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

India must show they can compete

Even if India do not win in Centurion, they have to prove to themselves - even more than the opposition - that they are up for a fight
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SuperSport Park is an incredibly spectator-friendly venue. It has only one stand, the rest of the seating is made up of grass embankments. Behind the grass banks there are a few house-like structures that are used as hospitality suites. There is a bar called the Captain's Deck for those who can't get into the suites. There are stumps around the ground for braais. There is not a single pillar to obstruct your view, nor chairs next to each other where you have to brush elbows with people. Except that it becomes a little difficult for people when it rains and the grass gets wet. It has been raining here. Not apocalyptically, but persistently and steadily.

It rained heavily just before India last came here for a Test. After a little over two days of cricket back then, India had been mauled so badly you wondered if they would ever be able to make a comeback on the tour. After two days of cricket this time around, it is not too different. The bowlers have looked innocuous, under the pressure of big chases the equally inexperienced batsmen haven't been able to bail them out. The main batsmen haven't even spent long enough on the pitch to offer an indication as to whether they will be able to cope.

The previous time, though, on the third proper day of international cricket, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 50th Test hundred, MS Dhoni counterattacked with 90, and Gautam Gambhir fought it out for 80. That team had a lot of steel compared to other Indian teams: that second innings in Centurion was their second 450-plus score in the second innings of a match in two years, as against four overall before then.

Eventually it served to only delay the inevitable defeat in that Test, but Tendulkar came out and said it was important that a message be sent that India were good enough to compete, and they wouldn't roll over and die. India went on to convert that same-old-same-old feel into their best bilateral tour of South Africa: a drawn Test series, and an ODI series that was alive until the final half hour. It was a little similar to Alastair Cook's second-innings century in the Ahmedabad defeat last year, after which England came back to win the series.

More than sending a message to the opposition, it is about sending a message to your team-mates who might already be low on confidence and thinking of past disasters. "Look fellas, this can be done, I am doing it, we can all do it." India have come to Centurion needing something of that proportion. It is all right even if they lose the match - if it is played, that is. They just need somebody to convey to them that Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel can be faced on these bouncy pitches in seaming conditions. They need a bowler to tell them Hashim Amla can beaten and troubled. Otherwise this short tour is going to feel like an excruciatingly long one.

The batsmen have already drawn all the flak and the pressure. It has come to a stage where it is considered to be an excellent effort to concede 280 on a pitch and heavy outfield on which 230 was par. At least they didn't go for 358. That's a bonus in Indian cricket. Not that the batsmen have painted themselves in glory, but they need some time in the middle without the pressure of chasing an over-par score before they can be judged. It could mean taking the brave call of batting first on a pitch that has taken a lot of moisture from non-stop rain. If ever there was a time to make a brave call, this might be it.

A day before this ODI, Rohit Sharma spoke of the need to show a fight. "Of course we are here to compete, and not have fun and just look around in South Africa," Rohit said. "From the day since we arrived here, we wanted to provide a point. We tried our best, but unfortunately it didn't work out. There is one more game and a couple of Test matches after this. I am sure things will turn around.

"Tomorrow's game will give us an ideal opportunity to come out and perform and show them, 'Yes we are here to perform and do well.' The Test series will be a different ball game."

Rohit spoke of the need for partnerships, said the conditions are not as difficult as the results suggest, and that he knew that once you can get in South Africa can be one of the best places to bat, with its true bounce and small outfields. All the talk has been talked. Now India need somebody to go out there and actually put up a spell of competition just so that the others know it can be done.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 12, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @Joe-car. Do not try to twist it. Let me know whats the experience of these players in SA pitches! The same Dhavan, Rohit etc played well at home even without 10 game experience. Thats the situation of SA players. At home everyone has advantages.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    @Bang_La. Only a pathetic BD fan like you can comment like that!. Project only 1 or 2 games from the 25 games played. Why are you silent about the WC game in which your bowlers landed outside the ground or the last 9 Asiacups where BD bowlers hide under the mat and batsmen fainted in the pitch.

  • Bang_La on December 11, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    India's biggest problem is their below international standard bowling. India fans may need a grain of salt to digest it. I would just request them to please recall how Bangladesh thrashed their bowlers in Asia Cup to surpass 290 runs India put on board.

  • Alexk400 on December 11, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    I can see now indian batsman going to get injured if they become brave to short ball. So goodluck.

  • edgie on December 11, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    @yvivekcb , you are only as good as your last victory, and based on that, India are not very good. Being no 1 is nice, but u should play like the no 1 team, even when the odds are stacked against you, at least show some fight, tenacity, determination. This team, has shown that they are anything BUT the no 1 ODI team. I think it's time Indian supporters acknowledge that their team is only good at home, and outside of India are very average!

