South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban December 24, 2013

Spinners thrive but South Africa struggle in Durban

A statistical summary of South Africa's record at Kingsmead, Durban
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The second Test at Durban will give India a good opportunity to secure their first series win in South Africa. Kingsmead has been the Achilles heel for an otherwise strong South Africa Test side at home in the recent past. Their overall win-loss record at home in the last five years belies the strength of their side. Since 2009, South Africa have lost six of their 21 Tests at home. Their win-loss ratio of 1.83 is ordinary - four teams have a better win-loss record playing at home than South Africa. India tops this table, having won 17 and lost three Tests, with a win-loss ratio of 5.66.

However, four of the six losses that South Africa have had at home during this period, have come at Kingsmead. They have lost to four different teams at this venue. Two of them have been teams from the subcontinent - not the strongest opposition when playing away from home. India beat South Africa by 87 runs in a low-scoring Test the last time these two teams played at Kingsmead in 2010. In 2011, Sri Lanka sprung a surprise by routing the hosts by 208 runs - their first and only Test win in South Africa.

Only Bangladesh, in Mirpur and Chittagong, have lost these many, or more, at a home venue since 2009. Take Kingsmead out of the equation, and South Africa's home record reads much better - 11 wins and 2 losses in 17 games - a win-loss record of 5.5.

Teams with 4 or more losses and no wins at a venue, since 2009
Team Venue Mat Won Drawn Lost Ave
Bangladesh Mirpur 6 0 1 5 31.89
Bangladesh Chittagong 6 0 2 4 29.70
South Africa Durban 4 0 0 4 22.29

In each of the last four Tests, South Africa had one innings when they were bowled out for a below-par score - 138 all out against Australia, 131 all out against India, 168 all out against Sri Lanka, and 133 all out against England.

On three of those occasions, South Africa fielded first, and had to do most of their first-innings batting on the second day of the Test. Conditions have generally been challenging for batsmen at Kingsmead and more so on the second day. South Africa have managed to score an average of 16 runs per wicket on the second day and opposition teams have done worse, scoring just 12 runs per wicket. South Africa's scores on the second day of these Tests read - 138 for 7 against Australia, 131 all out against India, and 168 all out against Sri Lanka. The only exception was the Test against England, when South Africa batted first and scored 168 runs for the loss of their last-five wickets on a rain-affected second day and England scored 103 for 1 in their first innings. In this Test though, South Africa's collapse came in the second innings.

Day-wise averages at Kingsmead, last four Tests
Day Ave Runs Ave Wkts Ave Runs/Wkt
Day five* 91.5 6 15.3
Day two 231.7 12.7 18.2
Day four 228.7 9.2 24.7
Day one 237.5 5.5 43.2
Day three 267.7 6.0 44.6

* Only 64.1 overs were totally bowled on the fifth day of the two Tests that lasted upto day five - against Australia and England

In South Africa, pitches are generally conducive for fast bowling and, as Johannesburg showed, not as supportive for spinners. However, Kingsmead has been an exception. Among venues outside the subcontinent since 2000, spinners have averaged 29.68 at this venue, the second-best among all venues after Kingston, Jamaica, where they average a fraction of a run more. It hasn't been all about worn down pitches on the fourth and fifth day, either. Of the 40 wickets taken by spinners in the last four matches at Kingsmead, 19 have come in the first innings, and 11 of them have been taken on the second day of the Test. All 11 of these have been South Africa batsmen, and the fact that the South Africans have had to face up to some quality spin bowlers like Graeme Swann, Harbhajan Singh and Rangana Herath, in helpful conditions, hasn't helped their cause.

Spin and pace at Kingsmead, last-four Tests
Bowling Type Overs Wkts Ave SR BBI BBM
Spin 393.1 40 28.67 58.9 5/54 9/128
Pace 902.1 98 28.16 55.2 7/81 8/110

That the South Africa batsmen have had if difficult at Kingsmead is evident from the fact that among all grounds they have played Tests in since 2009, their top order averages the least at this venue. South Africa batsmen haven't hit a hundred in their last four Tests at this venue but have scored nine fifties, which suggests they haven't been able to capitalise on their starts. Overall though, their record is much better with Jacques Kallis (4 hundreds), AB de Villiers (1) and Graeme Smith (1) having hit centuries at the venue. Kallis has scored 1151 runs at 47.95 at Kingsmead, followed by de Villiers, who has 587 runs at 45.15. Hashim Amla, however, is yet to make an impression at his home ground. He's scored only 276 runs at 21.23 in Durban from 13 innings. Of these, in three innings he's got out for a duck.

