South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 1st day

Vijay and Pujara fifties drive India

The Report by Siddarth Ravindran

December 26, 2013

Comments: 366 | Text size: A | A

India 181 for 1 (Vijay 91*, Pujara 58*) v South Africa
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Match Point: Players taken off too soon

The last time India played a Test in Durban, it was a quick green track where a score of 205 proved enough for a significant first-innings lead. Three years on, there was precious little in the dry surface for the fast bowlers, and both captains were enthusiastic about batting first. MS Dhoni called correctly, and the India's batsmen flourished on the flat deck, with M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara putting on an unbroken 140-run stand for the second wicket.


Morne Morkel celebrates after dismissing Shikhar Dhawan, South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 1st day, December 26, 2013
Morne Morkel took the only wicket that fell on the first day © Associated Press
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Vijay won't want 2013 to end. The year began with a surprise call-up to the Indian Test squad, which he answered with a couple of 150-plus scores against Australia, and is now ending with performances in South Africa that will earn him respect from a legion of doubters. The innings in Johannesburg showed his ability to graft, and the same patience and application - not words usually associated with Vijay - were in evidence early on in Durban as well as he ended the day nine away from a first Test century away from home.

Pujara, who has already established a reputation as a batsman who loves to score big, was almost anonymous as he cruised to another half-century. Almost all his runs against the quicks were scored on the leg side, cashing in when the bowlers strayed on his pads. This was also different from his soak-up-the-pressure effort in the second innings at the Wanderers as, realising conditions were favourable, he scored at a more nimble pace from the start. It nudged his career average above 70, and extended perhaps the most successful start to a Test career since Michael Hussey's.

Things didn't go to plan for South Africa right from the outset. In the search for swing early on, the ball was pitched up and punished by some non-violent punches down the ground for four from both Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay.

Vernon Philander, who earlier this week ascended to No. 1 in the Test bowling rankings, got only three overs before South Africa turned to the pacier, dig-it-in approach of Morne Morkel. If there were doubts over whether Morkel would hit full speed after an astonishingly quick recovery from an ankle strain suffered last week, they were put aside as he steamed in for a spell full of 90mph deliveries.

Smart stats

  • The last time India scored more than 150 with the loss of just one wicket on the first day of a Test outside the subcontinent was at The Oval in 2007, when they lost their second wicket at 189, and went on to score 664 in their first innings.
  • The 140-run stand between M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara is India's second-highest for the second wicket in South Africa; Rahul Dravid and Deep Dasgupta had added 171 in Port Elizabeth in 2001.
  • If Vijay gets a century, it'll be the eighth by a visiting batsman in Durban in the last five matches (since 2009). South Africa's batsmen haven't scored a single hundred here during this period.
  • Vijay's unbeaten 91 is his highest in an overseas Test. His previous-best in 14 innings was 58, in Colombo in 2010.
  • Dale Steyn has gone 67 overs without taking a wicket - his only wicket of the series was Shikhar Dhawan, whom he dismissed in his fifth over in India's first innings in Johannesburg.

Dale Steyn, coming off a mediocre Test in Johannesburg, also switched to the fast-and-furious strategy after realising there wasn't much chance of the ball jagging around. In tandem, Steyn and Morkel produced a short, intense burst that tested both openers' techniques around off stump.

Dhawan had galloped to 28 off 36 before being tied down and losing his concentration after the drinks break, nicking the first ball to the cordon.

Vijay was more watchful, and though he was beaten several times and took blows to the box and the arm, he persevered. One of the highlights of his innings was the way he handled the short ball; with the surface providing no lateral movement, there were plenty of bouncers, but Vijay was rarely troubled, and decisively ducked or swayed out of the way. The impressive discipline he had shown in Johannesburg reappeared, as did a few of the stylish boundaries he is renowned for. His 91 included 17 boundaries, and he was particularly severe on left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, who came in for the erratic Imran Tahir.

The early short burst from Steyn and Morkel was the only time South Africa managed to apply any pressure on India. After lunch, it was all too easy for Vijay and Pujara. There was a boundary an over to start the session, as India motored along at four an over.

Steyn's wicketless spell has now stretched beyond 60 overs, Philander had no help whatsoever from the surface, and though Morkel produced a few moments of discomfort, there was no breakthrough.

One thing common to the 2010 Durban Test was the bad light that stopped play early. Even as Steyn was getting the ball to reverse in, the murky conditions led to play being called off soon after tea.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

@GreatestGame, well said. Rahul Dravid's reading of the game as commentator is amazing much like his batting. Not cliched at all. Great player who doesn't refer to their successful career to impress listeners. Respect from SA

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 27, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

Rahul Dravid is fast becoming my favorite commentator. He does not see the need to talk non-stop, and when he does talk he is definitely worth listening to! I always deeply appreciated watching him play, respected his unimpeachable integrity, and admired his powerful intellect.

If The Wall was running the BCCI we would be eagerly looking forward to the other tests to come on this tour. Rahul for President!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 27, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

Whoa! Having lived there for a few years, although 35 years ago, I should know how quickly the weather in Durban can change. Got up at 2 am here in the cricket wilderness of the USA, and went back to be around 3:30 thinking that the day would be washed out. At 8am I glanced at cricinfo and saw that not only is the game back on, but 90 runs have been added for 4 wickets. Steyn has finally fired, and in a typically explosive spell took out the very dangerous looking Vijay and Pujara, denying both what yesterday seemed inevitable centuries, and then made Rohit live up to his nickname with a 100% no-hit: the ball that hits the middle stump just can't be called a leave - its a no-hit!

Game back on: the Steyn detractors can crawl back under their rocks, the Vijay/Pujara worshippers will hopefully be quiet, & the Rohit fans will compose reams od excuses & explanations. Dhoni & Rahane are accelerating, & we may well have another exciting game after all. Steyn coming back on - what will happen?

Posted by just_a_fan on (December 27, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

@ MaruthuDelft : By others I meant players like Gambhir & Sehwag, who failed for a long time before being dropped from the team. Who do you want Rohit to be replaced with ? Rohit's record is as good as anyone in the domestic circuit. I can't think of any new player who could replace him.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

@Maruthudelft : give rahane some break... he playing in very critical situation here, what happens if he gets out doing that? can dhoni and jadeja last atleast 10 overs against this bowling attack??? more over its new ball that he is facing....let the ball get atleast 20 overs old, he can score quickly,

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 27, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

I guess people like @GRVJPR don't know much cricket. Calling STEYN an ordinary bowler is height of ignorance. ISHANT is an ordinary bowler, but STEYN is a hall of famer. How many bowlers do you know that have played for so long, and yet average around 22 ?? What's Ishant's average - more like 38

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

Rohit is back to his normal self.... I am afraid how many tests he will take to prove his "hidden talent " ... May be 50 tests.... rahane is anyday better than him my miles.... he may not look flamboyant, but rahane is well accomplished. if we order players by talent and technique in this current Indian batting it would be like this, pujara , kohli, rahane, Vijay, Rohit, dhawan, ashwin. jadeja, dhoni....I don't understand what talent Rohit posses that selectors are.seeing in him..... rahane needs to be applauded greatly, he was in pressure to perform, remember he was dropped from ODI team after just.one failure .... anyway rahane looks confident now, he is very good t20 players too, don't worry about slow strike rate, he can score quickly..... I hope rahane has some luck in his favour.....

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

To all of you who are conplaining about India batting slowly. if they would have tried to attack such body line bowling they would have got out easily. The afrikans are taking advantage of their surface by bowling bouncers after bouncers drying things ip i would not mind even if india does not win let them bowl for three make them pay for it work the crap out of their bowlers

Posted by rahsun on (December 27, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

@TommyTuckerSA... SA is playing negative cricket by bowling bouncers and body line bowling..If you want high scoring games you better watch T20's. This is how Test matches are played and that's the beauty of Test cricket.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

I fear Rohit Sharma doesn't become another Yuvraj Singh as far as tests are concerned. This tour has separated Kohli from the rest just as 1991/92 tour had differentiated Sachin from others.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 27, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

Rahane requires too much effort. He can't sustain it for too long. And he is too slow. India can't win any matches if its batsmen are slow. Since India doesn't have Sehwag all batsman should score at 50% or above.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 27, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

@ just_a_fan....Give him some time like others before him!!! Like who? Rohit has been tried for 6 years now in ODI's. He came good (well sort of okay in Champion's cup) at the end of 6 years. Now would you want to give him 6 years in tests? It is unfair on others.

Posted by Harmony_not_Discord on (December 27, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

Steven Charie

You made rational and unbiased comments but still some have jumped on your throat - unfair.

Rohit Chopra, earlier wrongly mentioned: He "has no doubt" in his mind that getting practice matches would have done wonders for India. Consider England who had three practice matches before the Ashes and look how they are faring.

When Pakistan came they didn't get any practice matches either but unexpectedly beat SA in the ODI series (first Asian team to do so) and drew 1-1 in T20 - such is the nature of shorter format of the game. India being the No1, ODI side has much better batting line-up than Pakistan but fared worst in the shorter format.

Contrary to many who have said here, practice matches are not the panacea.

Posted by tanstell87 on (December 27, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

Tommy saffa - Faf du plessis bats slowly than Ashwin

Posted by tanstell87 on (December 27, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

Steyn is being hit by Rahane for 2 boundaries still its showed Rahane rattled...

Posted by Jaganplus on (December 27, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

I feel like I am right about everything I have been writing. I just woke up so let me see what I can remember.

- not convinced about Rohit (being understated is my style :)) - Dhoni is great for ODI/20's not for tests. DEfensive - going with 3.5 frontline bowlers. Also he may occassionally succeed on fast pitches (more than Rohit). - my pick of batsmen Pujara, Kohli, Rahane - Bowling the usual, we need a good spinner and couple fast bowlers

and Couple other things. It's scary that I am right so often. Sometime I am wrong but then there is alays a good reason :)

Posted by luvmyindia on (December 27, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

When ever India batts well be it on any pitch,people say that the pitch is flat,in the last test also when SA were bowled out for 280 until then the pitch was good for Some people but suddenly when India scored 400+ runs the pitch became flat for those guys !!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 27, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Why does India bat so slowly. Are they looking to draw tests overseas and then win at home. Very negative.

Posted by sixnout on (December 27, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

For all the people dissing Steyn. Enter the real Steyn. 3 top order wickets in a couple of overs.

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 27, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

For some reason, Rohit Sharma gives the impression of being the typical 90s cricketer for India. Loads of talent but lack of application & lack of focus. I would be very tense if this man is batting in the WC final with India chasing. He seems to have this weird habit of losing focus every now & then. This is why it has taken him years to become reasonably settled in the team. When he gets going he is awesome but you need consistency & more imp reliability at this level. Failure is excusable cos no one is God here but looking like failing is a sin. It adds more pressure to the other pressures, makes other players lose their own focus, disturbs the rhythm of the match & allows the opposition to get back. He got out to a poor shot in J'burg 1st innings, then dropped a lollypop & both of them helped SA immensely. Here too he has broken India's flow after Murali & Pujara batted very well. This man needs to up his dose of chayawanprash if he wants to be a top player.

Posted by just_a_fan on (December 27, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Umm guys, what's the reason for the sudden change in fortunes of the teams ? And stop bashing Rohit Sharma, he is the most complete player that we have after Kohli. Give him some time like others before him. Double century in ODI, hundreds in his first 2 test innings. What else do you want from him to cement his place ?

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 27, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

now pitch turns green again after 1 "fllat day". or is it high quality batting of vijay and pujara that made sa bowling look ordinary? take ur pick, i can only say that sa have faced such quality batting lineup after a long time. now kohli need to score a big innings to bat sa out of this test and make sure india dont lose the series in sa , yet again.

Posted by TMSer on (December 27, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

The question people want to continue to ignore- why india want to continually restrict themselves with poor selection. Rohit sharma, hasnt he proved the suggestion that he is not of standard to play overseas test matches. Particlarly when you see the efforts and ability displayed by teamates such as Kohli, Pujara even Murali Vijay.

And @Vivfan-The Wanderers was a "batting paradise"??

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

get peterson on for some time plz!!!

Posted by Haz95 on (December 27, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

Yes, HUUUUUGE wicket...Pujara>Kohli and now that pujara is gone Saffers need to keep momentum. on another note, barring this wicket of steyns, Hafeez has made 3 100s in 4 matches, hmmmm? Steyn you didn't break him! You made him stronger(I hope lol)

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

Does anyone else think the ODI's should have been after the tests? Our batsmen looked horrible coming into SA without any practice matches. Playing a test where you have the option of leaving a few balls to get used to the condition should have made the ODI's more competitive too.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (December 27, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

VKohlitheGreat: If you are commenting about the quality of a bowler based in THIS ONE series, then I would suggest that's an incorrect act to do. Dale Steyn is South African right-arm fast bowler who at 21, made a false start in Dec 2004 and a real start in 2006. Adn since then SA hasn't looked behind. He has taken more than 5 wickets per match on every surface in INDIAN.He has 341 wickets in 69 Tests at the average of around 22.00 which is a record of a GREAT player who will be remembered for generations. This is a general over-all analysis. As a complete follower of Steyn's career, it's a fact that whenever he has gone wicketless (THAT ITSELF IS RARE), the pitch is usually a ROAD. ...which brings us to this match....As for this match/series:....the pitch created is TOTALLY INDIAN (trying to appease the BCCI and the hard-core IND fans (but not me)) in order to make a false impression that IND can beat the number-one SA. As an Indian myself, I won't be happy with that.