  • jaggernot on December 11, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Fact-1 India is a average team which plays well only on flat tracks. Fact-2 Dhoni is a good captain and has made bad decisions on this tour,should have had 4 quicks,should have left either jadeja or ashwin. Fact-3 Dhonis decision to bowl spinners after three wickets to quicks was super stupid shud have persisted with quicks and tried to wrap up SA innings. Fact 4 This comment comes from an Indian,Period.

  • yvivekcb on December 11, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    It's no denying fact that India is No.1 in ODIs. Top it up with World Champions & Champions of the Champions Trophy. If other teams are better then why can't they win the Major tournaments? Please explain friends. If you say those were batting pitches then does it mean other teams lack good batsmen. Friends admit the fact that India is the World champion and continue to dominate ODIs in the near future.

  • on December 11, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Wonder why they persist with Yuvraj and Raina ..they are just meant for Indian pitches.I guess for others to get chances,Dhoni has to be kicked out of captaincy ..He cant even test ppl like rahane and rayudu who are there for test series as well.

  • stormy16 on December 11, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Thankfully for India this is a short tour! but in all seriousness SA have been totally dominant and there should be no surprises here, SA are easily the best team in the world in terms of talent. Sure India have a few good batters but as we have already found out, that all depends on what the wicket is like. The good news for India is Centurian is easily one of the friendliest wickets in SA so finally the batters will get a chance to get bat on ball, which has been a problem for most in the top order.

  • on December 11, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Last Ten Innings of Raina - PROJECT RAINA OUT

    Bat & Bowl Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard 0/32, 36 India v South Africa Durban 8 Dec 2013 ODI # 3443 0/7, 14 India v South Africa Johannesburg 5 Dec 2013 ODI # 3442 0/29, 34 India v West Indies Kanpur 27 Nov 2013 ODI # 3439 23, 0/42 India v West Indies Visakhapatnam 24 Nov 2013 ODI # 3437 3/34, 0 India v West Indies Kochi 21 Nov 2013 ODI # 3436 0/13, 10, 0/7 U. Pradesh v Saurashtra Rajkot 14 Nov 2013 FC 123, 2/19, 65, 1/22 U. Pradesh v Baroda Vadodara 7 Nov 2013 FC 28 India v Australia Bangalore 2 Nov 2013 ODI # 3428 0/17, 16 India v Australia Nagpur 30 Oct 2013 ODI # 3424 0/38 India v Australia Ranchi 23 Oct 2013 ODI # 3422

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 12, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @Joe-car. Do not try to twist it. Let me know whats the experience of these players in SA pitches! The same Dhavan, Rohit etc played well at home even without 10 game experience. Thats the situation of SA players. At home everyone has advantages.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 12, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    @Bang_La. Only a pathetic BD fan like you can comment like that!. Project only 1 or 2 games from the 25 games played. Why are you silent about the WC game in which your bowlers landed outside the ground or the last 9 Asiacups where BD bowlers hide under the mat and batsmen fainted in the pitch.

  • Bang_La on December 11, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    India's biggest problem is their below international standard bowling. India fans may need a grain of salt to digest it. I would just request them to please recall how Bangladesh thrashed their bowlers in Asia Cup to surpass 290 runs India put on board.

  • Alexk400 on December 11, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    I can see now indian batsman going to get injured if they become brave to short ball. So goodluck.

  • edgie on December 11, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    @yvivekcb , you are only as good as your last victory, and based on that, India are not very good. Being no 1 is nice, but u should play like the no 1 team, even when the odds are stacked against you, at least show some fight, tenacity, determination. This team, has shown that they are anything BUT the no 1 ODI team. I think it's time Indian supporters acknowledge that their team is only good at home, and outside of India are very average!

  • jaggernot on December 11, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Fact-1 India is a average team which plays well only on flat tracks. Fact-2 Dhoni is a good captain and has made bad decisions on this tour,should have had 4 quicks,should have left either jadeja or ashwin. Fact-3 Dhonis decision to bowl spinners after three wickets to quicks was super stupid shud have persisted with quicks and tried to wrap up SA innings. Fact 4 This comment comes from an Indian,Period.

  • yvivekcb on December 11, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    It's no denying fact that India is No.1 in ODIs. Top it up with World Champions & Champions of the Champions Trophy. If other teams are better then why can't they win the Major tournaments? Please explain friends. If you say those were batting pitches then does it mean other teams lack good batsmen. Friends admit the fact that India is the World champion and continue to dominate ODIs in the near future.

