someone to play the bouncing ball. He has shown that he can't. It would be a travesty to take the (then) 39 yr old Dravid to England in July because he previously played the swinging ball well. He will not make another run there. Move ahead India.

Posted by arun_cheers on (January 1, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

@ ClassyJatin - agreed, that should help in the long run. I always thought Laxman shoud have started batting at No:3 starting atleast 4 years back. That way we would have got to see more of his POETIC innings more often. His shots are too soothing to the eyes ! With Laxman batting, its artistry at its peak ! ..... and @Sarthak Mohapatra - well said, dude ! cheers !

Posted by swaroopjammula on (January 1, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

guys whether it is sachin or laxman it is finally INDIA which benefits.lets not fight on this.criticizing either of them means degrading ourselves.both of them are true champions n their own way.lets not fight on this and be laughing stock of others.

Posted by arun_cheers on (January 1, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

@Arjun Yadav ... hehe ... sit back and enjoy the batsmanship of Lax, dude ! Chill out ! Sachin is really down to earth even though he has most of the records to his name, but his fans are a bit adamant. So for them I say "hip hip hurray - Sachin, Laxman, Zaheer !". Hope that will keep them happy ! :)

Posted by Cricketfan100 on (January 1, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

Arjun Yadav, do you understand difference between yoker and bouncer?

Posted by titansnights on (January 1, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

the one difference that has been mentioned, about who won the boxing day test match, is NOT the only difference....Greg Chappel is no more the captain and its indeed an honest and hard working Gary Kirsten....Sachin and Sehwag are in top form and Bhajji wont be left out in this test match, as what happened in 2007, in a spin-friendly track....Dhoni's tactics are a lot better than Dravid's and most importantly Indian team is mentally strong.....But the absence of Kumble is the only disadvantage, as far as I am concerned..Good Luck India

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 12:09 GMT)

@ Arjun Yadav.........are u jealous of Laxman.........why cant u appreciate his silken batting which is a treat to the eyes............dont post useless comments.....lest u be laughed at.........so plz............post proper comments................

Posted by ClassyJatin on (January 1, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

Hi All, I would like to see Chetaswar Pujara Batting at Number 3 and Dravid batting at Number 6, see there is nothing to take away from great man Dravid but by doing this a prospective number 3 will be groomed also as now with the form and age factor Dravid can offer more to the team by making some hard fought fifties or so instead of asking for a huge score everytime he goes on to bat. Comments please .........

Posted by arun_cheers on (January 1, 2011, 12:00 GMT)

@Arjun Yadav ... hehe ... sit back and enjoy the batsmanship of Lax, dude ! Chill out ! Sachin is really down to earth even though he has most of the records to his name, but his fans are a bit adamant. So for them I say "hip hip hurray - Sachin, Laxman, Zaheer !". Hope that will keep them happy ! :)

Posted by sameer997 on (January 1, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

I just hope it is not a draw.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

my mistake in last comment. Laxman hits century every 13th innings (i wrote he hits century every 7th innings). So guys you are saying that the one who hits century every 6th innings (sachin) is not winning anything for indians but laxman who hits century every 13th innings is the one winning all the matches for us. By the logic presented here 12 innings out of 13 do not matter because laxman fails in 12 innings out of 13. Great logic guys keep it up.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

@arun_cheers ".. dont be so dump, dude. Laxman made enough runs to the indian total so that Zaheer can defend." ----------------- you mean laxman and zaheer and many others who batted with him. If zaheer got out early explain how laxman had made his 96. Laxman is a batsman and batting is expected of him. Zaheer is not a batsman so whatever he did are much more valuable. Further your brute of a delivery by steyn in first test is an excuse. Do you have excuses for all the times laxman failed. If laxman is not the top scorer in test cricket and also he is not top century getter, i guess he fails more often than succeeds. For example laxman hits 100 every 7 innings roughly. So what are your excuses for those 6 innings he fails out of 7. (Tendulkar hits 100 every 5.7 innings and he clearly does not win anything for indians by the look of comments).

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 1, 2011, 9:59 GMT)

@Gopal - you're right about provocation and I wish India and her fans didn't have to put up with it. Fact is, India have been the most successful team in the world over the last 18 months, regardless of where they've played cricket. In that case they deserve to be #1. If another team can put together the same kind of results over time, then they will displace India, and I'm sure genuine cricket fans around the world will acknowledge and respect that. But for now, all hail team India because you guys play excellent cricket. Even when you're not on top form, like against NZ recently, you win series, and that's what great teams are all about :-)

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (January 1, 2011, 9:53 GMT)

@Nampally, in fairness I don't think I said that all Indian fans are arrogant, and if you read the posts I reacted to, I'm sure you can acknowledge that they are at the very least immodest. I wish there didn't have to be all these stupid mind games from the respective camps and the media as well, which just get the silly jingoistic 'fans' on both sides worked up. Guys, the 2 highest-rated teams on the planet are playing an absorbing cricket series, the fourth (?) in a row that has had a 1-1 scoreline either during or at the end of the series: shouldn't that be enough for anyone (Saffer or Indian) without resorting to posturing? I have utmost respect for Indian fans, but those guys highjacked the conversation about the pitch preparations, to boast about how the curator was running scared in the face of the anticipated drubbing from Almighty Team India. Guys, both teams can play exceptional cricket, watch and enjoy without resorting to chest thumping, and ignore the provocation.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

why dont u ppl stop fighting and let our players do the talking on the ground...

Posted by arun_cheers on (January 1, 2011, 9:44 GMT)

@Prerna Yadav ... dont be so dump, dude. Laxman made enough runs to the indian total so that Zaheer can defend. So in batting Laxman is the key in Indian line up when it matters, and in bowling Zaheer is the key. And lets not forget that batting is more of a team activity than bowling, and when the best batsmen in your team bats at no:5 or 6, he will need to be supported by the tailenders when the so called specialist batsmen get out cheaply ! ;) Also talking about the first test match, the delivery by Styne to Laxman was a brute of a delivery and the pitch misbehaving so badly, with so much uneven bounce the first day ... I am sure no batsman would have countered that ball effectively. And to put things in place, I would say had we bowled first in the first test match, India would have won that as well ... or atleast drawn that as we didnot have Zaheer for the match!!!

Posted by KunalKrish on (January 1, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

I strongly believe, and am sure every Indian will, India is at the forefront of its first genuine overseas Test Series victory. Especially on fast tracks of SA. God bless all.