Posted by Vivfan on (December 27, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

India is yet to prove their worth in a non batting paradise. The reason why they got hammered in Odi series.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

wonderfull vijay

Posted by -tanZeeEeel- on (December 27, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

What a turnaround of fate for Mohammad Hafeez and Dale Steyn. Steyn has not taken wicket since more than 70 overs and Hafeez has scored 3 centuries in last 4 mataches. Some mystry in their relationship. B)

Posted by Rebel_Who_Follows_All_The_Rules on (December 27, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

@Waleed Sarwar: Make the Pakistani batsmen bat on these same ''flat'' pitches and they will be all out for less then 100!!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Most of the great batsmen like Sobers,Lloyd,Viv Richards, Lara,Gavaskar,Dravid, VVS Laxman and Ponting have lost the Test in their final appearance. Some great like Bradman, Chappel and Sachin they have won the Test in their last appearance. Let us see what happens to Jaques Kallis?

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (December 27, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

@ Amol_Ind_SA : I have not checked the stats but one thing is for sure, his performance in this series has not even been average.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (December 27, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

GRVJPR: In case you have no idea who Steyn is please, check his record in India. and 341 wickets in 69 Tests at the average of 22.00 are a record of a GREAT player who will be remembered for generations. It's usually ONLY on the moon where bowlers would be able to bounce higher (if not swing better) than Steyn.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

The Question as to why India produces match winning batsmen and hardly any match winning bowlers and reverse side if the coun is true of Pakistan. I believe batting needs sophistication, focus and technique in addition to talent. on the other hand bowling needs passions aggression and street smartness in addition to talent. you judge the players of these two teams and you will understand the reasons. Pakistani cricketers are less educated but more passionate and street smarts and hence they excel in bowling. indeed they lack sophistication and application and hence do no do as great as their counterparts.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

Vijay should have completed his century before end of play yesterday..who knew rain gods would play spoil sport:(

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 27, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Its just the ordinary batting line ups around the world that make ordinary bowlers like STEYN looks GREAT. He is just an ordinary outswing bowler who is too dependent on conditionjs.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

those tracks india has performed on are flatest of the sothafrican lot

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:37 GMT)

indians always keep blaming... if we had played before we wd have done this you have morally lost the 1st test also..8 runs to win is that a draw?

Posted by wapuser on (December 27, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

This series will be a 0-0 draw ... more rain forecast for Durban till Monday. Proteas face serious challenge from Australia without Jaques Kallis.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (December 27, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

As an Indian, i wouldn't be surprised or happy with an Indian win in this test. The pitch has been created as similar as the ones in India. There exists absolutely NO flavor of the match being played in SA. I mean if DALE STEYN, no less, struggles to get a single wicket in the whole match and absolutely gets nothing in the second innings, then the wicket created is suspect and an Indian win (in order to appease only the BCCI and the hardcore Indian-fans) would be...hollow.

Posted by jagannathanV on (December 27, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

it is a bit bizzare that pakistan doesn produce match winning batsmen and india doesn produce match winning bowlers. may be reason is that pakistan traditionally had great swing bowlers in past like imran, akram, waqar.. and likewise india traditionally produced great batsmen like gavaskar, viswanath, sachin, dravid. .

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

we would have seen a much confident team India if we had to play the ODI series after the test matches.

Posted by Bokesh on (December 27, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Alas it's raining heavily now.It would be much fresher & juice wicket for faster, if at all the game starts today or either tomorrow morning.And if both of them (Pujara & Vijay) can see off the first hour or so, when ever the play resumes, then I must say Vijay has really matured as a batsman ( since Pujara is already known to have loads of patience)

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (December 27, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

It is all about grabbing your opportunities with both hands. Vijay did that against Aussies (failed in the first test but scored big in the next two tests). After he had failed miserably to do that in ODIs, most Indians were gunning for his head not considering what he had done against Aussies in tests. Now he has made them all eat humble pie. He played well the earlier test as well but not enough for us to sit up and notice him but here he has done exactly that. While Pujaras and Rohits garner all the attention from the fans to the critics to the commentators, here is one guy who has swum against the tide and has cemented his place in tests. Way to go Vijay!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

to win a test mach we need some one like Mitchell Johnson in our side

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Sponge - Agreed. Steyn is world class. Perhaps what has angered Indian fans is his less than generous comments he made about Indian batting. Something along the lines of Indian batsmen are flat track bullies, this is not Mumbai and he ll soften then up etc. Now Indian batsmen and fans feel entitled to respond in kind especially after his ordinary performance culminating in his resorting to negative line yesterday under fading light. What's that old saying, "If you talk the talk; you've got to walk the walk". Steyn might pull in a good performance today but until now Indians have the wood on him and Steyn hasn't walked his talk.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

india should have won last match.but africa showed maturity in their game which indians cudnt show in odis.for me this match will take turn towards africa.my sixth sence say africa will win this match.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

@VKohligreat : I know how saffas got wickets in 1st match, but we have to agree the fact that we miss bowlers who could take 20 wickets under any conditions, else we would have.won many matches in the past.... I am not undermining India's bowling by any means, they are now getting recognized as one.of the best... I know.we can improve, but we have to agree for the fact that AUS,ENG ,PAK have better bowlers than our team and NewZealand are on par with ours.... I wish we had atleast two bowlers.who could take 5 or 6 wickets per match on consistent basis....we have been missing this kind of bowlers....

Posted by skabc23 on (December 27, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

I am not able to understand the logic behind playing with only four specialist bowlers. A test match can not be won without taking 20 wickets. Going with extra batsman and four bowlers shows defensive approach of Dhoni. Batsmen can get you a draw but bowlers can win a test match for us. This is one of the reasons we could not win the first test match. Had we played with five bowlers, story could have been different. 5 genuine bowlers apart from part timers are must in a test match if we want to put pressure on opposition. Also it will give proper rest to pacers. Hope Dhoni would understand it soon.

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 27, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

It seems that all cricket analyst have written so many articles declaring that Indian batsmen can't play fast bowling and our domestic cricket is so bad tha it will take net 20 years to replace fab 4 etc, that these cricket analysts can't digest the success of young men. Getting runs or getting out is the part of the game (as bowlers are there as well to compete) but Viay has shown that he is an honest trier. I bet no other opener in the world would have batted as well as he has against steyn and morkel in their own backyard and that too without having experience of these conditions. Well played Viay. Don't worry about critics, they want everything perfect, but the fact is nothing is perfect in the world, not even the critics.

Posted by VEEJ18 on (December 27, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

There is everything modern about the game. We should have floodlights to complete the mandatory overs and value the time and money of spectators. Bad lights should no longer be a bane for the game. It is understandable that nothing can be done on rains in an open stadium. Yes ICC should encourage and arrange matches in Indoor stadiums if they are organizing matches during the rainy season. No single spectator or TV viewer should leave without enjoying the game. Wake up ICC!!

Posted by bhushanB on (December 27, 2013, 8:10 GMT)

30 overs lost on day-1, now the rain delay....there is no way this test is going to go all the way.....such a tame end to such an awaited series... DRAW on cards guys.... slept only few hours and woke up promptly at 2:30 AM EST so that i do not miss the pitch report...

very disappointed to see rain playing spoil sport on day-2 itself... going back to bed... no point losing my sleep over such a tame impending draw....

What a series it could have been....

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (December 27, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@ Vishwas HS : Agreed with most part of your comment but when u say 'unlike India they do have bowler who can take 20 wickets' I can only add that SA too could not those 20 wickets unless started to accelerate.

Posted by rajuramki on (December 27, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

In the event of a drawn series, will the contesting team gain or lose rating points ? The weather god appears to have decided that this test is drawn without any effort from the players , but entirely on its own .

Posted by jimwhatever on (December 27, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

before the series it was bcci who decided the no. of games to be played. but after watching the pitch and grounds chosen for play it make me feel that SA was persuaded to make more compromises. if the pitch had a little green in it, we should not have to had watch the batting display from indian batsmen especially from vijay.

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 27, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

I would even say PICKY Viay for ODI as well. He has the game for all the formats. PERIOD.

Posted by devilavenger on (December 27, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

@tommytuckersaffa seems like u are under frustration about ur so called no 1 side's bowling performance!!!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

This match will be a draw.. 0-0 series result

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (December 27, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

@ TommytuckerSaffa : Indias batting is slow and negative?!? Whoaa, there are two things to laugh about here 1) You dont know test cricket is 2) You dint see the SA spearhead Dale Steyn bowl yesterday. If there has been one team which has been negative this series, we all know which one that is, lol...

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 27, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

Comments here saying Steyn and Philander are no good are utterly preposterous. If you were talking about the Indian bowlers I'd fully agree, they are no good.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

@TommyTuckersaffa : talking about negative approach, was the bodyline attack under dim light not negative? playing for draw when you have 3 wickets in hand with 16 runs to make in 3 overs not negative? crying in press conferences about how pitch helped batting in 2nd innings( see philander in press conferences after day 3 of 1st test) not negative? oh by the way beware of aus, unlike India they do have bowler who can take 20 wickets on any sort of pitch, 67overs without wicket tells stories about negative approach....remember 3rd.session of day3 in 1st test? 175 runs in one session... was this a negative approach???

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

@ Neil Rashan Rajendran.... rohit played 3 tests with an average of 155.0 and cmng to raina he can be used as extra bowler and one of the best fielder in india and he can handle pressure cmng to ashwin he was unable to take even a wicket(42 overs) where the part timer(duminy) got 2 wickets in 24 overs thats y they skipped him

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

@Yuvi, @maddy20 and a few others. C'mon man or men can't you read a post with an open or objective mind? I was not looking for excuses or bashing on India. In fact I said they have done really well and better than most would have guessed. I was simply stating facts and giving my opinion. 2 big losses a wash out and a draw. True no? Just trying to temper the crazy comments about Steyn and Philander being ordinary and SA not worthy of being #1 team. All based on one drawn test. Greatness is not won or lost in one game. Hope both these teams get as good as they can get and play some awesome full series against each other .

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

my oneday india team is dhawan, gambhir, pujara, kohli, sharma, dhoni, jadeja, ashwin, b.kumar, I. sharma , shami.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

Two top seeded bowlers are toothless against inexperienced side. Has this ever happened before? Rarity in tests !

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 27, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

@ MasterClass they don't offer light to batsman now, the rules were changed buddy. the umpires decide when to call off in case of bad light, they don't ask the batsman anymore

Posted by Philippe on (December 27, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

with this much time already lost & more time to be lost today as well as in coming days... i think the boxing day test is heading for a dull draw... 0-0 will be the likely outcome of the series... all the best for all the positives for both the teams...

Posted by Newlandsfaithful on (December 27, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

Good pld CSA. Plan a long awaited test match at a weather problem venue - Durban instead of Cape Town - and then add to it a dead pitch. No result possible. Fans and sponsors get five days of absolutely nothing. Many fans inculding myself will not be bothering to follow this test match anymore.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 27, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

India are now in a strong position. It will be interesting to see if they start to bat more positively to score quicker to make up for lost time - but I doubt it...

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 27, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

Indias batting is slow and negative. Batting at such a slow rate, you get the feeling that they are satisfied with a drawn test series. Looking forward to the 3 match series against Australia, where we will see more cut and thrust. Aussies wont use negative fielding tactics with less than 5 overs to go - they would go for the win.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

aren't these no1 and 2 bowlers supposed to take atleast 3 or 4 wickets of the batsmen whose test match eexperience is not more than 20matches in their own backyard irrespective of the conditions??? instead morkel takes a lone wickets which came just for a loose shot by a player whose nature of playing is go after anything that is outside off stump.. and talk about negative line bowling in the dark light.... indicating umpire to call the game off, bowling short stuff from negative line. playing in the minds if batsmen, guess what, nothing worked..... and that philander guy, he looks frustrated just after 10 over of his spell, somebody please teach him reverse swing....

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

Along with Kohli, This guy Pujara seems to be a rare gem for Indian Team, i am astonished to see his technique..however kohli score runs more frequently but he is cheezy, took risk, finding inside edge etc..but this guy pujara, he is a beauty, a calm batsman with every stroke of perfection..he is as cool as cucumber..doesnt look to get rush or doesnt look nervous while batting againt quality bowling attack from S.A. in my opinion this guy DESERVES a chance in ODI team as well..there is no need to ignore him as he is the next Rahul Dravid of india..best of luck team from Pakistani Fan.

Posted by Yousafahmed11 on (December 27, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

Nice to see most underrated and criticized team with youngsters, fighting hard with NO:1 test team in their home!. SL youngsters should learn from this.