  • on December 11, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Wonder why they persist with Yuvraj and Raina ..they are just meant for Indian pitches.I guess for others to get chances,Dhoni has to be kicked out of captaincy ..He cant even test ppl like rahane and rayudu who are there for test series as well.

  • stormy16 on December 11, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Thankfully for India this is a short tour! but in all seriousness SA have been totally dominant and there should be no surprises here, SA are easily the best team in the world in terms of talent. Sure India have a few good batters but as we have already found out, that all depends on what the wicket is like. The good news for India is Centurian is easily one of the friendliest wickets in SA so finally the batters will get a chance to get bat on ball, which has been a problem for most in the top order.

  • on December 11, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Last Ten Innings of Raina - PROJECT RAINA OUT

    Bat & Bowl Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard 0/32, 36 India v South Africa Durban 8 Dec 2013 ODI # 3443 0/7, 14 India v South Africa Johannesburg 5 Dec 2013 ODI # 3442 0/29, 34 India v West Indies Kanpur 27 Nov 2013 ODI # 3439 23, 0/42 India v West Indies Visakhapatnam 24 Nov 2013 ODI # 3437 3/34, 0 India v West Indies Kochi 21 Nov 2013 ODI # 3436 0/13, 10, 0/7 U. Pradesh v Saurashtra Rajkot 14 Nov 2013 FC 123, 2/19, 65, 1/22 U. Pradesh v Baroda Vadodara 7 Nov 2013 FC 28 India v Australia Bangalore 2 Nov 2013 ODI # 3428 0/17, 16 India v Australia Nagpur 30 Oct 2013 ODI # 3424 0/38 India v Australia Ranchi 23 Oct 2013 ODI # 3422

  • on December 11, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    For all them people taking a lash @ India - ICC Rankings speak for itself - failure in two matches wont bring down the fact that they are the current world champions and the Champions of the Champions Trophy - One off cases happen - this unit is gonna rock - however, my request to Dhoni is to kick out Raina - enuff seriously of your unadulterated unexplained unimaginable and unheard of love and explanations regarding - please continue ur love in the T20 format - coz that guy is only fit for that - Please if u want i will cry to you also....please please beg u...u want me to fall @ ur feet....Dhoni please lemme knw i ll book a ticket to fly to South Africa to fall @ ur feet to take out ur man friday...one of the only people in his wedding.....phewwwwww - Project Raina should now be called - Project Please Raina - if u ve some self respect walk out of the team urself. Guys who accept what i said - continue the Slogan - "Raina Out Raina Out" - a self proclaimed fan of quality cricket

  • Imad_K on December 11, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Mahesh Sridharan-My friend the problem is that you are all living in denial. Speak to anyone who has played first class cricket and they will tell you that once the ball gets to around 90+ mph most batsmen in the world struggle. So you are talking about the English batsmen struggling against MJ - fair enough. His action, his speed, his line has caused problems to many batsmen including the top SA batsmen. The problem with India is that it's not just the express bowlers that have caused them problems. Look at how they struggled when they played away to England and Australia. Look at the scores - look yourself. They utterly got thrashed in virtually all formats. A team that can chase down tons of runs when playing in India. Look at the way their batsmen were facing the short ball even against people like Siddle etc. India had all their main batsmen but they all couldn't cope apart from maybe one or two. Until the Indian board don't address this problem they will continue to get thrashed.

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    What I don't like is that people question India against the short ball, fast wickets etc. The same is true of any nation against quality fast bowling!! Look at England in Australia! They've struggled against MJ. No one makes a big deal there.....

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    The ODIs were India's best chance to compete in SA. The tests will only be tougher. The technical flaws will show up even more. Barring an odd Kapil Dev, India never had bowlers who could bowl well in all conditions. But they were lucky to have a Tendulkar & Dravid (for several yrs) in their ODI side - players who could bat in all conditions, situations and formats. Now it's up to Kohli, Rohit & Dhawan to show that they can truly fill those shoes. Pujara, probably our best test batsman at the moment, should be included in the ODI squad as we prepare for foreign conditions at WC 2015 in Australia.

  • MHP-HASH on December 11, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    My dear friends please understand one thing, We know the credentials of our beloved cricketers ,India being a highly populated country ,we know that at least in India they produce entertaining cricket , some how we feel thrilled ,but now we need to realize that these players cannot perform in these conditions, they are proving these from many years, so please my cricket crazy fans just watch overseas cricket match as INDIAN FOOTBALL TEAM COMPETING IN FOOD BALL WORLD CUP...When a overseas tour is scheduled we all expect something new is gonna happen, I Believe in recent times the best overseas cricket played by India was in Australian Tour in 2003,any how wishing our cricketers all the very best to at least show some resilience and make poor fans like us proud...........