Posted by sonjjay on (January 1, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

@Magnum_Octopus & simz504 totally agree.If u see the comments section of the ashes those are flooded by inspid comments from Indian fans which is frustating to watch its not like we can can keep a tab on what others say but they represent "Indian fans" @JustOut you are spot on IPL is a junk tournament and CLT20 a waste by product of it.I too hope someone puts and end to this stupidity @Dave Fair If its raining heavily I think the pitch should have moisture in it which will make it difficult to bat atleast on day one and probably part of day 2 so a result seems possible.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

it doesnt seem a good trend in cricinfo shouting abuses at other cricket fans. It would be a lot better if we sit back n enjoy the cricket which is in store. As for the third test , India would have to really bowl well to win the third test if it favours the batsmen, otherwise she can expect a terrible mauling from the SA middle order. to be frank, india was quite lucky to get amla,kallis and de villiers cheaply in both innings.Ishant will have to step up a gear n put a better performance to sustain the pressure n sreesanth a bit more consistent. Hope the batsmen dont crumble under pressure like last time ; dravid in particular, god knows wht happ to him , he needs to stop defending outside off stump if he does not wish to score those balls. The sad thng is he does not hve a sound replacement, dont thnk india will be number 1 for too long, enjoy while the sweet run lasts !

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

@ Shokat Shah " unless u have a player like laxman who could bat sensibly and score when it matters the most." ---------- When it matters the most. Great phrase but utterly meaningless. What you are saying is that the first test in series did not matter. Is this you are saying?? Because it seems to me that laxman failed there. Or your definition of matches that matter is the matches when laxman plays well. Even in second match it was not laxman who won us the match. Zaheer was the real hero. Who helped in getting SA out for 131 in first innings and batted enough so that laxman could have scored his 96. Without zaheer you could not have won this match even if laxman had hit 300 runs. In the end if laxman had hit 200 in first innings we would not be in that situation but laxman did not hit 200 rather he created a crisis and then projected himself as savour. If he plays well in first innings we will never need any rescue.

Posted by Shakers_Movers on (January 1, 2011, 7:46 GMT)

Come what may, this has been a fantastic series of test cricket and I have enjoyed it to the maximum. It would be interesting to see handle how the Indian batsmen Steyn & Co in batsmen friendly conditions. Hope we have another cracker of a match tomorrow!!

Posted by CSK-FAN on (January 1, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

@Flat_Track_bullies ...may be you r right.I feel it now and then!

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

Some people think that because Newlands is a batsman-friendly wicket, it will produce dull and dreary draws like at Brisbane or Hyderabad etc. I don't think that will be the case. I think on the 1st day the pitch will have something for the seamers, then it will flatten out to a good batting track, and may have something for spinners on last two days.I think the 3rd Test will definitely produce a result.Possibly it can be a thriller decided only in last session of 5th day.That would be a perfect end to a great series.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

I live 2km from Newlands and it's pouring rain here! Been bucketing down since early morning. If it stops in time tomorrow it will leave a pitch that will suit the Indians more than SA. Prediction: high scoring draw.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

@Flat_Track_bullies rightly said bro...even I had felt the same thing. There is definitely more quality and more intensity in Ind- SA series.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 1, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

@NoCountry_for_OldMen: Dhoni was not the captain when India won in WI, SA, Aus or England. That credit goes to Dravid and Kumble. In fact, this is Dhoni's first series against a strong opposition outside sub-continent. Am amazed how soon people have forgetten achievements of Kumble and Dravid. The success of the team has more to do with the responsibility taken up by Fab Five+Zaheer along with Saurav, Dravid and Kumble as captains than captaincy of Dhoni.

Posted by Vilander on (January 1, 2011, 6:59 GMT)

SA is really the only side that India respects greatly the others are beatable most often than not, it appears reversed for SA, unbeatable most of than not is SA. There is a reason why we have Gary as coach. And SL fans have to understand, respect is earned, albeit slowly and painstakingly, india is a case in point after morethan an year at the top India stiill have much to prove to garner respect, you can not get frustrated by the lack of it.

Posted by chin-music on (January 1, 2011, 6:38 GMT)

@magnum_octopus, simz : You said it ! There is a ultra vocal minority of irrational bigots in every team's fan base - & sadly India seems to have more than its fair share. Believe me , for the vast majority of genuine cricket lovers in India - they are an embarassment & certainly do no credit to the team or nation they claim to be backing.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

@NoCountry_for_OldMan have you gone crazy which Champions trophy are you talking about? And FYI india has won the T20 due to players like Irfan, Yuvraj and sehwag without these performing or injured see how were they bashed by teams in group stages itself and BCCI`s trick of not using UDRS paid off when the crazy umpires sent ABD and Boucher off, As they say they play in spirit of game why dont use UDRS ?

Posted by Flat_Track_bullies on (January 1, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

I find it odd CRICINFO puts all India Saffers tests below the Ashes in importance/no of articles/references et. Although I understand historic importance of Ashes, I'm sure India playing Saffers deserve equal if not more respect. I wish there was another site I could go and feel indian fans fairly treated! Does anyone else feel the same??

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 6:27 GMT)

Hope India wins this match and prove all sundry that they truly are the "Numero Uno" in Test!

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

Not sure if the Cape Town pitch is anything near what it is proclaimed to be in this article. It is said that it has the highest average score for any ground in the country whilst Kingsmead is said to have the second highest. We all know what the scores were in Kingsmead in the match that ended a couple of days ago. Not a single innings touched 300. So lets not get carried away by the predictions here. India just has to apply itself well and bag the series.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 6:14 GMT)

Expect this match to be no holds barred slanging game. u can bet S A will try to provoke SRI, BHAjji, ZAK & even SAchin.so as to get them off their stride. but India should give back more than what they get. Also there will be short pitched deliveries hope no beamers. The umpires & match refree have to be on their toes. for at the end nobody should complain there were umpire goof ups.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

Not a single Indian batter has been consistent in this series except I would say Dhoni (a little though). Still the series is in balance. What will happen, if at least 2-3 of them show what they are capable of; it will dent any chance that S. Africans are dreaming of. Law of averages predict Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid and Pujara have fair good chances of delivering. hope Sehwag flourishes........and a resounding series win for India> Ahhhhh....what a thought.....hope not day-dreaming on New Year Day!

Posted by ScorpionAwals on (January 1, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

@Red_Xander... very well said... now get ready baby its Madrassa time..u r getting late. Maulana is going to select players for World Cup.

Posted by arya_underfoot on (January 1, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

south africa should by now realize that if the indian bowlers are given a pitch that offers consistent assistance to the bowlers throughout the test match, then they will lose. simply put, indian bowlers are awesome when conditions are helpful. they have shown this on numerous occasions around the world. i'm certain that newlands will be a fast, batsman-friendly wicket where they'll want a repeat of the centurion batting perfomance...

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 5:12 GMT)

SL fas u better shut da hell up b4......... India wins da 2011 world cu p...! and stop being jealous of india just coz ur team is failing miserably now n our team is da number1 test team in da world. Your team led by kumar sangakarra has lost all the potential n strenth that they had......dey r worse than Bangladesh n Zimbabwe now!!!