Posted by MasterClass on (December 27, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

@anver777 or anyone else who think the scoring is too slow and this match will end in a draw, if this wicket begins to spin like folks think it will on day 4 & 5 and if India manage a sizable 1st innings total around 400 then watch out! Just like in India a match may seem like going nowhere first 3 days and then bam! With spin and reverse swing wickets fall in heaps on day 4 & 5 and we get a result. No trophies for guessing which team's most likely to make that happen.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

If the pitch continues to be dry,then India have a great chance of winning a rare test series away from home.Zak and Shami are reverse swing specialists and Jadeja can run through the tail with his accurate deliveries.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Very impressed by the young breed of Indian batsmen. They have the techniques, the patience and the character to blunt hostile attacks overseas, even though this surface may be benign. After the 8-0 whitewash, its great to see that the Indian batsmen have the necessary application to combat hostile conditions overseas. As a pakistani fan and supporter, Im quite envious of two batsmen, Pujara and Kohli, and wish Pakistan had players like these two. The problematic issue is still their bowling as I don't see India having an attack that will take 20 wickets, unless the Proteas perform rashly. Their spin cupboard is bare and their fast bowling, barring Zaheer doesn't quite cut it.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

Blaming the pitch doesn't make any sense to me.The Saffers are supposed to be the best team in the world.It means they have to play well in all conditions and pitches.Their bowling lineup has the top 2 bowlers in the rankings,yet they are not able to pick up any wickets.

Posted by MasterClass on (December 27, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

As people have previously clarified to those too thick or too partisan to see that if SA brought on spinners (like India did in the last match to extend the session in bad light on day 4) then the umpires would not have offered the light to the batsmen. Instead Smith brings on both Styne and Morkel and asks to bowl at the body. Fine tactics under normal circumstances but with bad light it just shows that they were daring the umpires to call-off the players (after just 60-odd overs) or try their luck in the meanwhile and sneak a wicket. The Indians were not intimidated or mind-gamed! Can't blame poor Smith though because his spinner would have probably had his clock cleaned, and then where would he go looking for yet another? LOL! Very very ordinary from so called No. 1 team. HAH!

Posted by AjayDevan on (December 27, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Vijay's unbeaten 91 is his highest in an overseas Test. His previous-best in 14 innings was 58, in Colombo in 2010.

Posted by anver777 on (December 27, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

Ind solid, but I guess their approach is bit slow & negative.... in my opinion this test will head for a tame draw !!!

Posted by Bigmoose on (December 27, 2013, 5:44 GMT)

why does the host talk so much when you have two experts?

Posted by cooljack_143 on (December 27, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

If SA captain would have opted for spin,then the show would have been on but he clearly refused and reluctant to bowl pace doing no justice to the crowd.he was happy enough to take his team off and hide from the Indian duo.

Posted by Dhoni_Gang on (December 27, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

@cricketsubh:Draw or Win or Lose dont say that india is playing slowly and wanted to draw. Runrate of 3 is very good runrate in test matches that to without 3rd session in which india can increase their runrate

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:28 GMT)

I think its best strategy for india to play. there is more even bounce. there is runrate of 3.5. it's good in test

Posted by cricketsubh on (December 27, 2013, 4:46 GMT)

think this test match will ended in a draw bacoz i don't think india is playing for win they play for a draw in the 1st test they bated slowly and now in 2nd test same think happen i think if india want win this test they need to attack and make quick runs and give their bowlers some chance if they bated slowly and bated for a day i think this test match will ended in a draw.

Posted by ramli on (December 27, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

I am surprised that predictions are out as draw in Durban ... I will wait to see till end of third day ... it may turn out to be anybody's game, just as in J'burg or nobody's game still as in J'burg

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (December 27, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

Well done Vijay and Pujara. Surprised by the Vijay's performance and Dhavan's too. Never expected a fight from Vijay but expected something big from Dhavan. Anyway good batting by India. Need to bat carefully and score 600+ and let SA to feel the heat. All the best!.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 3:58 GMT)

No.1 team started giving excuses of flat tracks...A No.1 team can win anywhere under any condition they don't give excuses.

This Durban pitch at least have some bounce and dried brown grass to work with...what you will do when you'll tour India? I can't imagine what these Indian kids would do to Philander's 128 kph deliveries with no movement.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

@ottawarocks what if the next match is lined up in the next few days? you see these are humans who play cricket not machines and they deserve to be treated like so.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 2:57 GMT)

Great day for indian cricket .. who better to challenge the proteas in their backyard then the indians. Best wishes.

Posted by _Cover_Drive on (December 27, 2013, 2:56 GMT)

SA bowlers look scared, tired, and are not looking to play some fair cricket.

This pitch now is worse than India's flatunes. Indian should score quicker because later on, pitch will turn around and fall to SA's pace under 10-20 overs.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

as a indian I can't see africa team struggling so my guess is to remove smith duminy and kallis and give younger then one day they will become good team instead of seeing old results

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 27, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

@TRAM, stop your troll mate. To support Vijay, you are asking questions of Pujara's class. Why Pujara had leg-side boundaries? Go, look at the those boundaries and you'll see that those deliveries were on his legs. What do you want him to do? Hit those to the off-side? Get a life. Chillax and move-on. Vijay played very well. That doesn't mean Pujara is a slouch or is afraid to open. He won't open, unless it is necessary as Dravid did in England and on many previous occasions. I agree, Vijay is not our poorest link. May be Nohit is along with Ashwin, Jadeja and to some extent Dhoni in overseas test matches. I don't see anything wrong with Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane. These 5 batsmen even if they fail, they need to be given some time and we need to cut them some slack. Nohit is given special treatment because he indeed is very talented. But sooner or later, if he continues his Kambli ways, he'll go the Kambli way and nobody will stop to sympathise with him. Peace. Cheers!!!

Posted by fguy on (December 27, 2013, 2:00 GMT)

seems like SA are running "scared" looking at the negative bowling they were resorting to after tea. seems they're the ones who are "scarred" & are looking happy to get away with a draw (once again)

philander bowling <128 shows that he's someone who depends on green tops for his wickets. would love to see him bowl (ie get hammered) on SC wickets. till then we can safely dub SA bowlers "Green track bullies"

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (December 27, 2013, 2:00 GMT)

Rohit Sharma, Rahane and even Dhawan will be thanking their gods that they are not Ashwin. Look at the comments! Sometime back, it was Vijay.

Posted by chechong0114 on (December 27, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

I would love to see the game of cricket doing more to increase its appeal to the sport loving public and eventually find a way to bring more people into cricket stadiums on game day. The first day crowd for this test match was a respectable one, but when u take into consideration that it was Boxing Day, the history of the 2 opponents and the way the first game ended I would have thought the ground would have been sold out before the first ball was bowled. Empty seats have plagued this sport for too long and more needs to be done to gain the interest of the general public and make the sport of cricket a true competitor on the sport calendar year round. I would love to see them experiment with new things, like for instance I would like to see a home court advantage come to the game, that is , if a team is playing at home and they r the defending champions they must win the series out right. Any team playing at home have the home fans on their side so they have an advantage and must win.

Posted by cricketforpeace on (December 27, 2013, 1:39 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom.I am an Indian fan and agree with most of your comments. Yes, SA has the best bowling attack in the world (at present). Having said that, nobody - not even the most optimistic Indian supporter expected their team to play the way they have so far in the two tests against SA. One should also note that India's performance comes in the backdrop of the disastrous tours to Eng and Aus. What most SA fans have missed is that the composition of this team is different from the one that toured Eng and Aus. Apart from that,this particular Ind team shows a more determined mindset and refuse to be simply blown away as was suggested by numerous SA fans prior to the series. Whilst conceding that Ind has not yet won a game on this tour; Ind fans are thrilled due to the positive approach of this young and inexperienced players which seems to augur well for the future.If Ind draw/ win the 2nd test (draw more likely);the S Africans will be left shaking their heads in disbelief!

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 27, 2013, 1:31 GMT)

@Steven Charie so BCCI handpicked these venues? are you sure ok guys Lesson number 193432 according to some fans * Every test pitch on which india seems to be doing well is handpicked by BCCI, unless of course they loose in which case the pitch should be declared green and ind batsman always fail on these type of wickets * for SA only the odis which they win should be counted towards statistics and used for comparisons otherwise its just odi cricket and it does not matter that they lost odi series to Nz and pak at home this year, and there is no reason to worry about for SA but ind fans should cry because they won all the odi and test series in 2013 except 2 odi games in SA which was an aberration * indian fans have no right to celebrate when there team is doing well, that is a privilege reserved for other teams, even if they win they should mourn because it must have been a flat track

Posted by GermanPlayer on (December 27, 2013, 1:05 GMT)

@OttawaRocks Try explaining that to the broadcasters! The game of cricket is already quite complicated enough for broadcasters. Most ODIs end half an hour later than they should while in case of rain, an 8 hour coverage of an ODI can extend to 10 hours or even more. Broadcasters find it hard to give so much time to a sport that is only played in a handful of nations.

With your proposed formula, scheduling would be a big headache. Would you play a 5 day game with just one day's rest after having finished the previous test in 7 days? What if the delay is because of the slow over rate of one team and the negative effects are to be born by the other? How will you settle that out? Your proposal, as much as i would love to find a solution to this thing, is not a practical one.

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 27, 2013, 0:56 GMT)

number 1 bowling attack complaining of pitch being flat, something is wrong with this world

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

ROHIT: seems to have learnt his lessons to play effectively in tests. Have developed patience too. But, occasionally he drifts into an ODI mood... and lo and behold, loses the wicket. If this test is meandering into a draw, he should use this for real-time real-life practice. Bat... and...bat...AND bat! Correcting those ODI tendencies, consciously

All in all, we have a good team in the making. Good luck to all the boys...

Now, with Hesson's threat of green pitches, try to have a competitive series there. This series, for all the wrong reasons (including light problem) is turning out to be a bitless useful to the players, compared to what it would have been with a longer series.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 0:42 GMT)

VIJAY & DHAWN:

Vijay had always been a very talented player (nice to watch too). He used to lose his wicket, even after settling down, to sudden rush of blood and loose shots. This test seems to be his "post-graduation day"! He passed graduation a few times earlier with good centuries against strong teams; but fans were still skeptical because of the manner in which he suddenly used to get out.

Dhawan seems to be following the same route. Very talented, but tends to lose his wicket thru sudden rush of blood. And showing tendencies to emulate his Delhi heroes Veeru (e.g. Upper-cuts, leaning too much to even 7th or 8th stump balls etc) and Gouti (e.g. chasing the outgoing & incoming balls and edging). Dhawan is showing good judgement in reading LINE & LENGTH, but not SWING! He will get that also sooner or later. Sooner will be better. That is where Duncan should help & Dhoni should play his captain's role.

Posted by CherryWood_Champion on (December 27, 2013, 0:42 GMT)

With close to 28 overs gone on the first day ... this test is surely heading for a draw until we have overcast conditions on the final two days, that too without any rain. Having said that, I think MSD missed it big time by not playing Ashwin. On this kind of a pitch Jaddu should have replaced either Rohit/Rahane and that I am afraid is going to cost team India a rare series win in SA.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 0:28 GMT)

DRAW: Yesterday, we lost 29 overs, Even with half an hour extra, the remaining 4 days together will lose about 80 overs. These two alone make it 109 overs. If there are interruptions in between, it could easily result in a total of about 120 overs. The match effectively wiill become a THREE-FOUR days affair. Looking at the solid batsmen on both sides and the pitch, it almost looks a certain draw.

PRACTICE: If that is the case, India should use this test to get batting practice in South African conditions to ALL their XI players. No need for any heroics (like the kind of stuff Veeru and now Dhawan does). Just bat and bat... Since NO host country gives proper practicing opportunities (training ground, net bowlers et al), it will be foolish for India to miss this golden chance for real practice.

MORALE: Such an approach (if succeeds) will boost the morale of the Indian players, and to some extent demoralise the immediate opposition & the oppositions to follow in NZ, OZ & ENG. Probably!

Posted by maddy20 on (December 27, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

@Steven Charie Would you care to answer, why a No.1 test side did not press for a win when they had to get just 53 runs of the last 13 overs with 4 wickets in hand and 15 to get of the last 3 with three wickets in hand and very capable Philander at the crease? The answer is simple. SA wanted to settle for a draw. They did not want to lose and did not play like a no.1 team playing at home. Complaining about hand-picked venues in your own country for not being able to pick wickets, is just plain sad. Its not our fault that your groundsmen used the heavy roller after the Saffas 1st innings there by flattening it out in Jo'burg.India had an upper hand in the game till that point, due to the crucial 38 run lead they had. Zaheer has picked more wickets than Steyn and Shami has picked as many as Philander. Even Ishant got 5 in the last one . There is a lot of reverse swing on offer and if the light stays good for the remainder of the game, India have a very good chance of winning this one.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 26, 2013, 23:42 GMT)

This Indian batting is starting to look a bit scary. .. It's a pity the same can't been said for the Saffer bowling.

Posted by I_Love_My_India on (December 26, 2013, 23:19 GMT)

Good temperament by the Indian batsmen. It is obvious that Steyn and company were really bowling well and most of the times I thought that a wicket could fell in every over. But kudos to the Indian Lions who fought hard and survived. Also, it is quite understandable to slow down because of poor light.

If Zaheer & company could get some reverse swing, this could be hell for SA batsmen. Otherwise, I see this test heading towards a draw.