  • natarsx on December 11, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    To all SA Fans - where was the green pitch when Pak players were there a couple of weeks back. Flat tracks for Pak players as they had better bowlers and a green track for Indians.

    3rd ODI Pitch report says "Robin Jackman says on air that there is a not a blade of grass on the pitch that has juice on it. Hard, flat batting surface in Centurion"

    Lets see how green would be today's pitch.

    India is no different and they would do similar things if the game is in India.

    We will never enjoy or realize the real potential of cricketers. Pitch Doctoring is the order of the day. The more home games would mean you are no.1 in that form of cricket. ICC pls wake up!!!

  • nareshram on December 11, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    People making disparaging comments about India prematurely. They will defnitely improve with time . If you look at the overall perfomance of India in Championships especially world cups the dimal perfomance of Sa will come out.

  • ramli on December 11, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    It is just not sportive of any third party to rejoice at the failure of first team against second ... India has won enough tournaments outside India before this to show that they can compete ... just two matches are over now ... the batsmen seem to be in a hurry for no reason ... the mindset needs to change: from flamboyance to application ... then only you can comptete on helpful tracks ... winning or losing is different

  • on December 11, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    I think Dhoni should Test Amit Mishra over Ashwin..Rahane should open with Dhawan ..Rohit Should be the no.4 as he is facing difficulty to face new ball and is good with old ball...instead of Ishant bhuvi and Umesh open bowling and shami to ball old ball...Amla & ABD will be the key wickets...Good luck...

  • jango_moh on December 11, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    i agree with @Satyendra1, india have not played as badly as the scoreline looks... if you have actually watched the games, you can see that there were some bad shots, some unlucky ones etc.... which is why it would've been good if this was a good full tour instead of this joke..... either way, this team will learn from it, and i am going to hold my judgement on this new team since they are mostly all new players.... the haters can hate!!!!

  • on December 11, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    @ shriram

    i beleive u still in india, u forget SA score 358 and 280 (and there was highly lickly if they didnt shater in 2nd they might reached to 350 mark again)

    these are batting friendly, if these were not india might not able to reach 30 runs per innings

  • on December 11, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully - remember that Sri Lanka is a more younger team in the making with newer captains - even then : they kept a record of finishing an inning loosing just 1 wicket in West Indies. They have less match practice but they fight better..

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Flat Track Bullies..... Here comes RSA again today to vanish you and you the called Champs will see that this is not India where you will score runs on Flat pitches to entertain your so called cricket loving crowd.. Cowards... go and first try to improve your techniques of playing Cricket... You Flat Track Bullies spoiled the spirit cricket trough money and you people doesn't deserve to play cricket... the day is not so far when you people will not be able to win even from Afghanistan... You are saying you want to play with Sri Lanka to improve your form Ha.. they are far better professionals than you and love cricket not money.......

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    " equally inexperienced indian batsmen" hahaha...what do u like them to have...? experiance of 500 odi each before facing SA in SA...common

  • imtiazjaleel on December 11, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    i believe our bowlers can only win the game. If they bowl well and restrict SA to a modest total or defend our modest total then only we can win otherwise no hope. You see Pakistani bowlers performed well in these conditions therefore they won the games.

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Optimism is good but going away from reality is bad. Let's face the reality that Indian team does not perform well overseas. I hope that the series do not end as whitewash for Indians but the current results and technique of the world-beaters (only at home) suggests otherwise.

  • Testcricketistop on December 11, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    The problem I see for Indian batsmen in this series is that they are not applying themselves.

    Coming from dead pitches where you can swing at anything is not the same as playing in SA.

    You need to have a plan of attack, you need to know which balls to hit and when to leave.

    You also don't need a blistering start to achieve a big score, look at SA, in both innings their start was solid, but not spectacular.

    They play with intelligence in the first 15 overs, aim to have 75 with no loss after 15 overs, and then slowly build the innings until eventually with wickets in hand they can build somewhere between 260 and 320 runs.

    sometimes it comes off and they get more, other times it doesn't, they lose a few wickets but still manages to score 250+

  • SumitDeshmukh on December 11, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    I agree with viru-319-219.. The conditions here in SA are quite different than back in home. We have got used to see this team performing well throughout the year. But now they are facing a challenge in terms of pace and bounce against Steyn and Morkel in their home conditions. It is just a matter of time for this young team to adjust to these conditions. At the end of the day they will come back strong and till then we have to support the team INDIA.