Posted by Gizza on (January 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT)

I think the people commenting are taking the flat pitch thing too seriously. Yes the pitch will be flatter than the other South African pitches but it won't be like pitches back in India. I think it will still be tougher to bat on than Adelaide in Australia probably and even in Adelaide most games are not draws. This pitch will be on the flatter side but won't be VERY flat. No pitches SA or Australia (or for that matter England) are VERY flat.

Posted by streetblader on (January 1, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

ha ha.... to think of the audacity of these Sri Lankan fans to even question India's status. But then its always true, minnows always look upon greater powers with envy; specially if they happen to be neighbors. so nothing out of the ordinary here. Let the worthless speak as much crap as they possibly can. and here are the stats now: AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA- SRI LANKA HAS NEVER WON A SINGLE TEST MATCH ABROAD --- AGAINST AUSTRALIA- SRI LANKA HAS NEVER WON A MATCH ABROAD OR AT HOME (NOT A SINGLE WIN IN 20 TESTS THEY HAVE PLAYED TOGETHER, LOL), SRI LANKA HAS ALSO NEVVER EVER WON ON WEST INDIAN SOIL.. Thats it, the record says it all. In terms of wins outside home, their record is as good as Bangladesh themselves. Sri Lankan fans should be proud of this feat. ha ha. India on the other hand has won at PERTH, ADELAIDE (TWICE), MELBOURNE (TWICE), SYDNEY in Australia alone, besides at least one win in every other foreign ground in the world. Bottomline: INDIA No. 1 (and that's ICCs official too)

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

Likely to be a bit of a stale mate in Cape Town

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 3:54 GMT)

i think its better that ojha is picked instead of ishant since newlands has some reputation for favouring spinners.Even in 2006 munaf was picked ahead of bhajji and he was of not much use in 2nd innings(bowled only one over).....Chappel was drilled by media to justify munaf's selection and he could not justify properly......

Posted by ILuvTests on (January 1, 2011, 3:13 GMT)

I agree with Wangde on the Boucher delivery. The commentators? Sorry to add this but they are all biased. Or should I say confirmed BCCI haters. By the way while a lot has been written on this website about Sachin and UDRS, the players who oppose it, including Sachin, point to exactly this flaw - starting with the system being calibrated to one pitch and tgemakers not even informing anyone about which pitch it is! Wow, and this is tge panacea to all ills? I will take the on field umpires decisions anyday even if it includes a few howlers once in a while.

Posted by The_Professor on (January 1, 2011, 2:50 GMT)

While these STUPID INDIAN FANS (few not all) fight over the greatness of VVS vs SRT, SA is preparing to win the series at Newlands!!! Can these DUMB-ASS 'so called Team India fans' PLS BE CONSTRUCTIVE and exchange ideas as to how we can win the series. Let me help you focus by reminding you that DON BRADMAN is the greatest - way better than SRT or VVS...so no point in arguing over who is second-best. Now to the real stuff - I suggest that India will increse their chances of winning the final test if: 1. Both Sreesanth (although he bowled ok in the second innings) and Ishant bowl in mid to high 140's as opposed to their current pedestrian low to mid 130's! 2. Ishant should use tape measure (like all modern day bowlers) to avoid bowling no-balls. 3. Sehwag needs to apply himself better (he is not consistent enough outside of the sub-continent). 4. Gambhir, Dravid & Pujara need to play some attacking shots in order to get the score moving forward - too defensive at present.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 1:56 GMT)

to Prerna Yadev well I think u mis my point, no doubt sachin is the best there is no match for it, one could score not 7 centuries but 1700 in a calendar year like Mohamamd Yousuf did but could not make it to no #1 position with even better bowling attack, unless u have a player like laxman who could bat sensibly and score when it matters the most.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 1:37 GMT)

Sri Lankan darkies are extremely jealous of india because despite having a second string bowling attack india beat sri lanka in sri lanka. sri lanka has never won in england, south africa, australia and yet they wanna be number 1. hahahhahahahhaha what a joke.

Posted by geraldf on (January 1, 2011, 1:18 GMT)

@Magnum_octopus, I salute you! Very well said. I'm Indian, and the way that people have been gloating about the Indian team is pretty disgraceful. For so many years everyone discriminated the Aussies for their arrogance etc. but it looks like the fans are taking their place. And NO-ONE wants to take their place, I can assure you.

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 1, 2011, 0:49 GMT)

The batting track was very much expected. South Africa's or any other teams' best chance against India is a Batting track. Because, India's batting is vulnerable to good fast bowling and good spin bowling and in a batting track, Indian batsmen are over confident and will throw their wickets away. That will put the opposition under control and if they can manage one spinner and 3 seam bowlers in a flat track and score 600 runs, they can get an innings win. Worst case for the opposition will be a tame draw. In a bowling wicket, Indian batsmen's experience and determination will edge out their counterparts' efforts. In the end, that will prove to be decisive and India will win.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

if india goes in to bat first,the openers have to give a good start and have to bat out the first session without losing more than 1 wicket,and as the curator said,the wicket will be batting friendly and the moisture will ease out making it a batting paradise for the next 3 days,on the other hand i would like india to bowl first and test south african batsmen with the early seeming conditions,exploit the moisture,and hope to go in and bat sometime early in the second day

Posted by Runster1 on (January 1, 2011, 0:34 GMT)

where are all the AUSSIES now? See, india isnt the country with the most favourable pitch for batting.

Posted by NoCountry_for_OldMan on (December 31, 2010, 23:57 GMT)

SL fans, it seems, are very jealous of team India and its major achievements under Dhoni such as winning the 20/20 WC, Champions Trophy, Tests at Perth, Jamaica, Durban, Headignley, P Sara Oval and Multan. If test matches are the main things as many accept than SL has failed miserably in the last decade. They had the team but could not do it. I mean if you can not do it with Muthia Mchuckridharan what chances do you have later. Plus, mahela and Sangkara show worrisome tendency of scoring only on familiar pitches.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (December 31, 2010, 23:55 GMT)

Sad news for cricket. WHY ANOTHER BATTING PITCH?

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 23:37 GMT)

VVS- Well done again. It is high time that people of India should start recognizing the greatness of a player like VVS. He is underrated and less hyped when compared to several others.

Posted by cricketfan1 on (December 31, 2010, 23:36 GMT)

I agree with Wangde about Zaheer's in-cutter to Boucher that got him out. The hawk eye seems to be totally wrong in this case. I don't know about these technical equipments. Can someone explain in detail how this hawk eye thing works?

Posted by vijaykankanala on (December 31, 2010, 23:30 GMT)

In 2010,

India played 14 Test matches in which it won 8, 3 matches went on to be a draw and it lost 3 matches.

On the other hand, SA played 11 Test matches in which it won 5 matches, 4 matches were drawn, and lost 2 matches.

The winning percentage of India is (8/14) = 57.14% The winning percentage of South Africa is (5/11) = 45.45%

This itself states the difference between the two teams....