Posted by kc69 on (December 26, 2013, 22:48 GMT)

If you looked carefully Pakistan played a lot of cricket against SA before this after initial hammering they started winning and now easily winning against SL and now its happening with India hence it proves that the quality opposition and tough conditions always help a team in improving.Looks good as next up is kiwis in NZ and English in England for team India, hope they continue this form to get to test#1 ranking.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 22:19 GMT)

@Albie we must have been posting at the same time. Agree with all you said. Congrats to India on their test performance, but please try stay objective and look at the whole picture not just 1 game. Well done to the batters today thought SA Bowled well but India were up to the challenge. Hate to say it but pitch and weather has this test looking like a draw already. Never know though

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

no matter whatever the outcome is its something to be appreciated that how good the indian batsmen stood against the best bowling lineup, taking into consideration most of them are having their preliminary overseas tour. facing steyn morkel phil at their backyard isnt silly at all. you guys would make up a better team in a year time for sure.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (December 26, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

43057715

Surely I am not the only one wondering why the policy for pitch preparation has turned 180 degrees for this test series! The first test was a dry, cracked track, the second flat and lifeless. SA have been preparing green tops for years. Take a look at the track Steyn was bowling on when he took 6-8 vs PAK (YouTube) or the Newlands track vs AUS.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

@aadz50 you have interpreted my comment as it was supposed to be. It was addressed to those fans writing about how SA should not be ranked #1 and their attack is ordinary etc etc. I'm am nothing If not objective even when my team is losing. Greatness is in my opinion is determined by consistency and That pretty much describes this SA team, so any suggestions that they are ordinary or shouldn't be ranked #1 is just idiotic. I congratulate India on their performance, and all their fans have reason to celebrate their performances in the tests, they have batted and bowled better than anyone predicted. Just trying to bring the crazies back to earth where the objective supporters live.

Posted by rphanikanth on (December 26, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

In Jan 2012, Dhoni said he'll retire from one format by the end of 2013.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/549020.html

Although he is playing well in tests, I think he should retire from tests after the current SA series. He is far more valuable to India in the shorter formats. A new captain can take over the Test team.

Posted by jango_moh on (December 26, 2013, 21:29 GMT)

@OttawaRocks .... that would be an administrative nightmare.... remember, it takes a lot of logistics to plan even an odi match, how do you think administrators would handle a 6th or 7th day that they only can guess will happen.... imho it will not work....

Posted by BounceTrack_BULLY on (December 26, 2013, 21:15 GMT)

SA bowlers were outplayed by Vijay and Pujara. Any fast bowler can make use of Green and Seam friendly Tracks. It doesn't make any sense to blame pitches.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 21:05 GMT)

This series was supposed such an anticipated one because everyone wanted to see young Indian talents pitted against the best bowlers in the world in fast bouncy wickets....but what do we get two flat tracks...with little assistance for bowlers. For anyone who thinks Wanderers was anything else just need to look at the two 2nd innings total. Now... why would CSA make such pitches and not play a game in the usually fast Newlands pitch....we can only wonder.... I personally feel there is more into this whole thing than what we see. I am actually happy its a 2 match series.... what is the point after all if all we get to see is cricket being played out on flat tracks

Posted by Jaybass32 on (December 26, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

Well said Wallrus... He has always gone under the radar...pity...

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

why not u african dare to test your bowler in different condition ,u only want bowler paradise dan indian bowler r equally lethal.suppose your batter batting infront of your bowler they woulnot sustain even for 50 over as AB not got patience to be tested again n again by good spell,AMLA not looking good when he plays either side of wicket rest r like our ranji batsman

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 20:27 GMT)

Enjoyed watching India bat. Didn't expect them to bat this well in tests.

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 26, 2013, 20:27 GMT)

Irrespective of what happens in the remainder of this test one has to say that India have done much better than expected. A few observations:

1. Ind batsmen are as good as anyone else & probably better. They just need some time to acclimatize.

2. SA bowlers are over-rated. Be it Steyn or Morkel or Philander, they need fav conditions to do well. TBH, I can't decide if Anderson is worse in Oz or Steyn here.

3. Conditions were overcast & dark yet SA bowling looked toothless. Steyn was bowling short & on the body from round the wicket in such overcast & dark conditions still got nothing. Desperation & ineffectiveness !!

4. The wicket might break & help India. Ashwin was needed :-(

Posted by aadz50 on (December 26, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

@Steven Charie I understand where you are coming from. In logical sense this tour has not brought any kind of material success for these young batters. But, the thing you fail to understand is that no one, not even the most optimistic Indian fan, hoped an Indian win in odi and test series. Its just the way they have batted makes the most ardent Indian fan proud of their achievement. The last tours to England and Australia have proved disastrous for the Indian team (filled with old stalwarts), so this kind of batting performance brings heartening joy to the fans. Some do get overconfident and start bashing South African attack, which is stupid since they are one of the best fast bowling attacks in the world. If you think about it in logical sense than South Africa were thrashed 2-0 in the odi series when they last visited India (Sachin scored 200 in one of them). Its more about how Indian batsmen have exceeded expectations in foreign conditions where they were supposed to just surrender

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 19:29 GMT)

@Steven Charie, With all due respect, i think South Africa too would have fared the same if they toured India for a similar series. Any team in the world is bound to feel unprepared in such a short notice. Even if South Africa, (whom you have vehemently championed against India) toured the subcontinent with similar time and preparations, they would have fared the same as India is doing now. So just quit gossiping, and enjoy the game.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 19:29 GMT)

well played by india. vijay and pujara again showing their class.

but the forcast and bad light issue means it may end in draw. the wicket is good for india. SA will have problem on this wicket. question is why organise test on this ground if it suits opposition team? poor planning or poor management? SA may also face the music for not going for the win in last match if this match doesnt go in their favour.

Posted by TRAM on (December 26, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

@Abhishek Srivastava, vijay is the weakest link in Ind batting? By what expert analysis of yours? Look at the all round strength of vijay in his 14 boundaries distributed in all directions. Compare the areas where Pujara has scored in his 50 - all are on leg side only. And Pujara got beaten a few deliveries too, in spite of the ball no longer shiny. If Pujara, Kholi, Rohit, Rahane, are so better than Vijay, why cant they open the innings, eh? Will they dare? Do you have any idea about what the test openers go through? Ask Gavaskar and he would tell you.

Posted by Wallruss on (December 26, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

It's funny how little media Jacques Kallis's retirement has had. His batting stats alone are comparable with those of Tendulkar. Yet he has also taken almost 300 Test wickets at 32. One of the all time greats!

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

@Steven Charie, I guess you are changing the goalposts here. I think you forget the fact that you are playing on your home turf with the tag of Number one Test team in the world which you richly deserve also. Everything is yours so please do not get into BCCI picking this or that. BCCI can pick from what you offer. Talking of pitches, why a good batsman is expected to score on all kind of pitches and why good bowler is not expected to dominate on all kind of pitches? Remember, it takes only one ball for a batsman to get out. Give credit to batsmen. I have no doubt in my mind that couple of practice matches before the ODI series would have helped Indian batsmen to familiarize with conditions in SA and make adjustments. But that did not happen and Indian batsmen failed in two ODIs. It is your pitch, and far from dominating India, you are clearly struggling so please do not bring in BCCI or CSA in this.

Posted by Roger.A. on (December 26, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

@Steve Charie: Wouldn't you be delighted if SA (hypothetical) on tour to India, after retirements of Kallis, Smith, ABD, Amla and Steyn, manage to draw by fighting hard on turning tracks? India being at top in test rankings is partly due to No.1 position achieved when Dravid, SRT and VVS were still present. The downfall occurred in Aus and Eng where Ind couldn't even draw a match. Post retirements, a younger side is beginning to do well...by grinding it out. The sole fact that people like Vijay and Kohli are grinding it out rather that go for ambitious shots is a reason to feel that the new Indian side can achieve something in the future.

Also to remind you, your attack decimated Ind line up in Nagpur(obviously a flat track in India) in 2010, where, 16 wickets were taken by SA fast bowlers (Steyn, Morkel and Kallis). Looking at how Kohli and Pujara played them out at Jo'berg (mind you each over produced atleast one wicket taking delivery) is a reason for Indian fans to celebrate.

Posted by vishx on (December 26, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Both Vijay and Pujara were impressive. Pujara has the makings of a great player. What an impressive start he has had to his international career! In terms of team selection, I would've preferred two spinners in Ashwin and Jadeja. Jadeja should've taken Rahane's spot. The combined batting skills of Ashwin and Jadeja can definitely make up for the loss of a specialist batsman. Given how little purchase RSA bowlers got on the first day, I suspect it will be a hard toil for the Indian pacers too. When the pitch starts assisting spinners on the last two days, lack of a another specialist spinner may hurt India. It's great to see this young Indian team holding its own against seasoned veterans in the RSA team. I hope to see something terrific from Kallis as well. One of the finest cricketers ever.

Posted by mahi678 on (December 26, 2013, 18:46 GMT)

@ CherryWood_Champion, probably bhuvi become another philander.bhuvi is good when pitching bit up to batsman- where a new batsman gets troubled easily. any way bhuvi lost confidence a bit. expecting that he regains touch soon. i say india need five bowlers- with only four bowlers they get tired easily get lost the focus. with four bowlers the opposition batsman can adjust quickly. good night.

Posted by OttawaRocks on (December 26, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

Durban is likely headed for a draw and we need new rules in test cricket to prevent unacceptable draws. My proposal is that all test matches mandate a minimum of 450 overs bowled before it is administered a result (unless a result is already determined). Let me explain. Sometimes poor light or rain thwarts the number of overs bowled in a match, producing a draw with 5 days completed but far fewer than 450 overs bowled in the match. If this occurs, under the old rules the match is a draw but under my proposed new rule the match would continue into the 6th, 7th or nth day (as necessary) until all 450 overs are bowled (and/or the match finishes with a result earlier). This rule would ensure more wins/losses instead of draws while also ensuring that if a draw did occur, it would occur under honourable circumstances - a full 450 overs are bowled to entertain fans - a professional guarantee made by cricket authorities to the fans, regardless of upset schedules. What do you think?

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (December 26, 2013, 18:24 GMT)

A very good day of test cricket cut short by bad light. Had the remaining overs been bowled, who knows, India would have been around 270-280 with the loss of 2-3 wickets. It would have set the game perfectly. But now India again have to be watchful in the morning and bat out the whole day tomorrow. With more bad light and rain forecast later in the match, unless 1 team collapses, I can't see beyond a draw.

Posted by The_Freakster on (December 26, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

Well played Vijay and Pujara! But the job is not done yet. Vijay needs to get a double, Pujara 150+. If India can put 550+ on the board by the end of tomorrow, we have a shot at bowling SA out without worrying too much about losing. On a pitch like this you need luck as a bowling unit which SA did not have, but the Indian batters rode their luck well. I'm surprised by Smith's defensive captaincy, but after Steyn and Philander's batting at the Wanderers I'm not that surprised really. I think SA will be happy with 0-0.

Posted by CherryWood_Champion on (December 26, 2013, 18:15 GMT)

@mahi678 ... Bhuvi is not played because of the playing conditions. The ball does not seam around much in SA ... except when there are overcast conditions. Bounce is the main factor and bowlers who can hit the deck hard with speed will be better. He is the best suited for English conditions.

Posted by jatindeo on (December 26, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

The worlds number one bowler bowling a negative line ,what a howler !!! they have give up on it ?

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

I guess I do somewhat understand the comments being made, as all of us love and support our teams and are all at least a little bias when we do so. India has played well and have quit frankly over achieved based on what most experts expected them to do. But let's not get carried away. They were thrashed in the ODIs and have yet to win a game on this tour. BCCI arranged a shorter tour and hand selected the venues to give their team the best chance to get positive results, but I dont think 2 thrashings a wash out and (probably) two draws is anything to get overly excited about. If I have my facts straight and I may not (don't have time to check stats with a calculator) SA have scored more runs per wicket at a faster rate and have taken more wickets at a better rate on every game. The fact that India(#1 ODI and #2 Test) is thrilled and happy about these results and stats and SA is perhaps not too happy with the ways things have turned out just emphasizes the gap between the two teams.

Posted by thedreamer on (December 26, 2013, 18:11 GMT)

If not for the WI series, Sachin and Kallis would have retired in the same Test match! Would have been the greatest Test ever with both the champions performing for one last time.

Posted by DC75 on (December 26, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

I am Indian fan and I am glad that the Indian batting line up is holding up against the SA attack - more impressive is the patience exhibited by this line up by not poking at balls outside the off stump.

I am also worried for SA, because SA is my second favorite team. Some of the comments posted are ridiculous - flat pitch came in because of BCCI arm twisting, with the kind of relationship that BCCI and CSA has I think it would have been reverse. Keppler Wessels explained it best on why the pitches are flat namely - lack of preparation time vis-a-vis the weather and tendency to err on the side of flat pitches than green tops.

The more worrying factor is that Kallis will be gone when Aus visits SA, SA has to fit in two players in the place of one - how is a big question? Secondly, the Aus bowling unlike India's attack is actually capable of taking 20 wickets, I have my doubts against their batting line up unless the same kind of pitches are served for Aus.

Posted by wapuser on (December 26, 2013, 18:03 GMT)

I am thoroughly fascinated by the way a certain few here expertly give their not-so-expert opinions regarding what the captains should or should not have done! The combined experience in Test Cricket of all the bloggers here is less the newest member of either side, just so all of you know. Take a "chill pill" and enjoy the game. A "Reality Check" for all of you -- you are all human beings, full of trials and errors. So, STOP giving lecture and enjoy Cricket.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (December 26, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

India's batting looks strong. No doubt they r best team from subcontinent

Posted by zalmaypk on (December 26, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

Great work by India,their bating talents are grooming in hostile conditions with out sachin ,dravid and vvs,and their progress to regain world 1 spot in right way,but still i feel that they need at least one proper world class seam bowler to win them more matches and to stay their for longer time otherwise it will be temporary !!