  • sherishahmir on December 11, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    The lack of practices matches r hurting Indian team on this tour despite the sub-continent batsman traditional inability to play on the bouncing, lively and seaming tracks. I think the BCCI is responsible the way they scrap such a high profile tour of South Africa, had it gone as planned results would have been different. Kohli, Rohit and Yuvraj Singh are really good players with sound technique on any track but poor management by BCCI costing this Indian team performance.

  • Satyendra1 on December 11, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    India so far have performed poorly at times and have been a tad unlucky at times..!! Rohit didn't throw his wicket away in the first ODI and in second it was a superb catch by Amla !! Dhawan and Kohli were out to poor choice of strokes. Raina and Jadeja batted well for as long as they did. Dhoni was superb in first ODI. Bowlers bowled well only in patches though overall they were guilty of bowling too much short stuff - both spinners as well as pacers.!! A few edges just fell short of Indian fielders. India actually haven't been that bad as the margin of defeat suggests. With little luck and little more application they surely can turn the tables !! Common India show some resolve. Good luck !!!

  • Damian123 on December 11, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    It's a whitewash, for sure!

  • on December 11, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    IPL has given Indian players unlimited wealth. Look at Jadeja's contract for instance. By international standards he is mediocre. Once u make so much money, the hunger is gone. The desire to succeed evaporates fast. In other countries players play hard so they can retain their place in the side and earn a living. In India as long as u get to play in the IPL all your expenses are taken care off. So why bother.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 11, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Is it possible to arrange a practice match with Sri Lanka before the match? A cakewalk against SL will boost the confidence of Indian players.

  • on December 11, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    we should replace rohit and shikhar by gambhir and shehwag.

  • on December 11, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    shami is a good find I must say. I'm wondering where are those performing batsman who were scoring centuries/double centuries. why is it that then indian team struggles on a non indian pitch. South African bowlers were playing with indian batsman as if they are beginners.

  • on December 11, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    indian team is much more exp than SA....ind batting always fails away from home...thats not the first time we are seeing this

  • on December 11, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    Haters please we have won trophies all over the world ! No need to cry over pointless series... We won two Cups in England CT and WC. SA 2007 T20 WC . India 2011 World Cup!! WE are CHAMPIONS! As long as my Team India keeps winning big tournies All is Well!!!

  • AH_USA on December 11, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    @Nampally: I am a PAK supporter but I enjoy most of your analysis. They are objective and fact based. Zahir Khan is a decent bowler and can cause damage to the SA's top order. However, he is also very prone to injuries and that is one of the reasons that he has been in and out on frequent basis. May be MSD should use him wisely and shouldn't give him long spells. I agree with you that there is simply no alternative to good footwork. Power hitting can take you only so far but without good footwork, it is not easy to get out of a bad patch, which every batsman no matter how good he is has to face from time to time.

  • on December 11, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Indian will toast here , UK and Australia. Only good opening stand with 100 plus can assure good betting performance. Only pair who did well in seaming condition was of Jaffer and karthik, both still in great touch but sidelined by current BCCI management and selectors. They kept Ghambir and Sahwag alive then replaced them with Dhawan and Murli. These are only for India talent. if they field jaffer and kartik as openers, they will get 100 plus stand which will help middle order. they took a injured Sahwag to england rather than recall Jaffer. Of course Shahwah failed. reason being Shahwag makes 5-10 crores in earnings, so need to keep brand value.

  • Ian_SA on December 11, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    Reply to "Shri Ram": South Africa should prepare more friendly batting wickets? These are perfect batting wickets! South Africa have scored 358 and 280 totals, and 150 and 190 run opening stands on both so far. So the pitches have a little something in it for the bowlers, especially early on. GREAT! Patience is needed by the batsmen to see this through. Wonderful that these are not just dead slog-fest pitches that any batsmen can just close his eyes and swing away from ball one. Granted, India have a pretty average bowling attack, especially when spin is not a big factor. But South Africa's recent poor form in one day cricket has nothing to do with pitches in SA, and more to do with an unsettled team. The pitches have been more or less the same in SA over the last 20 years and SA have generally had ODI teams and results of a very high standard both home and away (World Cup knock-out rounds are obviously an exception). ODIs: SA W310 L174 = 64%wins. India W423 L378 = 53%

  • LoveTeamIndia on December 10, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    Who says that India must show they can compete? After India lost miserably in all forms of cricket in England and Australia, no change was made. Dhoni kept his throne in spite of listless captaincy and no one was dropped. Sehwag, Gambhir etc. were dropped later, but only after the home test series following those tours. So the India team knows that nothing will happen if they lose in South Africa. They will definitely find a weak team sooner or later (probably New Zealand) and become tigers again. To summarize, India do not have to show anything :-)