After looking into this stats,"I definitely believe that India deserves its top spot and always a step ahead of South Africa"....

Posted by IAS2009 on (December 31, 2010, 23:05 GMT)

Flat pitch will be not good for India, Indian Bowlers will have hard time getting wickets (20 to win), SA have genuine quick bowlers to get wickets, If Indian batsmen plays well it will be drawn match.

India are due to win a toss and if they do and Sehwag can score a quick big hundred or double India will win test match. Quick runs put lot of pressure on opponent, This is one of the big reason for Aussies dominance in last decade Langer and Hayden destroyed teams, Sehwag is in same class, on his day he is nightmare for bowlers.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 23:02 GMT)

@Shokat Shah "I think Laxman is the only player being responsible for India's 1 position " ------------------- Off course laxman is responsible for no. 1 position. It was laxman who got them out for 131 in second test. And it was laxman who made sure that whatever paltry target we gave them could not be chased down. Its been laxman who is taking 20 wickets for us in every winning match. Why he did not take 20 wickets in first test by the way when zaheer was not playing??? And even in batting department why is tendulkar averaging nearly 80 in year 2010 with 7 centuries. I am sorry it is not tendulkar it is laxman who is scoring all this runs. :-D

Posted by moBlue on (December 31, 2010, 22:41 GMT)

india is generally much stronger in all departments of the game than it was in 2006 and *can* beat the saffers at newlands, with the current SA team being weaker than their respective 2006 batting and bowling units. if dhoni wins the toss, india should bat first. india's track record at newlands from 1997 and 2006 shows that india lost both times *primarily* because of its second inning batting collapses, and of the two experiences, india could have actually won in 2006 when they batted first [and achieved a small first inning lead over the saffers!], if they had batted sensibly in the second inning and scored an extra 90 runs. i disagree with those who say that *this* indian team are "merely flat-track bullies" because india have adapted and played much better on seaming [england, WI, pak.], fast/bouncy [aus., SA] tracks than all of those *current* teams have adapted to the spinning pitches of asia. playing good spin bowling on hostile tracks is also an art, and a key part of cricket!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 22:32 GMT)

I think Laxman is the only player being responsible for India's 1 position, if u do not agree with me look at the recent matches India won against world best teams. and he can bat on any suface any inning any giving day. well done Laxman.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 22:22 GMT)

While I agree with Nampally that the discussion should be on the topic of the post here, I'd like to respond to Magum_Octopus's remarks. Magnum, if you'd ve noticed, most of the harsh/derogatory remarks made by the Indian fans would be a reaction to irrational comments made either by fans of other countries (most often) or by ex players or the so called experts!! There is still a perception that India is no. 1 because they play well at home.. The thing is we were better at home in the 90's and used to whitewash teams more often than we do now. The change is the performance abroad due to which we've come to this position. Personally I feel this SA line up is a formidable one and by and large it commands great respect among Indians, and unlike other teams is the only one which has challenged India even in India. However, when you get comments like the one made by Darren Gough recently, you can see the reason. Hope this gets published!! :-)

Posted by moBlue on (December 31, 2010, 22:17 GMT)

i looked up scorecards for the two games india played at newlands in 1997 and 2006. it was insightful. in january 1997, the saffers batted first and batted us out of the game. tendulkar got a big hundred and azhar another hundred in the first inning response but they didn't matter when the indian batting failed the second time around batting fourth. in 2006, india batted first, did well, and got a small lead on the saffers. but our brittle batting failed again in the second inning, and the saffers only had to chase 211 batting last, which they achieved with 5 wickets in hand. zaheer khan took 4 out of those 5 wickets, and kumble the other. if india had set the saffers a target of 300, something which that team was eminently capable of doing until that point, the result may well have been different! so, if india bats first, and bats sensibly in both innings, this indian team whose bowling is much stronger than it was in 2006, should be able to beat SA with a much weaker batting unit!

Posted by MadCricter on (December 31, 2010, 21:42 GMT)

Wow!! Very exciting 3rd test. (Although, I should admit, really enjoying the Ashes... Eng crushing the Aussies). Hmmm!! Actually, I agree with Smith's comments regarding their batting... well!! that's what happens under pressure. Indians came with a lot of intensity & desire after the 1st test debacle. Ofcourse, Zaheer gave a big boost. I like to keep Pujara for Raina... really need to groom Pujara for Tests, and keep Raina for ODI/T20. Test is not the thing for Raina, his technique is flawed & gets exposed, same with Yuvraj, and Ganguly for that matter (never liked Ganguly). 3rd Test, most likely SA will win. Steyn & Morkel are truly deadly even on flat tracks, so imagine other than Zaheer, we don't have a bowler who can trouble SA. Harris in 1st test was very loud mouth, look for Indians to crush his ego. Very dissapointed by Dravid & Tendulkar in 2nd test, the way they got out in both the innings. If they regain their composure, it will be an interesting finish. Happy New Year.

Posted by JaySrinivasan on (December 31, 2010, 21:07 GMT)

Hi, I hope Chateshwar Pujara gets an opportunity to bat at 1 down instead of Rahul Dravid.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 20:58 GMT)

south african fans are talking big..guys hang on..the world cup is in india dont forget that...if we start making spinning tracks u ppl will lose very badly...we know how to win on a fast track in durban but u dnt know how to counter spin in india...so dont boast urself by talking big...whenever u talk big ur team suffers badly...first win the world cup then call urself no. 1..bunch of chokers and jokers on field

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 20:41 GMT)

city of good hope and i hope indians do well, with no doubt in my mind Sachin will try his best to get a great start to new year so will Jacque Kallis, so my eyes and money on two greatest cricketers of all time Sahin& Kallis..Results awaited, but i'm sure this will be a 300+ avg innings match...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 20:38 GMT)

Just a test before, Eng had an innings defeat. Just to remind to Darren Gough, who says England can beat India. India is ready for the test. Eng?

Posted by Wangde on (December 31, 2010, 20:03 GMT)

I agree with what Sanjay Manjrekar has said about India needing lively pitches. They have to get more experience playing on them and Harbhajan is unfortunately not a great spinner to consistently take wickets on the 4th and 5th days. Also lets hope that the ICC will only implement the UDRS once most of the flaws have been eliminated. I dont always agree with hawk eye's prediction. Just look at the delivery that got Boucher out. The predicted path of the delivery was completely wrong. That ball was moving towards the stumps. Just look at the replays again. Its unbelievable how the commentators have missed that.