South Africa batsmen at Kingsmead
Batsmen Inn Runs HS Ave 100 50
Jacques Kallis 26 1151 177 47.95 4 5
AB de Villiers 15 587 103* 45.15 1 5
Graeme Smith 19 536 147 31.52 1 2
Hashim Amla 13 276 69 21.23 0 3
JP Duminy 4 94 73* 31.33 0 1
Alviro Petersen 2 50 26 25.00 0 0

South Africa's top-order batsmen have scored 1295 runs at 24.9 in the last four Tests, including six ducks. In contrast, overseas top-order batsmen haven't done badly, scoring 2018 runs at 42.93, including seven hundreds and eight fifties. In spite of having world-class fast bowling in their ranks, South Africa haven't been able to stifle the opposition batsmen - suggesting that lack of quality spin-bowling has been the difference between them and their opposition at Kingsmead in recent times.

Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mohanckj on December 26, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    "11 wins and 2 losses in 17 games - a win-loss record of 8.5.".. Please correct the stat. win-loss record would be 5.5 and not 8.5

  • kingcobra85 on December 26, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Remove Rohit and include Ojha/Jadeja. I think Jadeja is better bet than Ojha when you take in batting and fielding, Ojha bowling is not that good to overshadow Jadeja's pros in other two departments of the game

  • dhoni_sachin_fan on December 26, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    @Sanjay : We are grateful to Sehwag for that. But that is not a qualifier to get into the side. By that logic, let's call back Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and few others coz they won us so many matches

  • on December 26, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    ive been seeing people talking all wrongs about sehwag but let them please know that in the last decade india were on the top because of players like him heis the the alltime natural wonder who the bowlers all over the world fear so please stop making absurd and ridiculous remarks about him and please stop to compare him with anyone sehwag is sehwag he singlehandedly destroyed many attacks

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 26, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    All the best India. Now the forums seems to be clean. No baseless arguments or claims - thanks to Pakistan's win over FTB.

  • vinjoy on December 26, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    @Venkiviru Haha, see Sehwag's effort in current Ranji season, he is about to be DROPPED from the Delhi Ranji team! Lets move on now!

  • Venkiviru on December 26, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    bring sehwag back....he is a match winner

  • on December 25, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    so that's it for rahane in this series.... wish he had some luck.... for.all the effort he has put in 1st innings of the first match, Rohit will get infinite number of chances to prove his talent.... good luck rahane for the newzeland tour, hope you get a full series there.... wish jadeja and.ojah play here( if it assists spinners as shown here).... all the best India, win the toss bat first....

  • TRAM on December 25, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Ohja/Jadeja in place of RSharma would be best. India must have 2 full time spinners. It would not be fair to drop Rahane who batted and fielded very well. Bhuvi in place of Zaheer/Ishant would be good, but Dhoni wont do it. Bhuvi would certainly take 2-3 wkts per innings up front if Dhoni gives him attacking field set up.

    If Dhawan plays normal game instead of unnecessarily self-imposed aggressive style, India would win easily. He is capable of that.

  • on December 25, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    great chance for india to win their first series in SA. Wish them best of luck

  • mohanckj on December 26, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    "11 wins and 2 losses in 17 games - a win-loss record of 8.5.".. Please correct the stat. win-loss record would be 5.5 and not 8.5

  • kingcobra85 on December 26, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Remove Rohit and include Ojha/Jadeja. I think Jadeja is better bet than Ojha when you take in batting and fielding, Ojha bowling is not that good to overshadow Jadeja's pros in other two departments of the game

  • dhoni_sachin_fan on December 26, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    @Sanjay : We are grateful to Sehwag for that. But that is not a qualifier to get into the side. By that logic, let's call back Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and few others coz they won us so many matches

  • on December 26, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    ive been seeing people talking all wrongs about sehwag but let them please know that in the last decade india were on the top because of players like him heis the the alltime natural wonder who the bowlers all over the world fear so please stop making absurd and ridiculous remarks about him and please stop to compare him with anyone sehwag is sehwag he singlehandedly destroyed many attacks

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 26, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    All the best India. Now the forums seems to be clean. No baseless arguments or claims - thanks to Pakistan's win over FTB.

