Indian batsmen seek to repair poor averages
India are currently on a roll in ODIs, having won their last-four ODI series played away from home, but they will be posed with a much stiffer challenge this time around. India have never been happy tourists to South Africa, having won only two of the last-ten ODIs they have played against them at their home. Their overall away record in ODIs against South Africa reads even worse: India have managed to win just five out of the 25 ODIs against them. Unsurprisingly, India's win-loss ratio of 0.26 against South Africa is their worst against the top ODI teams away from home. They have played three bilateral ODI series against South Africa in South Africa and are yet to register a series win. In fact, South Africa is the only country where India haven't won an ODI series.
Part of India's poor performances there can be attributed to the fact that South Africa have themselves been resilient at home. Till late 2009, Australia were the only to team to win a bilateral series against South Africa in South Africa. From October 2002 to November 2009, South Africa won 17 consecutive bilateral series. But since their loss to England in November 2009, South Africa have lost four of the seven bilateral ODI series they have played against major ODI-teams at home- to Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and England.
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||win-%||Teams lost to|
|Before England series||26||23||1||2||88%||Australia|
|Since England series||8||4||0||4||50%||Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan|
The Indian batsmen haven't fared particularly well playing against South Africa in ODIs away from home. MS Dhoni is the top scorer with 214 runs at 23.77 from nine innings, while Rohit Sharma's five innings here have yielded just 49 runs and a top score of 23. Yuvraj Singh averages 16.66 from nine matches and has only one fifty-plus score, and Suresh Raina, the other batsman in India's middleorder has scored a paltry 115 runs at 19.16 from six innings, and is yet to hit a fifty. Virat Kohli is the only batsman with some semblance of success: he has 193 runs at 48.25 from five innings with two fifties.
South Africa's batsmen have had reasonable success playing against India at home. Jacques Kallis has hit 519 runs against India from 11 innings at 64.00. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, both average more than 60 against India playing in South Africa. South Africa captain Ab de Villiers' however has only a disappointing 119 at 22.80 from five innings. But these numbers may not mean much considering that since their last series against India at home, he has scored 835 ODI runs - the highest by any South Africa batsman - at 83.50 in South Africa.
|AB de Villiers||9||9||1||289||92*||36.12||0||2|
|Faf du Plessis||3||3||0||69||60||23.00||0||1|
South Africa's bowlers have clearly had the better of Indian batsmen ny playing on pace-friendly conditions in home. Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, all average less than 20 against India in South Africa. Tsotsobe is the leading wicket-taker- 13 wickets at 13.53 with two four-fors in five matches.
The current bowlers in the Indian team haven't had much experience playing against South Africa away from home, as Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin are the only full-time bowlers in the squad to have bowled in South Africa before. Yuvraj Singh is the highest wicket-taker for India with five wickets from six innings. Overall, Zaheer Khan - who is part of the Test-squad but doesn't find a place in the ODI-squad - is the leading wicket-taker for India in South Africa with 15 wickets at 27 apiece from nine matches.
India are starting their campaign at the venue where they beat South Africa the last time they played an ODI here. India may also get encouragement from the fact that the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg is the venue where South Africa have one of their worst win-loss records at home in ODIs.
Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com