Posted by titansnights on (December 31, 2010, 19:58 GMT)

the one difference that has been mentioned, about who won the boxing day test match, is NOT the only difference....Greg Chappel is no more the captain and its indeed an honest and hard working Gary Kirsten....Sachin and Sehwag are in top form and Bhajji wont be left out in this test match, as what happened in 2007, in a spin-friendly track....Dhoni's tactics are a lot better than Dravid's and most importantly Indian team is mentally strong.....But the absence of Kumble is the only disadvantage, as far as I am concerned..Good Luck India

Posted by Azilur on (December 31, 2010, 19:57 GMT)

Well,,well...do agree IND and SA are top two test teams , no doubts on that. The third test will ultimately see the No.1 among them .....Team with all round performance's will win......My bets on SA as i believe they are more a balanced side than IND.

Posted by rohanblue on (December 31, 2010, 19:55 GMT)

i think india going to strugle in flat pitch, as dale steyn can pick up wickets in any condition, he is an outstanding bowler

Posted by rohanblue on (December 31, 2010, 19:55 GMT)

i think india going to strugle in flat pitch, as dale steyn can pick up wickets in any condition, he is an outstanding bowler

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 19:52 GMT)

If Dhoni wins the toss this time, India wins the match and the series. Put SA into bat and let Zaheer and Co. exploit the pace and bounce of thee first day and get 8 wkts. on the first day. The bats out 2nd and 3rd day as the pitch flattens and Indians get at least 2 centuries. And on the turning track on day 4 & 5 SA brittle batting line up crashes to Bhajji and Co. for an innings defeat. Sweet justice. Go India.

Posted by Nampally on (December 31, 2010, 19:50 GMT)

@Magnum_octopus:This article discusses about pitch being prepared as batsmen freindly after 2 green pitches. So the discussion here should be about the impact of such annoncement on either side and psychology of this. You miss the Point & turned on the Indian Fans as being arrogant.You are forgetting that Smith was not gracious in accepting the SA defeat & did not credit Indian team duly. Instead he said the test was lost because of bad batting implying that the bowlers & 11 fielders did nothing to make batsmen falter. How sporting is that? Phase 2 of mind games continue. Was it necessary to announce the type of pitch being prepared? First SA intimidated India by saying face chin Music on fast bowlers pitches. So India responded by 1-1 tie in 2 tests. Dhoni has said bring on any pitch - greener the better. The mind game now changes to batting wicket.The fans get incensed with such media tactics & hence their outbursts.All Sensible fans just stick to the subject matter and comment .

Posted by AsherCA on (December 31, 2010, 19:36 GMT)

Guys, let the world face it - Aussie #1 has been unduly supported by "human errors" of ICC umpires. SA & England are good teams, but just that, good. Worse, all 3 of them are shameless, graceless & brainless. They call Indian batsmen flat-track bullies for what - getting more runs against their "Great" bowling attacks under Indian conditions ? Help me understand what it makes a) Their batsmen who could not last long enough against the "weaker" Indian bowlers. b) Their bowlers who got battered under the same conditions where "weaker" Indian bowlers got their batsmen out. Add to that, bowlers from Australia, SA & England have the benefit of better fielding support.

Posted by Mannix16 on (December 31, 2010, 19:36 GMT)

Completely agree with Magnum.... Especially on cricinfo there are a lot of die hard indian fans. There is nothing wrong with being a die hard fan for your country, but please to all you Indian fans out there, do not be arrogant about it and gloat that your country is no 1 and all..... You will find very quick that the other fans will start to hate Indian cricket team just like many hated the Australians.

Posted by Sam4fun on (December 31, 2010, 19:30 GMT)

@Dil_CricketFan: "I wonder how Indian bowlers are going to take any wicket, especially Sreesant" You just need a short memory to remember that Kallis was all but squared up by a player who does not deserve to play domestic matches (?). Sore loser! Time to grow up dude.

Posted by SnowSnake on (December 31, 2010, 19:30 GMT)

If SA does not win this series then they don't deserve to be #2 because they may be the first team who will have a poor home record. How can SA win outside games if they cannot win at home?

Posted by Red_Xander on (December 31, 2010, 19:27 GMT)

Insha Allah all will perish nd Pakistan will once again rule world cricket ! Indians r stoopid jerks & Proteas are bloody racists only Pakistanis have da fire power to skittle out all the countries ! Bring on Shoaib & Shahid!

Posted by NoCountry_for_OldMan on (December 31, 2010, 19:24 GMT)

SL fans, it seems, are very jealous of team India and its major achievements under Dhoni such as winning the 20/20 WC, Champions Trophy, Tests at Perth, Jamaica, Durban, Headignley, P Sara Oval and Multan. If test matches are the main things as many accept than SL has failed miserably in the last decade. They had the team but could not do it. I mean if you can not do it with Muthia Mchuckridharan what chances do you have later. Plus, mahela and Sangkara show worrisome tendency of scoring only on familiar pitches.

Posted by Nataraj_Krishnaswamy on (December 31, 2010, 18:59 GMT)

India has improved a lot in the recent past. India might not be as dominant as the all conquering Aussies were, in the current scenario if you have to pick a number one team it has to be India closely followed by SA. If India could not win against NZ even SA could not against an Underperforming PAK Team. Eng have retained the Ashes doesnt mean they are world beaters now they have improved a lot no doubt. There is no clear diffference between the to 4 Teams (Ind SA Eng SL??). I hav doubts to claim that SL is in the top 4 as they are very good at home and havnt perfromd well outside SL(even in India) let alone alien conditions such as AUS,SA and ENG.

Posted by shri619 on (December 31, 2010, 18:48 GMT)

man forgot this seris only 50 days remaining to world cup 2011........world cup is lot to me, than this stupid kind of series were 5 days matches are ending in 3 days.

Posted by MasterClass on (December 31, 2010, 18:38 GMT)

@JustOUT - Good thoughts for the new year! I'd like to add one more: Hope the comments here are to the point and in good spirit! Let's not forget at the end of the day it's test cricket we all love, and have in common!

Posted by gaithersburgman on (December 31, 2010, 18:34 GMT)

Neither side would like to lose this series after being evenly poised. It won't be the pitch alone that will ultimately decide the result. It can be the weather, or injuries or even the changing strategies of the captains, depending on the circumstances. Cannot predict the outcome now, but will know during the 3rd session of 3rd day, which way the match is tilting. After that session in particular the outcome will be predictible with no big surprises to follow.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 18:34 GMT)

i see south african players wayning about the loss that impire was drunk. I think its about time India should consider using UDRS, because the more they opposed to it, the more they be critise for it.for not wanning to play a fair game.