  • Sbajiya3 on December 10, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    India need to win this game and the thing that is laking in them is a stable no. 4 and a pace bowler along side sami

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 10, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    The problem with the Indian team is more mentally oriented than skill or technique. If you look at both teams, India have the better talent, batting wise at least. So they CAN combat Steyn and Morkel if they put their heads to the use. If we compare both England and India, both have been blown away by short pitched deliveries. It's more of a mind thing really. India need to believe that they can compete. With the series already gone, it gives them an ideal situation to play fearlessly. Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli are all amazing players who have done well in the past 10 months. It is time for some reckoning before the test series. I truly believe they can compete and they are much better than what the results have shown thus far. All they need to do is spend some time in the middle, and FORGET about the run rate. It's not easy to score runs off every ball in these conditions. So they need to be patient cause the bad balls will surely come. All the best Team India. We believe in you.

  • on December 10, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    SA is good every where around the world and on all sorts of wickets. Fast track is for both bowlers and batsmen as well. Indians have failed so far and it could have been worse had they opted to bat first. SA batsmen shwed their skills to bat first and still scored. I think Indians are at their best only in India.

  • Kappa69 on December 10, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    No chance for INDIA in this series. This is going to be a one sided tour

  • Temuzin on December 10, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    We Indian fans are expert in finding out who is technically correct and who is not in the team. Except Dhoni everybody is technicall excellent but funny thing is only Dhoni was able to make any run in 2 ODIs.

  • blthndr on December 10, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    @ Nampally....."Rohit , if you are here to compete, get your footwork right. That is the primary reason for the batting failure"....i dont see footwork is th emain problem here.. if u r not refering to the upcoming test matches.... kohli nicked twice he could hav left that both times.... dhawan got out for playing attacking shot both the time....rohit got run out n get caught by playing a pull shot....main reason is that they dont hav the patience enough to stay at crease n they need to avoid some shots early in their innings....for india the first 10 overs are the key....if top order fail again(with a fragile middle order n bowling line up) it will be the same outcome....

  • kingsolly on December 10, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    @ Shri Ram , you are kidding that South Africa should have created more batter friendly pitches , did you not notice that South Africa scored 358 and 280 respectively in the last 2 ODI's, what were you expecting 400 plus batter friendly ODI pitches.

  • sixesandfours on December 10, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    Winning toss and bat first in SA is the key for Indians. India won their most of their matches in Zimbabwe and in England by batting first and they should not keep the same strategy used against Australia in India. Play for 50 overs and focus on 2nd and 3rd change SA bowlers. Lets first up bowlers play wisey even 30-40 in first 10 overs and 70-80 in 20 overs good for india to make 260+ in 50 overs. See if SA can chase without choking (Usually SA is choking prone masters) thats what India to plan well. Best Wishes.

  • Testcricketistop on December 10, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    Shri Ram, South Africa scored 350 and 280, how is that not good batting wickets?

  • on December 10, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    @shri ram: i guess you forgot that SA scored 358 and 280 in the first two matches, so obviously those pitches werent bad for batting. It was just poor batting from India, and obviously good bowling from SA.

  • on December 10, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    I think India is going to lose the 3rd one in a row. India Pak Sri Lanka r not used to play on green n fast tracks. Wondering why south asian teams don't have fast tracks at homes same as they play on abroad in South Africa or Australia. Good Luck India in next match.

  • on December 10, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    Though this cannot be an excuse for the Indian showing, I always wonder why South Africa produces such bowling tracks for the ODIs. Its ok for tests, but South Africa should produce more batting friendly wickets for ODIs just like every other country is doing. No wonder, their record in ODIs is poor once they step out of their home or when a team with good fast bowlers tour here.

  • Nampally on December 10, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    Rohit , if you are here to compete, get your footwork right. That is the primary reason for the batting failure. In addition I would counter with the top 4 Test batting line up- Rohit Sharma, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli - knowing how badly the ODI line up did. In bowling bring in ZA with Shami to open the attack & get rid of the SA openers early. The other 5 should be Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja, Raina & Yadev. This XI has a better mix of experience & ability. Also it will be a practice for 2 of the Test players. Playing with the same guys who have failed does not make much sense unless fresh talent is included. India needs to get the SA openers early + have their own openers putting a good partnership. They need a sheet Anchor in Pujara to hold one end so that the batsmen can attack from the other end + avoid procession of Outs!. In ZAK, the SA openers will see a crafty swing bowler who can cause some head aches.Thats the only way the team can compete. Fans want Action not Excuses for Failures.

