South African Invitation XI v Indians, Benoni December 13, 2013

Weather ruins India's only practice game


India's only practice match on this pocket-sized tour of South Africa has been called off on a warm and sunny day. Benoni has received more than 800mm rain over the last three weeks, which resulted in an unusually high water table, adding to the woes of one of the slower draining grounds in South Africa. Although the pitch was ready on the morning of the match, there were a few wet patches on the outfield. The first day's play was called off early in the morning but, later in the afternoon, the groundstaff indicated it was not possible to get the ground ready for the second day either.

Willowmoore Park in Benoni raced against time to get ready for the match, which was moved a day forward to avoid a clash with former president Nelson Mandela's funeral. However, a storm on the eve of the game put paid to the efforts of the groundsmen, who had erected a tent to prepare the pitch even as it rained.

If India were peeved they couldn't play despite warm sunshine, they didn't show it. They practised hard with Duncan Fletcher looking over the slips-catching practice before the batsmen moved into the net. Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja didn't bat for long, which could be a sign - albeit it's early to be looking for them - that India might play Ajinkya Rahane as the specialist batsman at Wanderers where the first Test will begin on the 18th.

The Indian team management seemed to be quite understanding of the situation. The last few weeks have brought unexpected rainfall to the Highveld. Short and sharp showers are the usual fare here, but this summer has brought less intense but more persistent rainfall to the region. The fate of the Benoni game was the subject of speculation even when the third ODI was on, but it couldn't have been easy to move an international team to another small venue given all the security requirements. It is not known if India asked for a change of venue or if CSA offered it.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    Friends, why are you shouting so -vely for India ? It is but natural for every player a bit struggle in overseas condition. Evrybody is watching what Englad & WI are struggling the same way. WI won easily with the same opponents in their home series & same happened in last ashes in England. Can anybody predict De Cock will perform same in India againnst same Ashwin & Jadeja ? What happened to Steyn in last IPL when his countryman Devilliers hit 27 runs in one over for RCB ? So what India is having hard time is a just part of the game. I m sure, Our heros Shikhar, Virat & Rohit must be working hard for test series. In ODIs definately nobody among these 3, threw their wickets or scared of bouncers of SA bowlere. Its only lack of practice games which should have been there before ODIs. This is very important series for Rohit, Shikhar & Virat. They are the three young pillers of our Indian batting. We should support them instead of only critisism. In tests India will do better. Best wishes

  • Srinivas on December 14, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    What a pathetic ground with horrible drainage. Time for South Africa to update their little old grounds.

  • ADARSH on December 14, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    It was really a disappointing performance by India in ODIs seeing the way they lost against SA. The only satisfied performance was frm Ishanth, Dhoni and Shami. Raina was also OK. There is no need of pointing out saying that "India is a weak unit outside sub-continent, Dhoni is not a good captain, Go Raina Go, India is a flat truck bully". Right now India is the best team in ODI without a doubt. Only concern is their fast bowling dept. If Indian tracks are best for batting then why didnot Australian bowlers contain Indian batting? How could India win in Champions Trophy and Tri-series?

    In tests South Africa is the best. Its good and satisfactory if Indians can manage a draw against them in their homesoil thinking India's inexperienced players.

    India's playing 11 : Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar, Zaheer, Shami, Ishanth. I feel India shd go with 4 fasters. Bhuvi is India's Philander. Zaheer and Ishanth fr their xperience, Shami fr his gud form.

  • Blaen on December 14, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    The stats of the SA invitation pace men:

    BE Hendricks Avge: 20.51 SR: 37.4 D Paterson Avge: 20.91 SR: 38.7 E Leie Avge: 24.89 SR: 41.4 H Viljoen Avge: 26.13 SR: 42.8 C Dry Ave: 27.76 SR: 48.8

    Mohamed Shami is the only Indian pacer that comes close to these stats. Man for man, these pacers are better than their Indian counterparts (and they are still evolving) and most of them would walk into the starting lineup of teams such as ZIM, WI, NZ, Eng, Ind, Bang. If they are that good, does it not confirm the exellence of the SA test bowlers?

    Rather than seeing the washout as a negative, if I was an Indian fan, I would see it as a opportunity not to be embarrassed or even worse yet, humiliated by the B team.

    These SA pacers are good, but with the added motivation of trying to secure a berth in the future test team as well as the of field animosity that has been brewing between CSA and BCCI, you can bet that these guys would have been pumped up and motivated to prove a point!

  • Eshwar Amarnath on December 14, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    This short series will be a big test for the two most promising batsmen - Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Pujara has already shown that he can bat long periods and also consistently. Kohli hasn't been as prolific as he has been in the ODI format. Back to back test hundreds away from home must be his immediate goal. Rohit Sharma, the most gifted batsmen of the current lot does not have the defence that is required. At this stage of his career, he is similar to laxman, very lazy, and loose at times. If both can click in this series, then India may end up with a respectable scoreline. Last, but not least, back to back half centuries from dhoni will also make his supporters happy.

  • Harmon on December 14, 2013, 9:36 GMT


    So you are once again playing the game of stats even when you know fully well that you are poor at number crunching? Will you tell me how many did Steyn go for vs India when Sachin scored his 200 in Gwalior? I think it was 10 overs for 89 runs. This might be the most expensive bowling figure ever if our parameter is Great Bowlers.

    As for the shortened tour, it again proves that someone had sinister designs. Someone irked India knowing that the tour will be shortened, India will not get practice matches & will certainly lose the initial matches due to lack of acclimatization. In 2010-11, India lost the 1st test at Newlands quite badly cos they were not prepared. By the 2nd test they were ready & they defeated SA at Durban. By the 3rd test they were so much better that SA barely managed to escape with a draw.

    Why should the burden be on India to keep long standing agreements if the other side does not know how to treat old friends???

  • Muthuvel on December 14, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    its going to be a 3 day game, but ind will win it. Ind will bat first and score big. Pak fans speak too much even when their team is not involved.

  • Tahir on December 14, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Rain denied SA a chance to find some batsmen shining out of this tour game given india's bowling stocks. On the other hand SAF bowlers would have capatilised on the pressure on indian batting from odi series and made themselves prominent. On the other hand the game was only chance of practice before the grueling series against the no1 team but you cannot design your destiny 100%. Indian board in a bit to teach Lorgat a lesson has axed their own legs. SA gave them the tour game on this ground and BCCI did not analyse the impact. SA already have returned the humiliation to Ind and more to come in tests.

  • Android on December 14, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    welcome to southafrica :D

  • Bhaskar on December 14, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    Team for 1st test = Dhawan, Vijay (everybody knows he will fail but he will be selected for scoring well in India), Pujara, Kohli, Rohit (minnow basher in home conditions), Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja (a must for tests, as he is very good spinner), Bhuvi, Zaheer & Shami

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