  • vinjoy on December 26, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    @Venkiviru Haha, see Sehwag's effort in current Ranji season, he is about to be DROPPED from the Delhi Ranji team! Lets move on now!

  • Venkiviru on December 26, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    bring sehwag back....he is a match winner

  • on December 25, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    so that's it for rahane in this series.... wish he had some luck.... for.all the effort he has put in 1st innings of the first match, Rohit will get infinite number of chances to prove his talent.... good luck rahane for the newzeland tour, hope you get a full series there.... wish jadeja and.ojah play here( if it assists spinners as shown here).... all the best India, win the toss bat first....

  • TRAM on December 25, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Ohja/Jadeja in place of RSharma would be best. India must have 2 full time spinners. It would not be fair to drop Rahane who batted and fielded very well. Bhuvi in place of Zaheer/Ishant would be good, but Dhoni wont do it. Bhuvi would certainly take 2-3 wkts per innings up front if Dhoni gives him attacking field set up.

    If Dhawan plays normal game instead of unnecessarily self-imposed aggressive style, India would win easily. He is capable of that.

  • on December 25, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    great chance for india to win their first series in SA. Wish them best of luck

  • Arrow011 on December 25, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Shikar, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni, Rohit, Ashwin, Jadeja, Ishant, Zaheer & Shami. It is time to remove Ajinkya for the allrounder Jadeja. 2 spinners should always be played, irrespective of pitches. Dhoni needs to take batting responsbility, he cannot hide at 7, he needs to bat at 5 just after Kohli. Rohit is 3-4 tests old, Jadeja is new too, why come after them? He should become a middle order batsman & not lower order. He is not Nayan Mondia or Dahiya, he averages over 52 in ODIs & 39 in tests.

  • Electric_L0ser_Wacko on December 25, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Ind should stick with the same combo for the next match.. agreed statistic point that the spinners have been more successful, However playing 2 spinners is not an ideal option for any SA wicket.. specially if the opposition is a sub continent team... we should strictly stick with specialists rather than going for bit & pieces players like Sir Jadeja.. Ash should be enough with 3 seamers in Zak, Shami, Ishant/Bhuvi.. Batting wise - lets stick with the same game plan.. hope Ind wins the toss and bats and "Shikari" Dhawan goes beserk!!!.. if he doesn't click here then i'm afraid its another sehwag in the making.

  • NEIL_GD_S10 on December 25, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Indian team should make this changes 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Murli Vijay 3. C. Pujara 4. V.Kohli 5. Rohit Sharma 6. Ravindra J. 7. Dhoni 8. Zaheer Khan 9. Umesh yadav 10. Ishant Sharma 11. Shami A

    This strengthens the team in almost all department in batting, bowling & Fielding and four pacers with two spinners Jadeja and Rohit. it gives dhoni more bowling option and Indian doesn't need extra Batsmen as R. jadeja is big due of runs as seen he has made 3 triple tons in domestic atleast his 50 runs inning will do alot

  • naren1983 on December 25, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    If Spinners are relevance in this pitch, Dhoni should take a bold call by including Jadeja in place of Rahane, knowing he wont remove Rohit. Both Ashwin & Jadeja will be useful in fourth & fifth day while pacers will do the business on first 3 days. But batters have to be very careful for their wickets. If they do so, it will be India's series win in SA.

  • on December 25, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    I don't think Kingsmead is as big a spinner's paradise as it's made out to be. When India played here in 2011, the top order wickets were mostly taken by the pacers. Out of Harbhajan's 4 in the 1st innings, 3 were tail enders. In the 2nd innings he could grab only 2, while ZAK and Sreesanth shared 6 wickets between them. So there's no need to bring in another spinner. It's not a Chepauk wicket!

  • tashan329 on December 25, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Pragyan Ojha in place of Ashwin and Jadeja in place of Rohit Sharma. Rahane deserves another chance.

  • Nuxxy on December 25, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Kingsmead 2010 was a tale of two batsmen. For India, Laxman played two brilliant innings, under-appreciated as usual. For South Africa, Kallis was fresh off his maiden double-century, and was dismissed in the first innings backing up off an amla off-drive, and got the ball of the series from Sreesanth in the second (a ball that would have been too good for anyone). No Laxman this time, and Kallis fresh off an 'unlucky' dismissal and poor run of form.