Posted by DC75 on (December 26, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

@Alan Gaskon: I agree that India are not bossing SA, but the point is SA was expected to crush India in tests, that has not happened which is a great achievement for this young Indian team playing in SA against SA. I would be worried with the SA performance as they have Australia coming up next, unlike India, Aus does have bowling attack that matches SA and is capable of taking 20 wickets on any pitch, the question will be whether their batting line up gives them a chance or not. Looking at the pitch today in Durban, I think it is headed towards a draw, if the same pitches are served for Aus tour, well it might get very interesting.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (December 26, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

Very happy with India's batting ,vijay finding his feet in tests away from home and Pujara , what a player ! he is destined for greatness , good on front foot, solid back foot game , plays late , keeps the ball along the ground , a defense as good as any in the world , uses feet well against spinners and an ability to push up the run rate if needed ... we are indeed lucky to have him.

Posted by gdalvi on (December 26, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

The major problem with India is that Dhoni wants to play safe and play extra batsman to either out-bat the opponent or salvage a draw. This has resulted in many tests resulting in draw even when batsmen set up the match for India. I think its Dhoni to hang his test boots and let someone more aggressive like Kohli or Pujara take the helm. We need to play 5 proper bowlers (with 1 or 2 of them who can bat a bit).

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

I think Dhoni might have had a look at the pitch before finalizing the playing eleven.But here too he appears to have made a mistake.The pitch has offered low bounce which is ideally suited to spin bowling.Given the flatness of the track the South African batsmen would bat for longer periods like Indians.So the requirement of playing two spinners instead of one was a more viable or mature choice from the perspective of the pitch.I think Rahane should have been dropped to make way for another spinner.As the match progresses the need of second spinner will be hard felt by the Indians.

Posted by rahsun on (December 26, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

SA fan before the start of play: India will be rolled out below 50 and the game will be over in 3 days Indian fan before the start of play: After the moral victory in 1st test, India will give a tough fight to SA. Even if India lose, we need India to at least give a fight and lose. What the heck is Jadeja doing in place of Ashwin/Ojha SA fan after 1st wicket: Morkel is bowling beautifully and got Dhawan. India will be all out today may be before lunch India fan after 1st wicket: Hope India crosses atleast 200 and bowls this SA team out below 200 or concede very little lead and secure big lead in 2nd innings SA fan at lunch: India will be all out by Tea India fan at lunch: Pujara and Vijay are slowly building. Hope they continue till Tea SA fan at Tea: Pitch is flat. Indian batters can't play like this in SA. Denial mode India fan at tea: Hope Pujara and Vijay take it till the end of play SA fan: Pitch is flat India fan: Alas, bad light stopped play. SA escaped SA fan:Pitch is flat

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

@Alan Gaskon. Don't worry if similar overcast conditions which prevailed in the first day are given to the Indian bowlers they will blow away the Proteas. No big deal.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

since when did steyn and south africans learned to ball around the wicket, into the ribs, with 5 on the leg side... guess who's scared?

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

guys please stop comparing pujara and kohli to Dravid and tendulkar... both these guys haven't and will never face the kind of bowlers that the wall and the master blaster did! we don't hav McGrath akram waqar lee Walsh Donald bond Pollock etc playing now! the only genuinely quick bowlers are steyn and morkel and the Indians have just momentarily won the battle against steyn ! remember those two have wrecked India more than once before(remember the 7-51 at Nagpur?) ... so please stay grounded and give constructive criticism!

Posted by GrtIndia_Ann on (December 26, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft:If not anythingesle...you comment merely shows your frustrated hatred towards Indian players....Yes...Pujara is relatively new to test cricket...but his class speaks volumes about his possible future....your thinking that hitting the ball hard is yardstick of a batsman's ability shows your poor understanding of the game....now a little bit of introspection from you would reveal who is disrespectful and impatient

Posted by zalmaypk on (December 26, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

Great work by India,their bating talents are grooming in hostile conditions with out sachin ,dravid and vvs,and their progress to regain world 1 spot in right way,but still i feel that they need at least one proper world class seam bowler to win them more matches and to stay their for longer time otherwise it will be temporary

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

No disrespect to sa..they r playing great cricket but some comments of sa fans really made me wondering.. First they say India dnt stand a chance against sa nd match ll b over within 3 days.. Now they r talking about flat tracks.. Now question arises how this attack which considered best in the world gonna perform in India trust me guys u not gonna get green grass there.. So ur saying this bowling attack only lethal in swinging condition??

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

Nice to see that the shoe is on the right foot [Indian] for a change. The only thing lucky about team India is winning the toss, other than that it has been determination and effort all the way - signs of a fight in the team. Seems like the South Africa fans are very extremely frustrated. One of the commentary feed backs read something like this - WHY DO WE PLAY IN DURBAN WHEN WE KNOW WE CANNOT WIN- Exuse me?? this is your backyard, and you KNOW you cannot win against a team that was shredded to peices before the series started? Fellow fans, NO 1 team has the RESPONSIBILITY to win on any surface. Without that it is NOT a No 1 team. This SA team is not even close to the Steve Waugh or WI teams of the 1980s. Just read this "SA almost won the last test". How did SA ALMOST win the last test? SA had three overs [beneficiary of india's gift] to score 13 runs and didn't have the ROCKS to go for it with three wickets in hand. Australia would have gone for a win without a second thought.

Posted by mahi678 on (December 26, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

why not playing bhuvi? with one or two series failures bhuvi becomes an ordinary bowler. remember we won champions trophy due to bhuvi. before aus odi series his stats were amazing. he is good fielder and can bat well. he should be in place of dhawan.

Posted by India2014 on (December 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Why in the world did Dhoni leave out Ashwin in a flat pitch. Durban is always a spin wicket. Jadeja should have replaced Dhawan. 2 spinners must in this condition.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

@ srini chennai. Indeed you are right I think from both sides people are getting too emotional. I for one have the utmost respect for Indian cricket and their talent and people need to show respect for what they are doing, its great to see! It is just frustrating that some can get so ahead of themselves from SA fans and Indian fans.

Posted by mahi678 on (December 26, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

again an imbalanced team i suppose, need to play 5 bowlers...bhuvi should have played in place of dhawan. i wont say he is not good batsman. but he is more stronger in odis than tests.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

@ kasilingam. yes but unfortunately every team goes into series these days underprepared, I think with 150 plus winning margins in the ODIs everyone needs to accept that India was outplayed by a superior team and also everyone needs to agree that India has surprised many by their performance in the tests so far. But the point im trying to make is that no player or team are suddenly worldclass after 1 game or 1 session and no one is also suddenly useless after one game. india needs to kerp their heads down and build on these moments because like SA has shown the last 8 years respect is earned after years of performing. India has the potential for sure but getting ahead of themselves will kill their momentum and their fans need to be more level headed and humble. Begin winning and then boast about it dont talk a great team like SA down after competing well for a couple of days. I love India as a country and their cricket and hope the can stay level headed and build on these experiences

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

Here were my expectations prior to the Test Match series. Indian bowling wouldn't be up to par- they overachieved in the 1st innings of the first Test and back to self in the second innnings. Dhawan/Rohit would not do well due to pace and bouncy wickets - true - Dhawan because of his arrogance and Rohit simply because of his technique. Ashwin would struggle - true - he is good on Indian tracks and the Durban track might have suited him better plus he is a liability in the field - hope Jadeja does well. Kohli/Pujara could do well - exceeded expectations. Vijay could struggle - surprised everyone by his approach. Dhoni would be cautious - threw away several overs by bowling Vijay, Kohli and himself in the second innings. Zaheer could struggle - did well in the 1st innings and wasted round the wicket second innings effort. Shami could go either way - can bowl some unplayable deliveries but gives away too may runs with the short stuff. Ishant could be helped by the SA tracks - tru

Posted by DaGameChanger on (December 26, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

@Alan..Dude RPO is decent not slow but again its the first day and batsman want to preserve the wickets. No problem with that. Its mental breakdown of the SA bowlers. Why in the world Steyn and AB kept talking scare and then produce such a farce pitch. Who's fault is it? Or Who is scared. I had respect for SA players but lost all when I hear AB and Steyn talk. You're no where as good as you were claiming. These bunch of boys who haven't played enough test and some of them on their first overseas tour are making you toil hard already in 2 weeks of arrival. Imagine if India had arrived 2-3 weeks ago like Australia does before going to England for Ashes. I am an American, almost won is not in my dictionary! You can also say You "almost won" SemiFinal WC 99..blah.. You had chance you blew it. I bet if MSD was finisher or Australia, it would gone for it. Dont blame your problems on others. India exactly knew what is needed to draw just in case.ToBeHonest,India didnt even bowl negative line

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

@jimbond Its very sad you think in these ways. I thought Vijay put his heart out there and played. Even when he didn't score big on the first test, he made it "easier" for the up coming batsmen (which is part of what an opener should do). So what will you say, if he keeps this trend of scoring up? that the other teams are just allowing him to score?!! Think as an Indian please. Go India.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

those who criticizes the slow runrate of Indian batsmen should give it rest.... did you guys saw how pujara and kohli batted in post tea session on 3rd innings??? they both scored about 150runs in one session, pujara was the aggressor who made almost 100runs.with the strike.rate.of odi type.... these guys are new breed who knows how to increase the run rate with in just a matter or overs.... so just wait calmly...

Posted by USIndianFan on (December 26, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

Basically, excellent batting by the Indian openers and then Pujara, which hid the quality of bowling that SA dished out. If India loses quick wickets tomorrow, this match can be wide open. SA are also in trouble - if India get past the morning and push to 500+, SA will have difficulty, especially as eventually Morkel's ankle will act up. The only spoiler seems to be the light and likelihood of rain..

Very good going by India.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

Future Dravid is already there on strike...

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 26, 2013, 16:53 GMT)

Agree with @ Madan Shivakumar - I agree that Philander still has a long way to go before he can be considered great but what is all this criticism about Steyn? He would not be the same in India! Really? Just check out his stats in India ! He has an average of around 22 and a SR of about 45 which is amazing! It's really laughable when some people think Ishant can do better than Steyn. What's Ishant's avergae in India?? Is it below 100??

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

hello mr.albie i appreciate ur comments ,but real fact is Indians didnt prepare well for odi's..did some for test matches,,u can see the difference...If this pitch behaves like a Indian wickets,who ever it may be sa or aussie ,dhoni know how to win in 4 days ,but missing ashwin is a concern. instead of a pacer ,should have gone with 2 pacers or should have dropped rahane for sachin,need to take some serious steps..but still 0-0 in sa itself for a great achievement for this young guns who gonna play for next 10-12 years in Indian team.a good form yuvraj would have made hell of a diffference ,, this confidence will make them play well in nz,england and australia...pujara is a perfect opener ,can drop dhawan and play with extra spinner also would have been perfect.. lets hope for the best match

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (December 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

@Albie Hanekom: You're right, but what you got to remember is most of the Indians like Steyn and have utmost respect for the achievements of SA team. It is some of your fellow SA fans shown utter contempt for India. Granted, India is way behind SA but a little bit of respect for this young team would do no harm. Even Steyn himself talked rubbish after the 1st ODI. It is only fair that you got to cop some when you're happy to give it to others.

Posted by gajanan_londhe on (December 26, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Comment of the day!!.

At Time: Before match Start. Indian:Dhawan is better batsman, he has scored 100s and 100s. SA'en: Dhawan is flat track bully.

At Time: End of day. Indian: Indian bat well today. SA'en: pitch has been made flat.

Conclusion:

Dhawan hasn't scored mean pitch is not flat. and Indian played well on this pitch mean Indian can play well any pitch. ....

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 26, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

I don't know why Indian fans are always in a hurry? Some of them have already started calling Pujara the world's best!!! This is the first time he is scoring runs away from India. And from the crowds we see in the SA stadiums we can't say How really keen SA is in this series. Pujara doesn't have a place in ODIs and T20s. He doesn't have the physical clout to hit the ball really hard. Indian fans are disrespectful and impatient. We have AB De Viiliers, Hashim Amla, Michael Clarke, Kevin Peterson...Pujara has years to go to catch up with them.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

At last Murali Vijay has found the touch and played superbly. I wish him all the best. Let this continue till his retirement. A good cricketer must flourish. In Cricket this is the problem i.e getting a nick is a problem. Many a cricketers fail in their venture for want of this. I am happy a technically sound cricketer got up well.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

@dagamechanger: Proteas almost won the last test, and this pitch is flat flat flat, so how is india bossing Sa at under 3 R.P.O ?

Posted by PuNjaBi4EVa on (December 26, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Great knock by these two batsmen. Indian bowlers need to pull up their attitude to win the test series. India has a chance to write history against South Africa in South Africa.

Come on MS, do your magic and win this test series. Show SA that Indian bowlers are the best in overseas conditions.

