South Africa v India, 3rd ODI, Cape Town January 17, 2011

Much to work on for teams after Wanderers thriller


South Africa have a big correction to make. There are trends emerging from their contests with India that will bother them. In each of their previous three Test series against India, they have taken a 1-0 lead with innings wins, but have given it up in the next match. In their last three ODI series against India, they have given up the 1-0 lead twice, and have lost two of their last five matches against India by one run.

India, though, are not letting the Wanderers win fool themselves. They know they need huge improvements. "Okay we have won the last game, but it was not like we played to our potential," MS Dhoni said on the eve of the third match of the series that now stands at 1-1. "We are still playing below our potential. It is important to perform up to our potential in every department, batting, bowling and fielding. We are quite a bit worried about all those things rather than concentrating on the other side.

"You need runs on the board, that's one thing the bowlers can defend. But it's not only the batting department. There are other areas too that we need to work on. Fielding is, of course, big. Whatever runs you save, whatever way you see it, it either mounts your total or gets deducted from the opposition total. If you can get one run-out per match, that can really change the course of the game. In the last two games, maybe we haven't seen too much of death bowling, but that's a very crucial aspect. There are quite a few areas we are working on."

India will try to capitalise on whatever mental edge they might have through that one-run win, but South Africa will believe this is a good time to regroup. Corrie van Zyl believes that the heartbreak at Wanderers on Saturday, where they needed 39 runs in 18 overs with six wickets in hand and still found a way to lose, can be turned around into a positive if taken in the right way.

"I believe that you must turn around every bad experience and make it work positively for you," van Zyl said. "That [Wanderers] is just one of them [experiences]. I know this team feels really bad and really hurt about the way we lost on Saturday, but you know what, if you work through that and you really analyse what has happened, it can only make you a stronger person and a stronger team."

In the absence of Jacques Kallis, South Africa had a fairly young middle order to see that chase through, and van Zyl believes that for their sake, it was good that happened in a comparatively lower-profile game than the bigger matches to come. "I think that rather it happened now and let's go through that than later. I think one day when you have achieved something - I won't say what - but when you have achieved something, you can look back and say, 'Remember that day and how we felt on that day. Or the next two days after that.' That will make it even sweeter if you are successful after that."

The choke in Johannesburg notwithstanding, South Africa are still up against a depleted Indian side, against batsmen who don't prefer the bouncing ball much, against bowlers who are fighting niggles and struggling for consistency. The biggest challenge for them remains to pick themselves after what can be a demoralising defeat.

"India have shown that they can do it," he said. "There is no reason why we can't do it. It's all a question of picking yourself up, where you understand we batted poorly in that innings. We know what we have done wrong, we have to go and rectify it. It's not difficult to pick yourself up."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    Yes, yes, yes. Ashwin instead of Nehra. Nehra serves no comprehensible purpose in this lineup. At all.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    1.Munaf is better than Sreesanth. 2Sreesanth is better than Nehra. 3.Lets not worry about short balls or steyn swings in worldcup.

  • Neil on January 18, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    Pressure is very definitely on us SAns today. What should have been a cake-walk in Jhb has left us with some red-faces, and we need to sort that out quickly! Six batters, 5 bowlers gives us a longer tail than a crocodile. We also need to show the fighting spirit India showed in Jhb, which has always been an integral part of our cricket.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Well all Asian batsmen struggle against Short bouncers and pitched deliveries. This has been the tactic against Asian batsmen by the foreigner bowlers, over the years. South Africa had eliminated india in T20 world cup by these kind of deliveries. Their batsmen could not resist. Same goes to Pakistani and Srilankan Batsmen. But in Asia, these batsmen would thrash all these deliveries away for fours and sixes easily. They would put them away all the day and night. The current series between Pak Vs Newz, India Vs South Africa and Aus Vs Eng respectively are meaningless for the World Cup preparations. Because conditions would be totally different in the Sub continent grounds and wickets, where Fielders face difficulties in diving and cutting the balls off. Fast bowlers face problems in bowling because of flat decks and lack of bounce.

  • harish on January 18, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Please look at the bowling averages before asking for sreesanth. he clearly is more profligate than Munaf and nehra... Please get facts straight first.

  • Shahul on January 18, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Van Zyle has not been the best coach for SA, he is only trying 2 provide a mental strenght to side by saying these comments...but its only gonna discourage the team more...Indain team looks really good to have a blast @ the proteas...Meanwhile the best Indian team to go and fight in this match should be VIJAY(Still out of form but India will still play him in the absence of a genuine opener),KOHLI,YUVARAJ,RAINA,DHONI,PATHAN,HARBAJAN,ASHWIN(instead of Rohit sharma since its a bowling pitch & Rohit is out of form,also ashwin can bat as a well as bowl really well)ZAHEER,SREESANTH(should be preffered ahead of Nehra's inconsistency)& MUNAF.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    when is Tahir going to get a chance?

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    In Indian Team MS Dhoni,Yuvraj Singh may play their natural game and should be able to do well.Suresh Raina also should be able to do better in this match.

    Zaheer khan may have a mixed day.Good luck Bad luck both.

    Yusuf Pathan may try to prove his worth by hitting aggresive shots but overall the day indicates struggle for him.

    Virat kohli also has a mixed day.Harbhajan may again struggle.

    In South Africa Team Graeme Smith,Wayne Parnell,Collin Ingram may do well. Robin Peterson may Struggle.

    Faf du plessi has a good day.

    Bowlers Dale Steyn Morne Morkel have average or little better time.Dale Steyn also has a mixed day.Very Good and Average both.

  • Vincent on January 18, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Check out the individual players againts matche won with them...Sree has featured in most of India's internationals

  • Vincent on January 18, 2011, 10:56 GMT


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