Posted by mk49_van on (December 31, 2010, 18:33 GMT)

Ah, wish I could go to Cape Town and see this match., instead I am stuck here in a Northern Hemispheric winter. For what it is worth (not much!) here is a prediction. India will bat first an put on a big one - on the back of a Viru mega-knock. SA will do well too, but concede a lead of 100 or so. India will set ~400 for SA - in a session and a day. And SA ladies and gentleman will choke ... :) A few seasons ago this would have been a fairytale ending (with roughly the same chance of occurring as most fairly tales) but after Mohali and Durban and assorted other tests, this story has a ring of reality to it, thanks to one Man. VVS!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 18:27 GMT)

Plz magnum and all those people bashing Indian Fans. Give me a break. AUS, ENG and SAs are the worst loosers and worst winners as far as dignity and grace are concerned. The cry foul when they are on the receiving end. And forget about Fans, their players are like that. Ricky Ponting is the best example. Hear that guy Darren Gough, after beating the worst Aussie team ever, says Eng is the best team and can beat India every day of the week. Some dignity and Grace. India was the first team that challenged Aussie team in when it was Aus was on peak and that too in Aus.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 18:20 GMT)

i think if am sorry for my comments then would also like from u guys to accept that the indians r no more a flat track bullies(becoz am frustrated of reading these cmnts from u guys),we really posses some class therefore we r placed where we r nd we deserve that.

Posted by finisher on (December 31, 2010, 17:58 GMT)

As fan of cricket i want to see a nice game of test cricket. Hope so this ground provides that. As for indian cricket i have to say they have earned their number 1 ranking. nobody used to complain when Aus were number 1. India may not as dominant as Aus were, but still they are the team to beat now. the first test match loss you should take into account they did not get any practice matches. no team can go to SA and win the first match if they do not have any practice games.the bowling and batting conditions are quite different.India do not have great bowling attack as SAF, but if the pitch will take some turn it will give some advantage to india. hope we have good test match

Posted by WAiWiA on (December 31, 2010, 17:56 GMT)

Another beautiful test match! Can't wait for it. I sure hope there is a result - and if that happens on the 5th day, LAST SESSION, nothing like it!

On another note: Die hard team India or team SA supporters: Relax! Its just a game. Irrespective of which team wins or which team you support, its not going to change your life in any way... (unless you were playing and making the big bucks!!) May the best team win!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:54 GMT)

hey guys i didnt thought my cmnt would catch fire,but this all were started by ur players as well as ur fans. I really respect these guys...kallis,amla,ab,steyn.i know these r world clas players nd can change game at any moment nd i really expect a good fight. Am really sory if my comment hurt u guys.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:53 GMT)

hey guys i didnt thought my cmnt would catch fire,but this all were started by ur players as well as ur fans. I really respect these guys...kallis,amla,ab,steyn.i know these r world clas players nd can change game at any moment nd i really expect a good fight. Am really sory if my comment hurt u guys.

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (December 31, 2010, 17:49 GMT)

@Saikrishnan - not all India fans are arrogant, of course, that's why I singled out the guys I did. And agreed, many SA fans are very arrogant themselves, and there's no xcuse for them tauniting you guys. At the same time, two wrongs do not make a right? @Simz504 - just endorsing what you said in your second post, I don't consider ALL Indian fans in the same light: I believe the vast majority are like you, love the game of cricket, respect those who are good enough to represent their countries, and don't indulge in sillly baiting and chest-thumping. If I gave the impression that I thought all Indian fans are arrogant, I apologise unreservedly. They're some of the best fans in the world :-) But I stand by my irritation at the guys I singled out. Pablo and Simz - let's hope Newlands is a cracker, whoever wins. This series has been brilliant!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:40 GMT)

To the likes of Magnum _octopus..who are experimenting with that holier than thou approach here..would do well to remember the kind of bad words that were directed towards Indian team ..its ranking..n india as nation..mocking its population ..ethos etc after they lost the first test...

now peopel are just giving those people who had a lot to talk then...and as usual the people who hate India n its cricket are trying to find all sorts of excuse again to deride indian fans

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:33 GMT)

In general,here cricket is the game,where a player is playing as per the ability of his own.winning and loosing is the part of game.SA has the advantage of nature of the pitch as it is home ground and moreover favorable conditions in their own country.But how India has done in your country is remarkable thing after winning with all this adverse condition.If you loose the match accept it and try get some change which favors to you But never put some UDRS system not kept or any loose sports spirit things for allegation like poor umpire or ICC has to do like this(Why this is not given after 1st test??????)................Just accept the defeat and digest it.

Posted by rohanblue on (December 31, 2010, 17:17 GMT)

i think its nt over yet, we have to win the series to calim that no.1 place, its disgusting to see a team like srilanka doubting our ability, srilankan cricket team lolzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:06 GMT)

Personally, I don't like pitches that support batsmen too much. I don't study cricket statistics but my experience is that the matches that are played on batsmen friendly pitches result in a draw. I like to watch test matches with win/loss results. Its fun to watch both teams fighting for a win. Its always delight to watch India winning, but I would care less who wins if both sides play good cricket.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

Guys don't get too excited and bash the opponents. I hope Dhoni wins the toss this time atleast to make use of the seam movement available early on. Come on Zak! Just one more step to glory!

Posted by Cricket_4_Blood on (December 31, 2010, 16:52 GMT)

Now Sehwag will score a century & then will people start commenting about him saying he's one of the greatest. Perhaps what sehwag does is just score in flat batting tracks. What ever happens, every one knows that India is going to lose for sure. If this is a batting track, I wonder how Indian bowlers are going to take any wicket, especially Sreesant. come on BCCI, people like sreesant shouldn't even play for domestic cricket. Such sensleess abnormal sportsman.

Posted by JustOUT on (December 31, 2010, 16:31 GMT)

WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. HOPE the game of Cricket will be as Clean as crystal water and let us enjoy the games. Hope Senior Indian players does not retire this year, Hope Ricky Ponting gets some runs under his belt and retire. Hope SA gets a world class spinner(I Tahir), Hope IPL n CL get banned, Hope Test cricket gets more interesting, Hope all is well.

Posted by Stark62 on (December 31, 2010, 16:27 GMT)

Great!

Now ind will win the series 2-1. What are the SA's thinking?!?!

Posted by simz504 on (December 31, 2010, 16:27 GMT)

EDIT....@Magnum_Octopus...... I agree with you. Some Indian fans can be really foolish and delusional at times. I just realized you were referring to those types of fans only (i hope). But I like to think its only a small percentage of indian fans, but unfortunately they are the most vocal. I personally think Manish and Rishikesh are kidding but I can't speak for them (Because who is scared of "Co" really? Ishant and sreesanth dont scare domestic players let alone SA;)................And I hope its not a draw because the first two matches have been great to watch with both sides justifying that they are the top 2 sides in the world, with england a close third (Remember they lost to WI in WI 1-0 in 5 match test series so I can't put ENG over SA yet unless they destroy India in the summer).

Posted by Caveman. on (December 31, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

Smart move by SA to have a good wicket for the third game. A good wicket = bowlers need to bowl superbly to get wickets (unless batsmen gift them). In other words, if there is a result, it will favor the stronger bowling team. Add to that the penchant for Indian batsmen to gift away their wickets, and you have the picture. A SA victory is on cards.