Posted by hnlns on (December 26, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

I am very disappointed with the kind of surface dished out for this test. Can't quite understand the logic of providing a batting paradise when bad light already eats away majority of last session each day. The pitch in Durban should be such that the match itself should be over in about 300 overs (60 overs each day). No point if a result cannot be achieved because of a dead pitch and weather interruptions, that too when the 2 sides involved played such excellent cricket in Johannesburg on a very sporting pitch.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

really amazed at how Indian supporters speak about SA being afraid of dishing out a green top! really laughable stuff! guys even I'm an Indian fan and its better we stay grounded... let us not forget that SA matched us neck to neck at the wanderers ...but for a moment of brilliance by rahane we would have been 0-1 down by now! I agree that philander still has a long way to go before he can be considered great but what is all this criticism about steyn? he would not be the same in India! really? just check out his stats in India ! he has an average of around 22 and a SR of about 45 which is amazing! he is bound to have bad days and he s been on top for around 5 years! can ishant even remotely replicate that?!!! even in the Johannesburg test he was taken to the cleaners by faf and AB!

Posted by DaGameChanger on (December 26, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

I only wish that Benoni practice game was done at the start of the tour. What a cracker ODI series would've been. Anyway, by the end of this series, India will be bullying SA in SA. Boss that?

Posted by adis26 on (December 26, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

What the hell is Cricket South Africa doing preparing a flatter wicket. I was all ready for a Green top in Durban and really looking forward to our Indian batsmen fight it out there. I don't quite understand why Cricket South Africa would not prepare a green top. Are they pushing for a draw as well? This makes me a little sad because our Indian batting line up imo is too strong to wilt in a pitch like this. Almost suicidal by South Africa. Just hope the pitch does something in the next few days. This is getting easy for us.

Posted by silentstand on (December 26, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Have to give India credit they are better than I taught.Saffas have underestimated and as I predicted India will win this test and the series......we should have won that last match

Posted by many07 on (December 26, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

Definition of Flat Track in terms of haters..........If Indian batsman make runs then it is a flat track.

Posted by SNBala_IndianCricket on (December 26, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Vijay is playing superbly.....those who doesn't have a clue as to what Test Cricket is should not comment on his approach. This is not T20 to hit everything....Test is about grinding the opposition down...its about strategy!Chateshwar Pujara is proving to be another Dravid for India. Keep up the Excellent work Vijay~Chateshwar!

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

@Jimwhatever - Positivity should be from both sides - What Smith did - in fading light, asked Steyn to go round the wicket & pitch it short at the batsman. Jardine's bodyline was more sporting in that at least it was in full daylight. As the light faded more, he brought on Morkel to bowl wide. Clear message - South African Smith wanted the umpires to call off play because his bowlers were tired - fading light gave him an opportunity & he took it ! What do you call Smith's action ? By your standard - Gream Smith, captain South Africa's action was cowardly BUT you chose not to comment against Smith ! Criticism is fine, Indians will take it...as long as it is fair & consistent.

Posted by devil_in_details on (December 26, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

Bravo to young Indian batting guns- u make us so proud. And Shame to the SA bowlers and their captain for bowling a negative line in fading lights against the spirit of cricket. Like all bullies, this SA bowling including that motor-mouth Steyn, crack at the slightest hint of fight and pressure. Bowling negative line at home against inexperienced batsmen ,on Tea of the FIRST day (!), who would have thunk it?

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

ok lets bring some calm to all these brave comments from behind a screen. SA does have the best attack in the world period. not because of today or any other day because of consistent performances over years. A day like today you must give credit to the batsman even on a dead pitch they are playing well. I remember a tour to Oz where India kept piling on 600 plus scores against McGrath, Warne and co. did that make that Oz attack bad? Not at all!! This is test cricket even the best dont run thru batting sides everyday. The facts are that is 5 years since SA have lost a series and 8 since they lost an away series that is incredible. This is the 5th match of this tour and India are yet to win ONE so please you brave Indians get some perspective. You have a talented side that should develop well in the next few years but the fans need some common sense. Well played today India its great to see that there should be a great rivalry for years to come lets hope for longer series in yje future

Posted by CRIC_FAN94 on (December 26, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Well played India. But vijay and pujara should learn to accelerate the score,it doesnt make sense playing under 3 run rate after facing more than 100 deliveries. I dont want them to repeat the mistake committed on the 4th day morning of first test where pujara and kohli played too slow after facing more than 200 balls each and just increased the pressure on the lower order to score some quick runs but who eventually collapsed

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (December 26, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

Good move by Dhoni to drop Ashwin. Like I said before on this board, we have no shortage of talent in India. We have to a give a chance to others too. If Jadeja doesn't do well in this test, we can try Ojha in the next test. But wait a minute, there's no 3rd test !! Nice scheduling. Way to go, BCCI.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

phailander is a avargage bowler when it doesnot should the condition like that bhuvenshwar kumar.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

One gets the impression (Not being judgmental) looking at Philander, he has benefited tremendously from Steyn and Morkel applying pressure from the other end without which he doesn't look more effective than Bhuvneshwar Kumar in fact a yard slower. Bhuvneshwar moves the ball both ways but doesn't have the luxury of helpful conditions and bowling partners of the likes of Steyn and Morkel. The moment India has negated Steyn and Morkel successfully he looks pretty innocuous at the other end.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I cant agree with Pomy today when he is asking the questions about pitch to kepler, "the track wont suit no sides" --- with reverse swing coming into play I can see this track suits only one team, if shami can repeat his spell he has done at calcutta, then South Africa is in deep hole. Also SA can't go for a under prepared wk, if they leave the grass on the pitch, as with their current form they will be bundled out for 100 or below. They played safe, given the match and weather condition, pitch curator produces the best he can, if he do the other way around, and south africa will be batting now and if they are 100 all out, it will be more of a shame. Considering the SA reputation on Durban, the curator did the right thing.

Posted by DhairyBoghani on (December 26, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

When India play well you call pith is flat when SA plays well you call bowling is bad. give some respect to temperament of batsman. Read today's commantry. Styen got classic reverswings, Morkel brought angled & short pitch balls. good amount of turn even for robin. but There were Vijay and Poojara to survive.

Posted by jimwhatever on (December 26, 2013, 15:40 GMT)

we want results. vijay played negative cricket towards the end. is this not about scoring runs? what was vijay doing? just leave,leave,leave. during the start it is good. then he should score runs. pujara does that beautifully.

Posted by Rohit_Gupta78 on (December 26, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

Congratulations!! India has once again produced the world beaters who are going to rule cricket for almost couple of decades. Indeed, India are powerhouse of batting. The baton has been passed over and the young generation is ready to take it with aplomb. It gives me such a pleasure to watch these young blokes in action defying all odds, pitch, equation etc. You can see that fear in the eyes of the opposition. This is so remarkable and I dare say that these young batters has surpassed the previous generation in terms of attitude,aggression and ability to take the fight into the opposition camp. HATS OFF to these guys! The whole world is watching you.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

India is doing well and all those people who talked against this young team do NOT know what to utter now. But still they will say it was a flat track etc etc. I am sure if India had a little practice before the one day internationals they would have thrashed SA and won the series. And talk about the 2nd test if India were in that position as SA on the 5th day Iam positive and 200% sure that India would have finished on a winning note and we all know who the best finisher in the world is from INDIA.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

We Indians are little surprised to see the pattern of test matches. Upto first test's first inning it was good as both team bowled under 300. But then SA pitches started behaving like Indian pitches. Indian batsmen started enjoying here, Vijay is like our alviro peterson & he is the weakest batting link in our line up. When Vijay starts scoring hundreds rest of guys can pile up mountains of runs but still its test cricket, things can change quickly in a session or 2 but day 1 belongs to India.

Posted by Prakmca on (December 26, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

Indian batsman played good... But at least some point of time, we have accelerate the scoring... it's not simply keep blocking and staying at the crease. Taking few deliveries to take first few runs (say first 10 runs from 50 balls is ok, but taking another 40-50 balls to take another 10 runs not at all acceptable even though it is test cricket.) We have look for scoring chances and try to score as much as we could, which will lay a platform to win. Getting 250 runs in a day, simply will end in draw only.

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 26, 2013, 15:28 GMT)

What has happened is South AFrica found Indian bolwers too hot to handle as South African batsmen play with edges then the middle of the bat with 90% runs on third man, so to save themselves they came up with flat wicket to save them. And those who are saying about dhawan technique, I bet Grame Smith plays with poorer technique then him. Give dhawan time, lot o frubbish was spoken against Vijay as well on last tour.

Posted by Brahams on (December 26, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Looks like India has some very good players in the making.

SA should feel gutted - they didn't win the last home series and it appears that this would go the same way.

And India applies themselves when they are underdogs. Good work so far in the series! If India can get some a couple of good fast bowlers, I would put my money on them (okay, this is only a wish).

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

No need to remind - when SA tried to bully India by providing green tops, they were beaten in their own game in Jo'burg 2006 and Durban 2010 and managed to draw previous game. What are they complaining about the pitch now ? In fact they should be happy it's not a green track where India fancy their chances more !!

Posted by GRVJPR on (December 26, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

That's why I never believed in rankings. South Africa number 1, really? I bet if they play 10 test matches in row in India they will be number #7 quickly. Philander is far from #1 and so is Steyn. Lot of laugh is made of Ishant and others. I am sure if philander and steyn would have played their cricket in India they wouldn't have been made into eleven. They are just one dimensional bowlers with no variations and too used to getting easy wickets against mediocre batsmen, but they are up against a reality check against a technically good batting side. Today they also hurt spirit of cricket by finding ways to run of the field in fading light. Number 1 teams don;t do that.

Posted by Indiana_jones99 on (December 26, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

After all the bravura of pre-test series talk and pre-2nd test talk SA are firing blanks . SA resort to bodyline bowling to come off for bas light. No. 1 team in their own backyard! At this rate it will be all downhill ans I expect Australia to wrestle the No. 1 spot in the near future.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

styne must have said again that "this is not Mumbai " lol.... bowling negative line on tea day1.... that tells the whole story.... bad light saved the day for south Africa.... that caused a little dip in runrate...

Posted by vik56in on (December 26, 2013, 15:14 GMT)

Earlier I had a complaint against Chairman of Selectors Srikanth that he was securing his own future by placing Ashwin,Vijay and Mukund into the Indian team through the regional lobby.But it seems that my assessment of Vijay is wrong.Vijay is the ideal opener that India had been searching for long

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (December 26, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa, your statements sound contrasting to each other. You said Wanderer's pitch is flat but SA were all out for 240+ in first innings. And when SA almost chased 2nd innings total you guyz boasted a lot and talked as if India's bowling was below average and never mentioned about flat pitch. And you also said Dhawan is flat track bully and only good for playing in India but if SA pitch is really flat track then why couldn't he play well here? Apart from that SA fans say Indians were afraid of Steyn's bouncers on this so-called flat track pitches. Look at your comments and analyse them for clear understanding.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

The issue with SA making a green top is that it plays right into the indian bowlers hands. The batsmen seem to cope very well on a bouncy wanderers and bowlers troubled SA in the first innings. So might as well make a slow and low one which helps no one, atleast not the Indian bowlers. I guess SA still have the last tour durban defeat to India on a super green top, in their heads. So I would say SA playing it safe here :)

Posted by Biso on (December 26, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

@Tom120: This SA bowling attack had to concede a lead in the first innings to the Indian batsmen during the first innings of the first test. Only when the wicket flattened out and with the aid of some luck ( number of catches falling into no mans land) their batsmen managed to drag their second innings till the very end. The Indians have batted better under the same conditions against a better bowling attack for the conditions. When the Aussies visit SA it remains to be seen how well the SA batters handle the Aussie attack and vice versa. I think Aussie bowling has an edge but the same cannot be said about their batting. Difficult to predict irrespective of which way the present series goes.

Posted by VenkateshAnjutgi on (December 26, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Pitches does not determine the quality of players, every host country has the responsibility of creating pitches that suites their game and environment. I would not conclude that flat pitches player is a lesser of an player than a player on bouncy pitches. Same goes for Bowlers fast bowlers are not any superior to spin or slow bowlers. A player who has scored runs on flat pitches does not get automatically discounted as a lesser player because he did not play on bouncy pitches. Same goes to the fast track player aswell, he has to play on slow pitches too. That is the nature of the game if there were no slow pitches then everyone wants to be Steyn,

For example a Tennis player is great if he wins on grass, but he is even greater if wins on grass,clay and hard court. All three courts have equal status as part of Tennis. Just to brand player saying he can only play clay and cannot play on grass is something of a prejudice. Because the same player can win in other condition

Posted by msaurav on (December 26, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Bad light saved South africa's day .

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

when the fans say it's a flat pitch then confirm yourself that your batsmen are doing excellent.... and I see styne doing reverse swing.. this should be fun.... u haven't seen styne getting reverse swing recently, if he is getting it, then shami and zak should be able to get that.... vert interesting this little period of game..... like I said earlier Vijay is due for big score, and pujara, well you know what he does when he gets a start.... I was hoping for some t20 stuff from Vijay at the end of day, but unfortunately it's a bad light....

I have one question for those who are saying it's a flat track, AREN'T THE WORLD'S TOP1 AND 2 BOWLERS SUPPOSED TO TAKE WICKETS ON FLAT TRACKS??? why are they no1 and 2? just to take wickets on grazing fields???

