South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 8, 2013

When Kingsmead resembled a golf course

Plays of the day for the second ODI between South Africa and India at Kingsmead
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The outfield
Kingsmead took a lot of rain in the week leading up to this ODI, which is why despite no rain on the day before the match the start was delayed by an hour and a half on Sunday. It took a lot of effort from the groundsmen and a flexible approach from the teams to not be averse to playing on an outfield that looked more like a golf course from afar. As many as nine big patches of sawdust adorned the turf, most noticeably at the backward point and short third man area for a right-handed batsman batting at Old Fort End. Every time the ball went through the sawdust it slowed down appreciably, Umesh Yadav once almost injured himself trying to desperately prevent the ball from hitting the rough area towards deep midwicket. Possibly, they didn't want the ball to lose its shine there.

The miss
In the fifth over, with his bowling end changed, Mohammed Shami produced a chance, getting the outside edge from Quinton de Kock. It didn't fly too high, and dipped further in front of R Ashwin at first slip. Ashwin couldn't reach it, and even hurt his finger. For his build and slightly scratchy technique, MS Dhoni has done really well as a wicketkeeper, making few glaring errors, but this instance underlined one of the flaws that has persisted with his keeping: he rarely goes for catches between him and first slip, or for those that might be going straight to first slip but low. In this case, Ashwin wasn't too far to Dhoni's left, but he was much deeper. Perhaps Dhoni should have gone for this one. However, you don't have even a split second to make these decisions, especially if you have to go against your instincts. De Kock was 13 then. He went on to score 106.

The bowling change
After battering the top order with pace, South Africa introduced JP Duminy in the 13th over, despite there being six seamers in the side. This had nothing to do with the relative slowness of the pitch when compared to the Wanderers. This had all to do with the cloudy weather that had set in, and with four wickets already down South Africa wanted to get to 20 overs as soon as possible so they could bring Duckworth-Lewis in should it rain.

It began to drizzle in the 20th over, Suresh Raina kept asking Vernon Philander to wait before running in, Dhoni got out to the fifth ball, which meant two more minutes were wasted, but as the last ball of the 20th over was bowled, the captain AB de Villiers did a little fist pump. We now had a game, and India were 66 behind the par score. Sure enough, Morne Morkel rushed in to bowl the 21st over.

The catch
Don't try to hit over Hashim Amla's head. From the evidence of the Centurion ODI against Pakistan, he is a superb judge of the overhead catch. Back then, he timed his jump perfectly, and leapt all the way up to catch Umar Amin at slip. This time Rohit Sharma's pull was more convincing than Amin's outside edge, but Amla stood in the way at short midwicket. Once again he timed his rise as well as he does his wristy whips during his century, and made a tough catch look easy.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • electrci_loco_WAP4 on December 9, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    You cannot forget the fact that SA playing at home. It is just like India won @ Home against Australia.The one who criticized ranking as India won only at home, should remember that.

  • dummy4fb on December 9, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    SUGGESTION TO ICC: Two more factors should be considered while ranking a team if u want the ranking system to be more reliable.1: Number of overseas series won by the team. 2: Win/loss ratio of overseas matches played by the team. And not to forget, in case Win/loss ratio of a team is higher in home conditions than in overseas condition then it should be ranked than lower than the team having higher Win/Loss ratio in overseas conditions.

  • akpy on December 8, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    Fayyaz...it is an absolute truth that India were hammered these two games and well done to SA...as true as the fact remains india are world no.1 and holders of WC and champions trophy....let your team do that and then you can boast as well...

  • Humdingers on December 8, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    @fayyaz03 - they are still no.1 in the rankings mate. When Pakistan or Sth Africa forget how to choke in big tournaments and become No.1, then you can say who is no.1. Until then, the rankings stand (however questionable they are). Simple.

  • bohurupi on December 8, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    I think besides Amla's terrific catch, de Villiers superb catch to dismiss Jadeja on the boundary line deserves a mention. He jumped from the ground to hold the catch at the same time intricately keeping his balance so precise as not to inadvertently step back on the line.

  • dummy4fb on December 8, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Was expecting some resilience from Team Blue in the 2nd ODI against the pro tears but disappointed as a cricket lover the way Team India batted. Surely some lessons to be learned by the touring side. They will have to look at the playing conditions back at their home and must invest in some bowling friendly wickets otherwise the result will nevertheless be the same in any foreign tour against a quality side. After all Cricket is not just about sixes and centuries.

  • hb1970 on December 8, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    Shami is impressive. I hope he learns well from this tour and becomes India's spearhead for the next decade or so.

  • Nampally on December 8, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    My plays of the day are: 1. Amla's brilliant catch off Rohit Sharma 2. AB deVelliers catch off Jadeja on the fence when the ball was going for a six 3. Rank bad shot by Rahane flashing at a ball 2' outside the off & being given out caught behind incorrectly by Umpire- as replay confirmed. 4. Attempted pull by Ashwin off Steyn on a ball short & wide outside the off & getting caught.

    By the first 2 plays, SA showed Catches Win matches. By #3 & #4 plays, India showed how to lose your wkt. recklessly. Result is 2-0 series win for SA.

  • Manowara on December 8, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    Exactly mate, its the expose of the so called batting talent of non technical batch of players. We have seen Dhawan, Koli and Msd batting without the foot in place from the biggining of the innings. Only Rohith and Ashvin had shown the better technique among the lot. Its undestand a batsman with a good eye on the ball after staying in the crease for some times would dance on the crease at this rate. This is in other words killing the game of cricket. Sure India will be below the rating of Bangladesh if they happen to play away for few series.

  • dummy4fb on December 8, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Chalega !!! Bettter luck next time ..... No need to worry about loss.Young team so target your long term goals 2015 . Perfect time to learn from loses. :)

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