Posted by RealPablo on (December 31, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

Magnum_Octopus, Sadly, as a supporter of Indian cricket, I have to agree with you about the general Indian 'fan' who populate the websites. But please do not mistake these boorish loudmouths for the majority of genuine Indian cricket supporters who still spend a great amount of time and effort appreciating the nuances of the game, and do not mistake genuine aggression with pathetic online posturing. Here is looking forward to a proper contest at Newlands, between two evenly matched sides.

Posted by gooey_kablooie on (December 31, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

Firstly a happy new year to everyone.

Good for batting on days 2 and 3 and favours spin on days 4 and 5. It is an Indian pitch eh.

Posted by Devd007 on (December 31, 2010, 16:22 GMT)

Well, if its a flat track, then the Indian seam bowling attack may not be very effective...and only Bhajji might get us the breakthroughs..and if zaheer can get some reverse swing going then its even better. India has to bat out of its skin, though. If we can pile on the runs, then we should be able to CHOKE the Proteas. They are already under pressure from the media after the previous loss, good time to nail the pin in the coffin.

Posted by asadkum on (December 31, 2010, 16:21 GMT)

Mohammad Asad from USA..... India is no doubt on the upper hand. Since the pitch is batsman friendly and it is assumed will take turn on the 4th & 5th day.

Posted by simz504 on (December 31, 2010, 16:16 GMT)

@Magnum_Octopus.....please know that there are some logical and level headed Indian fans on cricinfo as well. It just always seems like the extreme indian and pakistani fans post on here all the time spewing rhetoric, clinging on to delusions of grandeur, & arguing back and forth over pointless debates,& creating a neg sterotype. But I say every team has its eccentric fans, even though it seems that some of my fellow Team India fans post the most..........Remember, India is a nation of 1 billion, smart fans exist and dumb fans exist (which every team has) but since so many Indians post here all the time, it can paint Indian fans in a bad light sometimes. Please amend your statement as not all of us are arrogant and pompous. I will agree with all critics, that unless India improve their bowling attack, they will not become a great team and will always have doubts against them. After our greats retire, which will be soon, Indias golden age will come to an end, & we may end up like Aus.

Posted by ulmo on (December 31, 2010, 16:14 GMT)

Even as an Indian Supporter I think there is not much to separate India and South Africa. This is going to be the next great rivalry. I think supporters on both sides should respect both teams their strengths and their weaknesses. Both teams are not West Indies in the 80s and Australia in the 90s. England I think has potential to join them. Australia needs to retool but I dont see them down for too long. Sri Lanka is always dangerous at home they remind of India in the 90s potential for transformation once they start travelling more often. Pakistan and West Indies I feel sad. Always loved the Pakistani team even when they beat India. They had flair and unpredictability. I want good cricket and I think its sad to see some of the comments here by fan"actics". Be a fan dont be a fanatic. Recognize your teams weaknesses appreciate the opponents strength.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (December 31, 2010, 15:58 GMT)

And I always thought Saffers would terrorize us with green tops dear o dear indians desperately need green tops like the classic durban well then its home advantage and we r gonna have a flat indian kinda turf where sehwag flays and pummels quickies and indians play on it day in day out SA if u really want to win please prepare green tops flat batting wickets ain't gonna help ur quicks coz ur spinner can't turn a door-knob the FINAL FRONTIER IS GETTING FLAT OR IS IT? WE ARE WAITING.........

Posted by thirdmanboundary on (December 31, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

This pitch had nothing to do with Smith's comments or anybody's desire for a draw. Newlands is always flatter and batsman friendly. Has been for decades. The groundsman can do very little to change that. As a SAfrican supporter, I'd love to have seen Tahir play for the saffers in Cape Town. I admire his style: a real, attacking, creative, varied spinner. I suspect he would also have been energized by playing against India in particular. I don't understand why SAfrican govt officials are taking so long to ratify his papers. Anyway, it has already been a brilliant series and a shot in the arm for test cricket. May the best side win.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 15:37 GMT)

@Magnum_Octopus Indian fans are arrogant ??? Even before the series started it was the RSA fans who taunted India fans about our batsman being flat track bullies, their techniques being exposed, to be sent to early retirement by Steyn and Morkel etc etc. I lost count of the number of times the above said comments were used. So, you expect us to stay mum and cope up with all the abuse from you guys ?

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 15:37 GMT)

from Day 2 onwards, and becomes a turning track on Day 4 & 5, then Dhoni will have to make a decision whether to play 2 spinners or 3 seamers. It may not be a bad idea to play 5 bowlers and 5 batsmen with 1 wicket-keeper/batsman. Winning the toss may play a big part again in the outcome of the match.

Posted by kdcricket on (December 31, 2010, 15:36 GMT)

Talk about being poor winners/losers...traditionally Aus and SA have been "sulkers" who cried foul in every defeat..Whereas preparing a track assisting the home team in terms of result or draw is the norm in these countries, its a crime when done by subcontinental teams...Such double standards make it amply clear who needs to be gracious in win/loss. SA/Aus supporters are the worst ones when commenting on their teams victory....talk about being poor winners/losers...huh

Posted by EightBall on (December 31, 2010, 15:30 GMT)

This may not be the most appropriate article to which a comment about UDRS is made. However, now that Magnum_Octopus has brought it up... :) I was originally baffled by the Indian resistance to UDRS. Sure, they were ham handed in using it in a series against SL, and blamed it for their loss. However, sunsequent experience with UDRS has been revealing, and has somewhat vindicated their resistance. Two anecdotes/issues stand out. One is Ricky Ponting's reaction to the not out decision in Melbourne. Perhaps notwithstanding UDRS, we'll still have complaints. He continues to believe that KP was out. The second is that teams are using it for 50/50 decisions, rather than egregiously bad ones. A number of commentators, such as Ian Chappel, have pointed this out. UDRS is not being used for what it was originally intended.

Posted by sunnyday20us on (December 31, 2010, 15:24 GMT)

@ Magnum_Octopus : Well said.

Posted by sudhindranath on (December 31, 2010, 15:19 GMT)

"...good for batting, particularly on days two and three and turned in favour of the spinners on days four and five." So maybe it is a good idea for Dhoni to put SA in even if India wins the toss? Get them out for under 300. Then use the favorable batting conditions on days 2 and 3 to get a lead of 150+. Day 4, when the track favors spinners, get SA out for 200-250. So India will have to score 50-100 in the fourth innings for a win on Day 5!

Posted by We_Win_All on (December 31, 2010, 15:19 GMT)

Ravi Shastri had indicated in India-NZ series that next time Dhoni may send Gambhir for toss at least as he was winning them quite regularly. As Gambhir is fit I don't see any reason in holding him back at the toss. Send him to tos and choose whatever you want in dressing room itself. India should play 3 seamers and not read too much into curator's comments. Even the best batting pitch will have a true bounce in SA. Also Ojha is not an off spinner to have liking for bouncy pitches. He relies on turn, which will not be on offer in SA. Actually i sincerely hope the India thinktank to go through comments on all these articles as some of them would contain very useful tips which the team management would have ignored....