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 26, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

with extra batsman in jadeja in this test it looks likely that india will bat only once and will likely bat till lunch on day 3. then everything depends on indian bowlers if they can win test or settle for draw.steyn needs to back up his claims that they might have scared indian batsmen,its looks the other way round.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

None of these bowlers except for steyn will be able to take out indians in the sub continent. how many matches has vernon played in india . it will be a great test for him!!!

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Concerted effort by SA commentators to make this pitch seem more flatter than it is. Although it's no green track, it is certainly more responsive than a typical first day sub-continent pitch like Chennai or Bangalore. There were certainly more than a handful of deliveries that deviated off the pitch.

Posted by VenkateshAnjutgi on (December 26, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

Every country prepares pitches that suites their style, India prepares pitches the way it likes lot of countries cannot play in Indian pitches and cannot rubbish that its a flat track or slow etc and etc , the non subcontinent wickets might suite the non subcontinent bowlers, that does not mean its the best or super. Winning on all pitches shows greatness. For Australians, SA , NZ and England its hard to win in India. it could be the slow pitches or slow bowling or flat track that is the nature of the game.

In tennis you play on grass, clay and hard court i would not say one is better than the other for each its own. Its the same thing with cricket the host country has the responsibility to create the pitch. The players are athletes and play on all conditions I would not rate Steyn any better than Ashwin or say since he bowls fast he is a better bowler or something to respect him for that aspect. I say Ashwin who is the slow bowler is in no way inferior or less of a bowler.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

@Lyndon, you are spot on. We are witnessing new set of heroes who will serve Indian cricket for longtime to come..

Posted by Biso on (December 26, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

On sub continent wickets Philander will look an absolute trundler. Morkel will also look blunted. Steyn will be the only bowler worthy of mention. SA really need helpful wickets against this Indian batting. The famed W I bowlers never needed any help from the wicket to trounce sides . This SA attack can never even dream of reaching any such level. And those of you who doubt Dhawan's abilities must bear in mind that he is an attacking batsman who is yet to find the restrain needed on helpful SA wickets. He did try playing shots and showed a bit of patience. The drinks break induced a casual sub- continent shot which I am sure he will get rid off with a bit more experience. He has talent and will be a very successful batsmen for all conditions. On the whole Indian batsmen are doing better against an arguably better bowling attack for the conditions. Me thinks the SA are worried about the less accomplished Indian bowlers who troubled them on a spicy First innings wicket last test.

Posted by batman_gothamcity on (December 26, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

Steyn vs Vijay /Pujara bowling at the batsman rib cage and above , round the wicket at 140+ with 3 feilders at leg side was a treat to watch . Test cricket at its best . The Indian batsman showed good technique like playing with soft hands and watching the ball upto the last minute.

Posted by jimbond on (December 26, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

SA is doing India no favours by allowing Vijay to score some runs. This one innings will ensure that the regional lobby will get him in the team for another year. Jadeja for Ashwin- shows that the Indians are hoping for cracks in the pitch as in the previous match. One thing Jadeja is good at is consistently aiming for a spot

Posted by anand_soraganvi on (December 26, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

Its been a tremendous batting shown up by vijay and pujara. not to forget how SA have been bowled today. really they have bowled short and make Indians to struggle but vijay and pujara stood well. Again pujara shows how classy he is. Vijay shows why he is in the team. Go india go. We want win now.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

SA fans calling it a flat track, if on your own flat track your No.1 bowling attack can't get our young batsmen out...what you'll do at our backyard?

Fact at the matter is SA underestimated this young Indian side who has match better technique than our oldies had.

Posted by rajcl on (December 26, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Mr crimsonbull-SA almost won the 1st test.....almost only but not ,INDIA won 4.5 days & SA won 0.5 daysin their home would you remenber this one first, ( SA almost won the 1st test but according to me INDIA won the match end of 4th day, but not )

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

Great work guys. Keep going. Just remember to counter against losing wickets in a heap after a couple of good sessions (like the last match).

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

If this is the best spin they can produce , then God please don't let them bring their second. These indians are the butchers of the spin attack. and tomorrow will be a hell for SA for the must be introducing spin to compensate and they will be smacked hard all around the ground. Even if it's draw ,SA will remember this 2 tests as their worst performance ever with none of their bowlers in full strength. and look at steyn, imran tahir and robi, duminy, they are being given nightmares.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

With reverse swing coming into play, I wouldn't count out Zaheer and Shami especially with the perceived weakness of De Villiers, Amla and Kallis against incoming deliveries . Add to it accuracy of Jadeja, squeezing away at one end; perhaps even getting some turn later on, suddenly things don't look so hunky-dory for South Africa.

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (December 26, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

There is a link in homepage saying "Is Dhawan a flat track bully?" It is simply embarrassing. A guy who is playing in his 5th test, in his 1st overseas tour fails and the so-called experts calling him flat track bully. What about SA bowling attack? They are toothless and the world's #1 bowler Philander is trundling in 125-130 kph and the world's best bowler Steyn averaging over 200 this series against rookie Indian team. Talk about green track bullies.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

I don't understand why the south african supporters are whining about the pitch.. They are considered as the number one test side and they should be able to play in all sorts of conditions and pitches..

Posted by PPL11 on (December 26, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

@ crimsonbull - Really SA almost won it? Come on In last three overs both sides were 50/50 - and Draw was best result of that match, it was no 1 fighting with No 2

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

Still can't believe SA has gone so defensive now that they fear of losing test series to India, they prepared a flat track. Watch out it may back fire because it was reverse swinging a bit and Shami may make things difficult for SA batsmen.

Posted by tanstell87 on (December 26, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

The Protea fans are of opinion that India has made 181-1 on a flat deck...lets see how the flat deck behaves when India bowls...with no.1 & no.2 bowlers in their side, South Africa the no.1 test team playing in their own backyard should have got atleast 6-7 Indian wickets today but they could not....last year too the likes of Styen,Morkel & Philander were thrashed by Michael Clarke & co. in Australia...

Posted by Anubhav-the-Experience on (December 26, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

I am so happy for Vijay...he is a sort of player who can lose favor of public and selectors with just a few low scores....we need a player like that....his technique is extremely proper as an opener and he can resist even the most difficult bowling spells...he has done that...many times...good luck to him and India...

Posted by tanstell87 on (December 26, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

The South African wins in India in Ahmedabad 2008 & Nagpur 2010 came on green & hard wickets which were provided by Indian curators....the South African curators doing tit for tat...

Posted by sheenu on (December 26, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

So much for the sportsman spirit of SA :-) I am sure they have not picked Robin Peterson for his batting prowess!! If he is picked in the team to bowl and take wickets and/or contain the batsmen, they should have continued with him bowling in this light!! In any case, it is a moral victory for India. SA is scared...with all their FAST & FURIOUS Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis etc against an INEXPERIENCED and young Indian team!! Well done, India, now go for the kill!!

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

the reason india cudnt produce great fast bowlers becsecthey hve been preparing too much spin friendly pitches

and why has SA no quality spinners???? bcoz they favor fast bowling pitches. shame that no.1 team has no quality spinners at all. ha ha!!!!

Posted by cricketstarbest on (December 26, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

This is the end of SA reign at top and emergence of INDIA as super power in cricket. This young Indian team will surely be at top in all forms of cricket. Kudos to this young Indian team.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

Let us not forget Johannesburg test where India found it extremely difficult to break to Duplessi- Devilliars partnership. If India bats well , SA will do even better . India needs to grind and grind and pile up 500+ to put any pressure on SA as well as avoid the risk of loosing this Durban test.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 14:02 GMT)

can't get too carried away with the first day s performance ... hope India keep up the same intensity in the remaining days too.... vijay already showed that he wants his place in the test side with a gritty showing at the wanderers so this was just a reiteration... pujara is too good a player not to capitalize on these kind of pitches... hope virat rohit and rahane also make significant scores..then if dhoni n the tail can manage a few lusty blows we are easily looking at a score of 350+ ...but have to be careful tomorrow morning ... go India! if not a 1-0 win even a stalemate will be a huge morale booster in NZ Eng and Aus

Posted by pull_shot on (December 26, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

@CricketChat Dhawan has scored only 1 century in india on debut ha failed vs west indies at home but he was scoring good in odi's why to judge player so quickly with only 5 test matches in kitty he was top scorer in Champions trophy

Posted by kapilesh23 on (December 26, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

The truth is SA play very good and consistent text book cricket. India has figured out the way to halt the effectiveness of SA's text book bowling. Dale Steyn however great bowler he may be becomes quite ineffective if batsman starts to leave the ball outside off stump. Now Indian batsman are looking like running away with the test match. No disrespect to SA but they lack flair, out of the box thinking and x-factor players.

Posted by AjayDevan on (December 26, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

Bad thought about Vijay!!!...

A New Stats from Cricinfo....

"In last 10 innings Vijay has scored 618 runs at average of 69 including two centuries and two fifties"

Posted by DhairyBoghani on (December 26, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

How Good Batsmen these two are. Styen and Morkel used all of their short balls, Inswingers, outswingers, reverse swings, angled balls, full balls, outside off, on off stump, on middle & leg to get them out but they survives without much help of luck. Take a bow!

Posted by crimsonbull on (December 26, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

If it is easy for my India team to bat well so will it be also for SA. SA almost won the 1st test.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

talk about a road.way to kill your fast bowlers.congratulations CSA.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

Negative Line from Steyn. South Africa resigned to their fate already ?

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (December 26, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Look at that !!! How times change now SA are afraid of India and wanted to go off field. Well done INDIA.

Posted by CricketChat on (December 26, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Dhawan's scores in this test series so far are in line with abilities against sustained fast bowling and bounce. Back in India, he will once again score loads of runs on easy paced pitches with predictable bounce and all these failures will be forgotten.

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (December 26, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

It doesn't matter what kind of track it is. We are playing in India and we all know India is ready to face any kind of track that's been served. And you are not the best bowling lineup in the world if everything depends on the track. Anyone can take wickets in helpful conditions. If everything depends on the pitch then no one should question Indian bowlers as they bowl on unhelpful pitches.

Posted by pull_shot on (December 26, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa Suddenly when india scores track becomes flat

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Not even 60 overs in the day ...and SA bowling bouncers in fading light.... batting pitch...... whispers that one team is playing for a Draw...

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Hope this innings by Vijay will shut up his critics in India. An average of 50+ plus this year second in the team to Pujara. When has Gambir or even Sehwag been that consistent over a whole calendar year?

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 26, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

india are batting sa out of the test match. it appears only two results possible now india win or draw. sa dont have bowling attack to take 20 indian wickets on this track. now if indians can take 20 wickets then match cud be over inside 4 days if it starts to turn and bounce.atleast from sub continent india is showing best skills to play on sa soil . pakistan were beaten 3-0 and sl 2-1 last year. india looks likely to remain undefeated in sa like they did few years back.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

By looking at the way in which today's game is proceeding, one thing i can say is this pitch has got nothing to offer the bowlers.No offence but Murali vijay inching towards a century.. that to on an overseas pitch??? That's unbelievable and hard to anticipate and frightening as far as the future of this match is concerned.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

light dropping......Steyn bowling all the bouncers....looks like SA want to get off the field early....

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

India is lucky to have excellent replacements for Dravid and Tendulkar in Pujara and Kohli. We are hardly made to feel that India does't have fab four anymore!!

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (December 26, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

Oh, the real Ultimate King of Test cricket, The Cheteshwar Pujara, is on song today. Whaaaddddaaaaa Plaayyaa!!

Waltz the great Pujara, Waltz the great Pujara -- Don't ya stop - Waltz the great Cheteshwar Pujara, today - - Who's that trundling in - just hit him for a six or four (Oh, you are anyway) -- Don't ya stop - Waltz great Cheteshwar Pujara, ever....

The best part about this great cricketer is that he is able to do things at the age 25 which a few bunch of players are learning at 36-37....

I say, Hail the Real Superking, Cheteshwar Pujara you beauty!!!

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (December 26, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

if reverse swing is on offer, SA RIP.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

We'll done

Posted by luvmyindia on (December 26, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

Let's c how SA batts in this so called flat track.. :D

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 26, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

SA got scared that their batsman would get out for 217 again, so they did a good trimming job on the pitch this time. with SA's inability to take wickets on such tracks there are only two results possible now, india's win or a draw

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

Who says like akash chopra M Vijay also will be gone!! he is more of patient and converted this good start to a good innings! Go on Vijay.

Posted by kc69 on (December 26, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Wonderful feeling when people say its a flat track when India bats well.Hope India wins this and critics just disappear for sometime.

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 26, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

need to congratulate vijay and pujara for showing fortitude .vijay have silenced his critics.still ashwin( in away tests and odi ) and raina( in tests )were only selected due to influence of srinivason on selection committe.performance alone does not warrant ashwin anywhere near away -tests and odis squads. hope jadeja performs well to cement his place in test team.

Posted by Bokesh on (December 26, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

Guess what!! with the kind of bowling India has, they could not materialize the huge lead they had in 1st test and SA came very close to winning that match. The match stretched to last overs.And remember it was almost a typical SA wicket. Here you have a brown turf, with dried grass, even styen & co. not getting any assistance from the pitch or no lateral movement either. India resting their specialist spinner anfd the pace bowlers barely touching 137/140 kmph, who is going to take 20 SA wickets. Hope this gets published at least.