  • viru-319-219 on December 10, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Come on Guys, you just can't say HE should have been there, pick HIM and all other stuff. These guys are in SA because they proved they can play and TEAM management feels they are the ones who can do the job assigned to them. I agree that Pujara is technically good but who is not technically good in the team except Dhoni. Every batsman has the technique of his own and that is why he is playing international cricket and moreover management feels there is no role for Pujara in this team and that is why he is not being included. Let them try Rahane and Rayudu first and if they fail they will look for other alternatives. Gambhir is other curious case, he failed very badly in ENG and AUS series and was clearly troubled by back of length bowling (not short pitched) and how can you say he will perform better than the guys in the team who are capable of playing short pitched bowling. It is just matter of time before they start performing and we need to be patient until then and support them :)

  • Dhanno on December 10, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    India won the toss both times, why didnt they chose to bat once ? Then there would have been no mountains of runs to chase, just face Steyn and Morkel with clearest of mindset. Once a great captain said, win a toss chose to bat, if in doubt still chose to bat (it was meant for test matches I know!) but India could have batted first atleast in the second ODI. The conditions were far benign, now we can only complain that our bowling is not good and batting is under undue pressure. @Ishwar, Gambhir lost the fighter tag when he complained about the pitches in Australia/ ENg 8-0 mauling and kept saying that he will dish the same thing to Eng when they visit (we will bring spinner friendly pitches and beat them woo-hoo!). The result was a home test series defeat for Indian against ENgland.

  • Joe-car on December 10, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Inexperienced side? Let's see. 1. Dhawan- 30, 2. Rohit- 113, 3. Kholi- 124, 4. Rahane/Yuvraj- 18/292, 5. Raina- 185, 6. Dhoni- 237, 7. Jadeja- 91, 8. Ashwin- 69, 9. Yadav/Kumar- 27/26, 10. Shami- 19 and 11. Ishant/Mohit- 69/5. Compared to 1. De Kock- 15, 2. Amla- 84, 3. Kallis- 325, 4. Ab- 158, 5. JP- 114, 6. Miller- 39, 7. Mclaren- 39, 8. Vernon/Parnel- 12/32, 9. Steyn- 79, 10. Morkel- 73 and 11. Tsotsobe- 60. Based on those stats I India are the more experienced side. But based on bouncy, seaming and quick wickets then SA is more experienced, although Kholi doesn't have that excuse- Bangalore is one of the bounciest, seaming and quickest wickets in the world. My advice to Ind in the next ODI is to bat first against SA no matter the conditions.

  • on December 10, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    If India win the toss,they should bowl first as Joburg normally flattens a lot towards the end. Im sure India can perform well batting but it wont be easy.Intensity is key and getting the left hander to face Steyn will be imperative.Rotation of the strike will be vital against Philander as it wont allow him to set up a batsman for too long.Morkel will potentially present the odd wayward delivery which are scoring opportunities.As well,Morkel can be left on length on the bouncy surface.Kallis will be used in short,sharp bursts and should not be hooked.Most of his deliveries will miss the stumps.The spinner can be milked.Bat long,dont lose more than 2 wickets before lunch if batting first or 2 wickets in a session.As long as as crease occupation occurs,then scoring opportunities will present themselves more as the day wears on.India can do it if they think it through,have courage and patience.Both the drive and horizontal shots can be effective on this wicket and outfield is quick.

  • SevereCritic on December 10, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    Well.. there's no SRT to score 2 centuries in as many matches like last time India visited SA. These youngsters are falling way short of expectations and the standards set by the previous generation. Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit are no SRT, Laxman or Dravid. Pujara played that last series btw - and had highly forgettable performances. Expect a solid battering while the youngsters find their feet.

  • kbza86 on December 10, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    and also, Kevin Pietersen, Chris Gayle, Ravi Bopara, Saeed ajmal, the late Malcolm Marshal and more recently, Graeme Onions of England are a list of high class perfomers that have come to south africa to find form...and 95% come out of SA firing...because of the quality seam opposition...if seam is an issue, send Rohit, shikar etc for one season..we have guys who bowl 145/150 kph in domestic

  • IAS2009 on December 10, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    It is hard to bat in SA because of bounce and lateral movement both in Tests, In Australia it is bounce on some pitches on first day and easy to bat on third day. India has to protect the wickets in first 20 overs and be aggressive to score runs between 20-80 overs, they should be aggressive to put runs on the board, SA batting will not collapse twice in their own ground to Indian bowling, so big score will be needed to apply pressure. SA are used to play on these pitches and India have only Yadav who is real quick. SA have the weakness of not getting wickets with the old ball, if batsman are patient and survive first onslaught of short pitch quick stuff, they will benefit later in the inning. easy to say than done though. Good luck.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    WE should put in Pujara in the place of Yuvraj...