  • ramli on December 25, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    So, Rahane misses out to Jadeja in Durban if the stats have to be believed ... if the three pacers are fully fit, no more changes are expected ... Go India Go ... all the very best

  • BeingCricketFan on December 25, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Not to forget India's test victory here at Durban when they last toured SA. Hoping for India to repeat same this time.

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    india has great chance in 2nd to win the series. they should play jadeja with ashwin and both are very good spinners. SA may regret their decision to not go for the win in 1st test. as this is a 2 test series and this test will be important. stats and pitch conditions are against SA. but they are no1 and a tough sidr to beat so hopefully a good fighting test coming up.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Toss could be crucial, real crucial.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Durban surely played host to one of India's most memorable Test wins abroad in recent times (2010) but it was also the venue where India put up their worst batting performance in Test Matches in the last 20 years, in a test match in 1997 (India were all out for 100 and 66 in that game). It will be interesting to see which Indian side turns up tomorrow

  • Srini_Indian on December 25, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    A bit of perspective helps here. When India toured SA last time, the pitch in Durban was a green top. It wasn't turning a bit, Harbhajan got wickets due to bounce which we always get in Kingsmead. Zaheer and Harbhajan ripped through the SA batting and orchestrated a famous win. Against SL, the pitch was like a sub-continental pitch. After SA flogged SL in centurion in 1st test match (which was a green top), they dished out a spin surface in Durban. Against England before the season India toured, again it was a dry, spinning track probably to combat English swing bowlers which backfired on SA big time. So, the point is its not always the same track you get in Durban. Surfaces change depending on teams and I expect no less than a green top next test.

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Wish, India win here. All the best team India.

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  • on December 25, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Wish, India win here. All the best team India.

  • Srini_Indian on December 25, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    A bit of perspective helps here. When India toured SA last time, the pitch in Durban was a green top. It wasn't turning a bit, Harbhajan got wickets due to bounce which we always get in Kingsmead. Zaheer and Harbhajan ripped through the SA batting and orchestrated a famous win. Against SL, the pitch was like a sub-continental pitch. After SA flogged SL in centurion in 1st test match (which was a green top), they dished out a spin surface in Durban. Against England before the season India toured, again it was a dry, spinning track probably to combat English swing bowlers which backfired on SA big time. So, the point is its not always the same track you get in Durban. Surfaces change depending on teams and I expect no less than a green top next test.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Durban surely played host to one of India's most memorable Test wins abroad in recent times (2010) but it was also the venue where India put up their worst batting performance in Test Matches in the last 20 years, in a test match in 1997 (India were all out for 100 and 66 in that game). It will be interesting to see which Indian side turns up tomorrow

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Toss could be crucial, real crucial.

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    india has great chance in 2nd to win the series. they should play jadeja with ashwin and both are very good spinners. SA may regret their decision to not go for the win in 1st test. as this is a 2 test series and this test will be important. stats and pitch conditions are against SA. but they are no1 and a tough sidr to beat so hopefully a good fighting test coming up.

  • BeingCricketFan on December 25, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Not to forget India's test victory here at Durban when they last toured SA. Hoping for India to repeat same this time.

  • ramli on December 25, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    So, Rahane misses out to Jadeja in Durban if the stats have to be believed ... if the three pacers are fully fit, no more changes are expected ... Go India Go ... all the very best

  • Nuxxy on December 25, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Kingsmead 2010 was a tale of two batsmen. For India, Laxman played two brilliant innings, under-appreciated as usual. For South Africa, Kallis was fresh off his maiden double-century, and was dismissed in the first innings backing up off an amla off-drive, and got the ball of the series from Sreesanth in the second (a ball that would have been too good for anyone). No Laxman this time, and Kallis fresh off an 'unlucky' dismissal and poor run of form.

  • tashan329 on December 25, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Pragyan Ojha in place of Ashwin and Jadeja in place of Rohit Sharma. Rahane deserves another chance.

  • on December 25, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    I don't think Kingsmead is as big a spinner's paradise as it's made out to be. When India played here in 2011, the top order wickets were mostly taken by the pacers. Out of Harbhajan's 4 in the 1st innings, 3 were tail enders. In the 2nd innings he could grab only 2, while ZAK and Sreesanth shared 6 wickets between them. So there's no need to bring in another spinner. It's not a Chepauk wicket!