Posted by KENNETH2007 on (December 31, 2010, 15:17 GMT)

All of them say Sehwag is the key...but he has not performed till now ....Still now we have won because of Khan,bhajii,Laxman and no one up to the mark..(ok sachin of course) so they have to show their class ......that WORLD NO 1 CLASS.

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (December 31, 2010, 15:01 GMT)

You can add Ninaad to my list from my last post - arrogance is a VERY unflattering characteristic, ill-becoming anyone. You guys do nothing for the reputation of the REAL Indian cricket fans who understand that the game is bigger than petty point scoring. When SA go to India, they expect turners, when India come to SA, they expect greentops. Newlands is very seldom a greentop, so please don't delude yourselves that the curator has tried to produce a featherbed to spare SA blushes. Team India is good but they aren't Immortals

Posted by Magnum_Octopus on (December 31, 2010, 14:53 GMT)

What I posted in the article on UDRS applies just as easily here- Rishikesh and Manish, remember that just as no-one likes a poor loser, no-one likes a poor winner either. Crowing and gloating are surely not part of the cricketing ethos that Indian cricket champions. Win with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. I disagree with those that dispute India's position as No 1 cricketing nation in the world, but the arrogance, presumption, defensiveness and vindictiveness of some of team India's supporters mean that the fans have a long way to go to catch up with the players...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 14:44 GMT)

South Africans have chickened out and prepared a track that would last for 5 days. They fear of loosing the series and have realized it better to tie than loose it 2-1. What a chicken this Big mouthed Smith has turned out to be

Posted by sirvivfan on (December 31, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

I would still expect South Africa to win. The have a superior attack. Put runs on board and then skittle the Indians out. Want to to see Kallis and Amla get hundreds in the first innings and job will be done. Come on South Africa!! Sir Viv

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

South Africans have chickened out and prepared a track that would last for 5 days. They fear of loosing the series and have realized it better to tie than loose it 2-1. What a chicken this Big mouthed Smith has turned out to be

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 14:41 GMT)

It's heartening to know day 1 is sold out as despite being the holiday period the crowds have been poor for such a high profile series. Hoping the game is just as exciting as the one at Durban. Wishing all the best to Team India :)

Posted by gaithersburgman on (December 31, 2010, 14:23 GMT)

If the pitch stays flat from Day 2 onwards, and becomes a turning track on Day 4 & 5, then Dhoni will have to make a decision whether to play 2 spinners or 3 seamers. It may not be a bad idea to play 5 bowlers and 5 batsmen with 1 wicket-keeper/batsman. Winning the toss may play a big part again in the outcome of the match.

Posted by Nampally on (December 31, 2010, 14:05 GMT)

Smith said "Our Batting was Poor" and immediately he gets made to order batting wicket. Dhoni stated we are not afraid of green pitches - the greener the better. SA tried to beat India on pace bowling but India gave that medicine back to SA by beating them at it. SA will try to out run India in batting strength this time. I hope the top 5 Indian batsmen play to their potential. India need at least 2 centuries from them.Sehwag is still the key to the Indian batting. Gambhir might be fit to take up as opener. That might be the only change to the Indian line up from the second test team. Pujara did not bring the house down but he took 3 catches+ run out.Dravid is due for a big score.He & Sachin failed twice in the second test.India still need to watch out for Amla, Kallis and De Vellier. Harris will bowl more overs.India have a choice of including Ojha in place of Pujara to give a fifth bowler. Will Dhoni opt for it with greater reliance on the top 5 batsmen? Good Luck to both the teams

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 13:56 GMT)

SA has prepared the pitch for a high scoring draw... to level the series. They are afraid now with Zaheer & Com.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 13:29 GMT)

hey proteas,be prepared to get treatment with ur own medicine at ur own hospital becoz our doctors are eagerly waiting and are excited for surgery.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

Very Excited! This is the ground that was supposed to assist India marginally out of the 3 pitches in this series. The first two were more bowler friendly and I remember the build up was about how the India pace bowlers will adjust to the bouncier pitches. After 1-1 in that battle, I think India have a slight advantage coming into the decider. Hopefully it won't be too batsman friendly and result in a 500+ score in both first innings.

Posted by VipulPatki on (December 31, 2010, 13:14 GMT)

If what curator says turns out to be the case, this could be India's best chance to win a series in South Africa. Not that this win would settle once and for all that India deserves no. 1 position, but would be nonetheless significant.

Posted by SagirParkar on (December 31, 2010, 13:10 GMT)

i am looking forward to a result in this test match.. and i sincerely hope that the batsman-friendly pitch isnt too batsman friendly as we see on the subcontinent at times.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 13:05 GMT)

sold out....wow....i didn't know test cricket was so popular....in SA

Posted by asthomas911 on (December 31, 2010, 13:05 GMT)

I sense an Indian WIN with Bhaji throwing grenades on the 4th and 5th day ;)

Posted by intcamd on (December 31, 2010, 13:00 GMT)

Hopefully Dhoni can reverse his form at the Toss Time. Seriously, they need to consider making this more fair, like one team gets the benefit in test1, the other in test2,and so on. In a test series of odd number tests, since one team gets the benefit more times, the next time the teams play, the benefit gets reversed.

Posted by hypocrite on (December 31, 2010, 12:55 GMT)

Yayy!!!Indian batsmen will make merry for sure....My prediction,,a draw and series levelled one a piece...

Posted by ManjuEleven on (December 31, 2010, 12:17 GMT)

Win the toss and bat first, to have a chance at winning this test. Dhoni send somebody else for toss.

Posted by sankar800 on (December 31, 2010, 12:00 GMT)

It seems this pitch will favour India and this test may end in a draw or a surprise win for India??!

Posted by josethekochite on (December 31, 2010, 11:59 GMT)

Hope INDIA wont repeat the mistakes they made last time. All the best INDIA. Hope the pacers do the good job they have done ay the Durbun again.

Posted by ThanveerAN on (December 31, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

Hi Wish You all Happy New Year Whatever and however the pitch may be India gonna win the third test India always Rocks. India is the true NO 1 Test side in the world

Posted by Vilander on (December 31, 2010, 11:53 GMT)

SA have the bowling to take wickets in a flat deck against india. I would not say the same about india,all down to Harby then, hope Dhoni wins atleast this toss and elects to bat, else Kalis and Amla will make our life miserable.

Posted by ManojRavichandran on (December 31, 2010, 11:44 GMT)

sad... while we are hoping to see a winner in the No.1 vs No.2 series... they make a pitch that is destined for a draw... ah well... at least this ensures India will not won a test series in SA...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 11:38 GMT)

100% sure india win 3rd test ...

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