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Team India has reached such a formidable position by virtue of their performance in the two ODIs against SA, it is better for the star(?) batsmen to abstain from making any comments and transform the chattering into performance and if successful, then open your mouths. Develop the consistency in your performance boys, position and reputations will follow. Best wishes for the 3rd ODI and the tests ahead.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    India needs a fighter like Gambir on its team. The untried, short-ball shy newbies need to develop some backbone and Gambir can lead by example. The return of Zaheer will help the young bowlers too.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    What you need in South Africa and Australia on bouncy tracks is someone who can hold the innings together by playing technically sound batting and accumulate runs via singles/twos and well timed boundaries on bad balls. Pujara is the man in the current line up who fits this bill and not sure why is not roped in yet into the playing eleven. Pujara is the pivot and other strokemakers can play around him. Get Pujara in place of Yuvraj (who is completely out of place).

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    As everyone seems to get out to bad shots, as well bring Sehwag in the team:-)

  • hayer on December 10, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    I think after this series India will realise Ghambhir's worth. No doubt he was badly out of form on the tours of England and Aus. But he has shown signs for improvement.

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  • hayer on December 10, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    I think after this series India will realise Ghambhir's worth. No doubt he was badly out of form on the tours of England and Aus. But he has shown signs for improvement.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    As everyone seems to get out to bad shots, as well bring Sehwag in the team:-)

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    What you need in South Africa and Australia on bouncy tracks is someone who can hold the innings together by playing technically sound batting and accumulate runs via singles/twos and well timed boundaries on bad balls. Pujara is the man in the current line up who fits this bill and not sure why is not roped in yet into the playing eleven. Pujara is the pivot and other strokemakers can play around him. Get Pujara in place of Yuvraj (who is completely out of place).

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    India needs a fighter like Gambir on its team. The untried, short-ball shy newbies need to develop some backbone and Gambir can lead by example. The return of Zaheer will help the young bowlers too.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Team India has reached such a formidable position by virtue of their performance in the two ODIs against SA, it is better for the star(?) batsmen to abstain from making any comments and transform the chattering into performance and if successful, then open your mouths. Develop the consistency in your performance boys, position and reputations will follow. Best wishes for the 3rd ODI and the tests ahead.

  • on December 10, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    WE should put in Pujara in the place of Yuvraj...

  • IAS2009 on December 10, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    It is hard to bat in SA because of bounce and lateral movement both in Tests, In Australia it is bounce on some pitches on first day and easy to bat on third day. India has to protect the wickets in first 20 overs and be aggressive to score runs between 20-80 overs, they should be aggressive to put runs on the board, SA batting will not collapse twice in their own ground to Indian bowling, so big score will be needed to apply pressure. SA are used to play on these pitches and India have only Yadav who is real quick. SA have the weakness of not getting wickets with the old ball, if batsman are patient and survive first onslaught of short pitch quick stuff, they will benefit later in the inning. easy to say than done though. Good luck.

  • kbza86 on December 10, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    and also, Kevin Pietersen, Chris Gayle, Ravi Bopara, Saeed ajmal, the late Malcolm Marshal and more recently, Graeme Onions of England are a list of high class perfomers that have come to south africa to find form...and 95% come out of SA firing...because of the quality seam opposition...if seam is an issue, send Rohit, shikar etc for one season..we have guys who bowl 145/150 kph in domestic

  • SevereCritic on December 10, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    Well.. there's no SRT to score 2 centuries in as many matches like last time India visited SA. These youngsters are falling way short of expectations and the standards set by the previous generation. Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit are no SRT, Laxman or Dravid. Pujara played that last series btw - and had highly forgettable performances. Expect a solid battering while the youngsters find their feet.

  • on December 10, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    If India win the toss,they should bowl first as Joburg normally flattens a lot towards the end. Im sure India can perform well batting but it wont be easy.Intensity is key and getting the left hander to face Steyn will be imperative.Rotation of the strike will be vital against Philander as it wont allow him to set up a batsman for too long.Morkel will potentially present the odd wayward delivery which are scoring opportunities.As well,Morkel can be left on length on the bouncy surface.Kallis will be used in short,sharp bursts and should not be hooked.Most of his deliveries will miss the stumps.The spinner can be milked.Bat long,dont lose more than 2 wickets before lunch if batting first or 2 wickets in a session.As long as as crease occupation occurs,then scoring opportunities will present themselves more as the day wears on.India can do it if they think it through,have courage and patience.Both the drive and horizontal shots can be effective on this wicket and outfield is quick.