South Africa v India, 3rd ODI, Centurion December 10, 2013

India's last chance to turn up before Test challenge


Match facts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Start time 1330 local (1130GMT)

Big Picture

Centurion's SuperSport Park was due to host the fourth ODI between South Africa and India as per the original schedule. In the early planning stages, the administrators were hopeful that it would be in the midst of an exciting series. Instead, what this ground has got is two dead rubbers, but they will be more pleased with this one.

When South Africa played Pakistan here, the hosts had already lost the series. Now they will take on India, having already won.

The difference in the results - a mere 12 days apart - is largely a sign of the opposition's ability to adjust to these conditions, but it is also an indication of South Africa's progress. AB de Villiers, South Africa's captain, said he wanted consistency from his team at the end of the six-week period in which they would play 11 ODIs.

He got some of that in the UAE, when they beat Pakistan 4-1 but was disappointed to see them lose immediately afterwards. Now, after three successive victories, things have begun to move in the way de Villiers would have wanted them to once again. While the bowling has remained outstanding throughout, the batting has caught up.

De Villiers will want all departments firing in South Africa's last ODI for months. With none scheduled against Australia, this is likely their final appearance in 50-overs cricket until July next year, when they are due to play Zimbabwe.

India don't have a gap that large and they won't be looking too far ahead. For them, the match is about turning up, a week after arriving in the country. So far, they have failed to adjust to conditions with neither their batsmen nor their bowlers showing much aptitude for South African surfaces. With the Tests still to come and rain likely to affect the tour match, this may be their last chance to make the technical tweaks they need.

Form guide

South Africa: WWWLL (last five completed games, most recent first)
India: LLWLW

In the spotlight

Admittedly he has not had much opportunity to spend a lengthy period of time in the middle, but David Miller has gone 12 innings - across both the home and away series against Pakistan and the current one against India - without a fifty. At No. 6, Miller is expected to be the finisher but with little time to construct an innings, he has not always been able to fulfill that role. He will hope for a longer spell in the middle and a chance to show off both his big-hitting and his temperament.

After slumping to 65 for 4 and 34 for 3 in the first two ODIs, India's top order will be expected to have adjusted sufficiently to prevent another collapse. Their ability to deal with pace and the short ball will be under scrutiny on a surface that is expected to be another testing one, and India's line-up will want to get it right with the Test series looming.

Team news

Despite making his return to ODI cricket just four matches ago, Jacques Kallis is being rested for the dead rubber. Henry Davids will come back into the side, with a view to improving his recent international showing. Wayne Parnell will play as the second allrounder, behind Ryan McLaren. One of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel may also be given a break and with no other seamers in the squad, that would allow Imran Tahir game time ahead of the Test series.

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

India changed the composition of their attack for the second ODI without success and may have to revert back to some of the seamers from the Johannesburg match. Umesh Yadav was the least impressive and could make way for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, while it will be a tricky choice between Ishant Sharma and Mohit Sharma.

India: 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, 10 Ishant Sharma/Mohit Sharma, 11 Mohammed Shami

Pitch and conditions

Given India's struggles with pace and bounce, another spicy surface can be expected. The curator may not have had much preparation time, with rain dominating the build-up - the showers may also extend into the match. Rain fell throughout Tuesday and more is forecast for Wednesday. The afternoon is set to be clear, but drizzle in the morning and evening could result in a curtailed match.

Stats and trivia

  • India's attack have conceded over 260 runs in 10 of their previous 11 ODIs and over 300 in six of those
  • With the series already decided, Pakistan remain the only subcontinent side to beat South Africa in a bilateral series at home
  • What India can prevent is a two-point loss at the top of the rankings table. If they are defeated in the third match, they will remain in the No. 1 spot but will move from 121 points to 119. In that scenario, South Africa will gain two points and move up to fourth. If India win the match, South Africa remain in fifth place


"India rocked up as the No. 1 team and that presented a challenge for us. We met that with intensity and aggression."
South Africa allrounder Ryan McLaren

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on December 11, 2013, 17:57 GMT


    No claims really? In the prev match report, please check the comments of one Greatest_Game, a very frequent SA commenter here. Not only does he not make claims, he makes the grandest of them. He says India are no match for SA. It does not matter to him that in the prev tour, SA, even after all their attempts to prepare suitable wickets could only draw the Test series vs India & were in fact lucky to draw the 3rd test, India clearly had the upper hand there. In the ODIs too, SA could only win it 3-2. A 3-2 scoreline doesn't mean the loser was no match for winner yet GG makes such claims.

    If you say his basis was the twin losses here then on the same logic can it be claimed that SA are not fit for playing in the World Cups? India have lost only 2 matches here but SA have a thoroughly proven record of choking, even outside WC on many occasions.

  • Harmon on December 11, 2013, 15:47 GMT


    What should alarm you is that SA claim to be a top cricket team but have never won a WC. I hope you know the history. When the WC was held in SA, SA crashed out in the 1st round while India reached the finals. When the WT20 was held in SA, India defeated SA out of it & went on to win it. OTOH, when the WC was held in India in 96, India reached SF while SA lost in the QF. When the WC was held in India in 2011, India won it while SA again choked in the QF. On neutral grounds, when the ICC-CT was held in Eng, India won it while SA scrapped through the league due to a poor shot by KP & in any case were crushed by Eng in SF.

    If Indian wickets are so easy & SA wickets the ideal ones then why do SA never win anything in those Ideal+Home conditions? Why do India win whether in India or in Eng or in SA?

    Oh yes, the only nice thing SA ever won was in BD's super flat tracks. THIS is what SA learnt playing on tough wickets :-p

  • san on December 11, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    Nice knock De Kock... SA cruising to another 300+

  • Vivek on December 11, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Guys, be cool. India is No.1 in ODI, No.2 in Tests & T20. They deserve that status because of long term consistency. They have won 6 series in this year including Champions Traphy. Loses like these bound to happen to any team. For those who claim S A as best team, let them win any 1 ICC tournament & then claim for rankings. They are still considered as Chokers in big matches. Anyways you will see India win this ODI & the first test. It's going to happen wait & watch.

  • Hamza on December 11, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Finally, some fight showed by Indians! Glad to see!

  • Dru on December 11, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    Has SA forgotten about Smith altogeather? No surprises but I would have thought they would want to rest Amla and give Smith a hit. I would also consider sending Miller up the order as he is running the risk of not getting any batting time under the belt and then being dropped through the lack of opportunty more than anything else.

    I think India need to consider playing Rahane and doing the swap job between Yuvraj and Raina both of who are not going to featuer in the tests. Also Rahane has a sold technique which is required and of course he is surely the future. I dont understant why India dropped Buwe Kumar, the guy can swing the ball. your never going to knock over SA with pace and bouce but good swing is a problem for most batters.

  • san on December 11, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Why are they bowling at hist pads and too straight?

    We all saw the pre-match analysis where De Kock scored on the mid-on and long-on > 50% of his runs... try bowling the off side line and see how he responds.... the steyn line.... if you can.. no point banging it in straight

  • Corne on December 11, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @Sachin O. Khairnar

    Mate, of course we play to our strengths, who doesn't?

  • Android on December 11, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    oh gauti n viru want to back ?? thn call sachin dravid dada too...... omg

  • Android on December 11, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    @bhusan b : agree with u

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