South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 7, 2013

Green pitch, overcast skies await India


Match facts

Sunday, December 8, 2013
Start time 1000 local (0800GMT)

Big Picture

In their first match on the tour of South Africa in 2006-07, India were bowled out for 91 in a 157-run defeat. Four years later they were blown away for 136 in a thrashing by an innings. On this tour it was the turn of their bowlers to be given a rude welcome. Rude enough for Dale Steyn to surmise that their bowling as it is won't work, and their batsmen were a little frightened. Once again, India find themselves in a familiar situation of trying to salvage the tour. One more similar day, and they will already have lost the ODI series. There is no time for pleasantries on this whistle-stop tour.

There is going to be no let-up in South Africa's intent. During Johannesburg, some commentators wondered why they weren't given similarly quick pitches against Pakistan. They won't have much to complain about here; India have come to a green pitch in Durban, which is hard to distinguish from the square. It is overcast with spells of rain, and is expected to stay so during Sunday too. A tailor couldn't have cut India's task out better.

South Africa, though, won't want to be complacent. They have been in this position before, and have dropped the ball previously too. Against India in 2010-11, they came here jubilant after an innings win, had a somewhat similar pitch and overhead conditions to work with, but were caught out by a rejuvenated India attack that included Zaheer Khan. South Africa have lost a Test here to Sri Lanka, too. Crowd-wise, Durban will be almost a home venue for India. The hosts won't want to give the spectators much to cheer about.

Form guide

South Africa WWLLW (last five completed games, most recent first)

In the spotlight

In the first ODI Rohit Sharma got a proper working over from Dale Steyn, but the positive aspect was that he didn't back away or play a crazy shot to find release. This is a big tour for Rohit, who seems to have finally turned the corner with the big ODI series against Australia and hundreds in both his first Tests. He will need to show similar grit on the rest of the tour, and it still won't be easy because it will require a lot of technique and patience too.

Dale Steyn gave the India batsmen a bit of a reality check in Johannesburg. It took India 16 Steyn deliveries to lay bat on ball. Forget about scoring quick runs against him, if he is bowling like that. Rohit tried to play him out, Virat Kohli tried to disturb his lengths by taking risks, but nothing worked. If India are given a big target to chase, Steyn in similar form can decide the game in his first spell itself.

Team news

Vernon Philander, who tripped a day before the first ODI and injured his shoulder, is fit and available for selection. That can't be good news for India. He would have loved the conditions at the Wanderers, and will here too. He should replace one out of Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell in the XI. An injured Imran Tahir is 50-50 for the selection, but an educated guess after looking at the pitch says he will not be needed.

South Africa (likely) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk) 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Vernon Philander, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe/Wayne Parnell

India don't have many quick fixes to their problems. Most of the repair work will have to be done by the same personnel. They could think of bringing in Ajinya Rahane ahead of possibly Yuvraj Singh. Their Test specialists have stayed back in Johannesburg so a slightly drastic step of including Cheteshwar Pujara to bring in solidity has been ruled out. With the ball they might want to bring in a quicker bowler after their first-choice bowlers were found short on pace and menace. Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are their options. It will be interesting to see if they go for a fourth quick.

India (likely) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh/Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Umesh Yadav/Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Mohit Sharma

Pitch and conditions

Let Steyn summarise it for you: "I have looked at it from the balcony. Looks exactly like the outfield. I am not going to complain about that. I haven't been down so I don't what it looks like close up." Overhead, it has been mainly overcast. It rained quite a bit two days before the match, and there might be an odd drizzle overnight. An overcast Sunday with 20% chance of rain has been overcast, but you can't really predict weather in South Africa.

Stats and trivia

  • India have never won an ODI against South Africa in Durban. Their highest score against the hosts here is 234, the only time they have crossed 200 in six attempts.
  • Hashim Amla hasn't enjoyed his home venue much. In four ODIs here, he has managed only 109 runs, which is still better than his Test average of 21 at Kingsmead.


"I think our intensity the other night really blew them away. I think we also showed them that they have a weakness in the middle order. Raina, Ashwin, Yuvraj, other batters in the end, they didn't really look like they wanted to get in line."
Dale Steyn isn't quite impressed with what India brought to the first match

"I don't think anyone in this Indian team is frightened of anything. We didn't see anyone close their eyes to a bouncer or play rash strokes."
Virat Kohli promises the batsmen will fight hard

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy on December 8, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    Do not forget we have won series against India at home. Indians r tigers for others at home not for pak........

  • Hamza on December 8, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Why Indians don't understand that it's not easy beat SA in SA. Not everyone can do this. Pak did it becuz they had world class bowling attack. If Indians people are thinking that Indian team would do the same then i can only laugh at them. Anyways. Not everyone is capable of doing what Pak did. It's not children's play that any mediocre team goes to SA and beats them on their home ground. Come on!!!!! i mean seriously, come on!!!!!!

  • Talaal on December 8, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Poor decision to bowl by dhoni. despite rain, if saf get 250, thats it for india with overcast conditions and green pitch. It can't be dry @msdhoni123 as its been raining!!!!!

  • san on December 8, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Tough luck Bhuvi... You could have settled in today..

    Ishant is the lucky one here.. some people are always lucky....

  • Aniket on December 8, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Posted by bouncer709 on (December 8, 2013, 8:17 GMT): "The matches are also scheduled on dictation from BCCI.. but still Indians crying..." Which Indians fans do you see crying? None of us are, not even about the grassy 'made to order' pitches.

    @Tommytuckersaffa: "No cement slabs here ladies and gentlemen. Batsmen are not the only ones worshiped and they get no freebies. Here, in SA, its a contest" Good on you. But remember those very words next time SA tours India and are greeted with rank turners in Chennai and Mumbai eh mate? Batsman don't get freebies in tests in India either. Fast bowling is not the only form of bowling and certainly 'not worshipped' in India. Here it's an even contest between batsman and spinners and fast bowlers who are not dumbfounded by pitches which don't have steep bounce and have brains enough to learn reverse swing. Lets see how much whining comes from SA fans when they tour India next which they mysteriously didn't during their stay at no.1

  • rajan on December 8, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Any batsman score century in this pitch can perform well anywhere, and his carrier will be known as best batsman.....

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    drop one of the spinners and pick yadav. When u have wickets in hand u are bound to get hammered in last 20 overs, thats the harsh reality. Yadav is one guy that can give us breakthroughs.

  • Android on December 8, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    india also Had home advantage against aussis

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    bouncer @ i think we indians fans really appreciate pakistan team because they learn us how to lose with zimbawaye, they learn us how to lose a game when 19 runs recqired from 54 balls 6 wickets in hand.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Guys...!!..Guys..!!..Guys....!!! It's really a shame the way we are going with these comments. We are just showing a war affected pic of the whole sub continent. Think of the other continents or subcontinents.Do they they make such comments filled with hatred when any of their next door neighbors struggle in any sport against opponents from far abroad..!!? Personally as cricket FAN from Bangladesh I believe that this Indian team should come up with some determination and improved batting technique in this match that will boost the confidence of all the other teams in subcontinent to face SA in SA...

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