Posted by Stateside_Steve on (December 26, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

For those wondering about a fast green track, please be aware that India can use it just as effectively as proved in the first innings of the first test. And as for this test wait and watch how India sends shivers through the SA side when they bowl.

Posted by gsingh7 on (December 26, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

what happened to world supposed best side. indian batsmen are blunting sa atttack in sa. last i remember last 3 sides were bundles for less than 50 in at least one of the innings in sa. but india took lead in first test and looks to set a mammoth score in first innings of 2nd test. now indian bowlers have their work cut out and win the series in sa to close the gap of 12 rating points between india and number 1 title. surely jadeja can bowl better than ashwin,can he?

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

Reverse swing ... @steyn

Posted by CricketFanIndUS on (December 26, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

Excellent analysis on Matchpoint in the previous test and this one. A lot of detailed information and quality analysis backed by graphics. Sanjay Manjrekar has been very impressive. I saw almost all of them. :D

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

South Africans know that if they prepare a lively wicket they will be blown away like last time for about 90 odd runs. Moreover, aren't "world-class, genuinely quick" bowlers such as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel not supposed to depend too much on conditions? Given their air speed, height , etc, they should have blown this young Indian line up away on any wicket. what say Greatest Game?

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 26, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

What a road of a pitch. Why are out groundsmen preparing such flat pitches? With India's inability to take 20 wickets and this pitch it's looking like a draw.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (December 26, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

@goutamaniad, I understand your frustration at the very ordinary wicket served up for the Test Match in Durban, but I honestly think you are way off the mark suggesting the BCCI has had a hand in it by exerting undue influence. It just seems groundsmen around the world delight in serving up tracks that are dry and flat, and basically are a batsman's paradise for three or four days, then later on crumble a bit and take spin, which I don't have a problem with in the sub continent as that's how its always been. But when these decks are being presented in England, South Africa and Australia, questions need to be asked. Thankfully in Australia, particularly this season an effort seems to have been made to restore the pitches to their traditional character, Brisbane seams around, Perth has bounce and Sydney will invariably spin. It becomes a worry when you play in Durban and if you didn't know better you could be watching a game from Eden Gardens.

Posted by vivkr on (December 26, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

I really don't see India winning this game, unless the wicket should start turning like hell in the last 2 days. What was really disappointing was the bowling in the last Test. Mind you, the Indian quicks put their backs into it, but there wasn't the kind of fire that Dale Steyn (even if wicketless) would spew.

When you have 450 to bowl with, you spew fire, make the batsmen wish they were happily in the pavilion. We hardly saw any bouncers. And it was SA that went overcautious when they could have won it. One needs to take 20 wickets to win a Test and our attack for all its merits (much improved though it may be) doesn't look like managing the feat.

This team is the best we have sent to SA but we need 1-2 more quicks, and real quicks that can make life hell for the batsmen. Someone like a Shoaib Akthar or a Brett Lee.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 26, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

Well, well, well. Steyn going at 4.40 after 10 overs. No question he has been a good bowler for a while now, but he just hasn't been up to scratch for the past year if we are honest.

I think it's fair to say these new young Indian players are going to be very annoying to play against now. They don't look troubled at all, Pujara is a gun, Kohli is a gun, Rohit looks good so does Rahane, Dhawan is a gun. If they can cobble together a decent attack they are going to be very heard to beat, home and away.

Posted by Captain_Tuk_Tuk on (December 26, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

Well a flat track for a Test match nothing is more boring than that.

Posted by partyanimal on (December 26, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

SA bring the part time baler to break this partnership don't let them settle down those batsmen.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

looks like a batting platter!!!!

Posted by Fezz on (December 26, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Why does SA keep dishing out slow, low pitches to India ? There is no movement, no bounce whatsoever in this pitch. This is more like playing in sub-continent. So much talk before the series from SA coach about preparing pitches with bounce and movement, but in reality it is completely different. SA will lose this series because of poor organisation of this tour

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

good to see Jadeja in place of liability Ashwin..Ashwin hasn't done anything apart from taking wickets against lowly ranked New Zealand,West Indies and inexperienced Australians at home.He struggled against England at home last year,struggled in Australia and struggled in South Africa too.Even Bailey and co. took him to cleaners in recent odi series.If he could have taken atleast two wickets on the last day at Wanderers India could have been leading the test series 1-0

Posted by the_blue_android on (December 26, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

As per some SA fans, I thought they were gonna blow India away, whatever happened?

Posted by anvesh4444 on (December 26, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

SA bowlers better play school cricket in India to learn how to bowl after 1st 20 overs and get reverse swing

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 26, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

Gosh; won't you Gambhir supporters stop wailing? Last time down here Gambhir scored lucky fifties, in England failed badly and in Aus failed in tests but kept his place with lucky fifties. I say lucky because he looked like he could get out any time with balls flying near fielders all the time. He doesn't have the technique to deal with good fast bowling. Please let Dhawan have a run for more tests. He is a good player.

Posted by Ali_Chaudhary on (December 26, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

interesting choice of wicket given to India. are saffies afraid of loss? no grass. very unlike durban wicket. Looks SA has already lost.

Posted by the_blue_android on (December 26, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

@ goutamaniad - Only one word can be used to describe people like you who say BCCI has arm twisted CSA to prepare pitches for them. Delusional. It's simple that the SA bowling attack has been shown to be toothless against an extremely strong young Indian batting line up and you guys are having trouble acknowledging that. I understand it's embarrassing and hard to stomach that your so called best attack in the world is being taken apart by a bunch of 25 yr old kids from the sub-continent. I bet even a 3-0 win in SA will not convince you that an Indian team could be good in SA conditions. If there is one thing SA fans are good at, that's excuses and I expect plenty over the next 4 days.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

This series could be the unveiling of a great Indian team.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

Congratulations Vijay.......you've done the hardwork.. now its time to cash in... I was one of the many that had doubts on you skill & temperament...and wondered if it is the CSK tag that got you into the team.....

but so far you've answered your critics...Keep up the good work... good signs

Posted by byc89 on (December 26, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

Gambhir can bring some much needed experience in the Indian team especially in overseas tours for India but please don't write off Dhawan so early in his carrier as he has played just 5 test matches. Also, lets not forget that he is playing against the best attack in the world in their own backyard. Even then, he made 28 runs today.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

dont worry guys. jadeja is a combined feature of all the best spinners SA has ever prducd

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

sikar has to proove that he is capable of delivering overseas

Posted by cricketstarbest on (December 26, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Pujara is set and looking for big score and no bowler can take his wicket now. Vijay is also playing well. With Kohli yet to come, bowlers will have nightmare today. India in drivers seat to win this match and series. Come on India, defeat Proteas.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

India 100/1 now. Lol..batting paradise. Thanks to Kallis for his announcement and to the 20+ year old Indian kids who gave SA the scare of their lives at Wanderers.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

I think batter choice Will be Gambhir in place of Dhawal, Dhawal is just ODI player not test match. Selection of Rohit is right since he prove his existence against WI.

Posted by unbiased_referee on (December 26, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

It's still early days to brand Ashwin as "ineffective" bowler overseas, where he's taken mere 9 wkts in 7 inns[as opposed to 95 wkts in 30 inns at home]. But looking at the records of his predecessors e.g. Harbhajan Singh and Kumble, whose overseas record is so remarkably "even" with home one, it's fair to comment that Ashwin will have to start doing well on tours soon if he has to fill the void, especially with Harbhajan not likely to tour too much!

Posted by tom120 on (December 26, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

I am stunned. Why would you make a slower track in the first place? At J'berg Indian batters did well, here they'll do even better. The SA pace attack doesn't look good. You have to make things happen and ask batsmen questions regularly, despite the nature of the pitch. Look at Harris, Siddle and Mitch bowling aggressively and with a plan on good batting pitches and taking wickets. I don't think English batters are bad. Aussie bowlers are bowling very aggressively and the same aggression lacks in SA. One more thing SA bowlers are not getting the ball back into the India batters, thus they could leave the ball comfortably as they know the balls are getting back in. Its a shame that a very mediocre batter like Vijay, whose feet don't move is able to play for such a long time. Need of introspection for SA bowlers.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

jadeja can hold up one end tight but can't pick up wickets unless the pitch is a real turner... btw even ashwin bowled tight in the first test... he was easily the most economical bowler on display from either side and he looks much comfortable against pace as against jadeja who keeps getting worked over by quality pace.. some people are asking why rohit wasn't dropped and I'm amazed! guys let us at least decide that we are going to have a fixed no.3 4 and 5 ! rahane has rightly been retained but I'm a bit worried whether the jaddu gamble will succeed... it might be a grand success for all we know! good luck India !

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa - Considering SA's performance in Durban so far, maybe they chose to change the pitch to improve their fortunes and it has nothing to do with India or BCCI, which by the way is a ridiculous claim and seems like search for an excuse

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Either pujara is early into his shot.. or the ball held up a little bit...

Anyways Pujara needs to relax a bit... hopefully there was not any trash talk about him scoring slowly from the powers that be...

Posted by byc89 on (December 26, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Lets hope that only the better team wins this match. I am also little worried about Morkel. He is an asset for SA. God forgive but if he gets injured during the five day match, then SA might come under severe pressure against Australia tour which is just around the corner. SA will already be short of one gem in form of Kallis and i don't think they would like to loose Morkel to injury.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Had my own questions about Vijay's technique and adaptability in these conditions.....so far he has answered most of them....

Plays and misses are part of the game... what we need is someone who can hold up one end..grind.. and tire the opposition fast bowlers... Vijay did it way better than Dhawan... and hopefully will reap the rewards for his hardwork...in this match....

I am also anti-CSK, but when players try to the best of their ability and prove their worth in the limited chances they get at this highest level... I will support them...like Vijay...

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

@Vinay : How many matches have Vijay, Dhawan and Rohit played together in ODIs? I am sure one failure will see Vijay (like Ashwin) out of the playing eleven while Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will continue to be persisted with because of the talent!! they possess. For me, application, grit and patience in the interest of the team is any day better than just talent without application.

I would have gone with Jadeja in place of Rohit (and not Ashwin) as both Ashwin and Jadeja put together will better Rohit's contribution (Hope Rohit proves me wrong in this innings at least and justifies his talent which all of us believe he has) where we would have had 5 frontline bowlers(ideal mix of 3 fast bowlers and 2 spinners), 6 specialist batsmen (including Dhoni) including 2 all-rounders in Ashwin and Jadeja. This will obviously not happen as Rohit and, now, Dhawan and Jadeja are blue-eyed boys of the national and touring selection committees.

Posted by StreetView on (December 26, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

@spot_on. You are spot on man. :P Even now some people want vijay dropped just because he plays for CSK. Also I think on this track two spinners - Ashwin & Jadeja should have been picked by sacrificing one batsmen. India might have to bowl long spells with just 4 bowlers!

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 26, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

we are going to miss tahir's full tosses and its going to be hard work, i thought it was christmas. some freebies please :)

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@truecricfan boy thats some optimism..plz wake up from your dream.i am indian too and hoping for an indian win but you are flying in clouds :p

Posted by satzzz on (December 26, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Dhoni is not a man who will drop a player based on just 1 match. He would've opted for Jaddu thinking about the south african middle order run machines Kallis, Amla, AB and Faf are all right handed batsmen. He always preferred attacking a batsman with the ball leaving the bat than coming in. I still have a feel that Jadeja could've been drafted in ahead of Rohit instead of Ashwin. Ashwin looked comfortable with the bat as well. Imagine Ashwin and Jadeja bowling in tandem on the 4th innings pitch. This would've been our best bet on winning the series in South Africa.

Posted by yuvi_gladiator on (December 26, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

SA bowlers look tired and toothless, this is in SA. indian batting is just grinding them down, i expect more from the so called number 1 bowling attack in the world. they look average to me, no surprise SRT scored 200 in odis against the same attack. in subcontinent these bowlers will be thrashed all day, they are not even green track bullies :)

Posted by truecric_fan on (December 26, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

SA bowling has no sting. I can see India pile 550+ before declaring on this batting paradise. Good toss to win for India. SA may end up loosing by an innings.

Posted by spot_on on (December 26, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

Jaddu is a foxy bowler and Saffas don't like surprises... Let's see how they bat on Day2...

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (December 26, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

@TommyTuckerSaffa: Wanderers was a flat pitch? Then would you care to explain why the 1st innings scores were low? Its only in the last 2 days when the pitch lost its zip and flattened out. After all you got the world's #1 and #2 bowlers in the world, if they couldn't pick up wickets in a heap, Indians would have played them well, don't they? Or if they only need a green top to perform, they don't deserve the hype and praise they get.

Posted by SamRoy on (December 26, 2013, 10:07 GMT)

I am worried with our ability to take 20 protea wkts. Ishant and zak will be tired and there was no threat whatsoever from ashwin, zak and Ishant on last day of 1st test. Very happy with Jadeja's selection but ideally Ishant and zak should have been replaced by umesh and bhuvi for this test. India needs fresh legs to take 20 protea wkts.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

Ashwin's bowling always fails in Aus or SAf conditions. Thank God he has been dropped. If he wants to play as a batsman allrounder, Ashwin will need to bat at 6 and do well as a batsman. As a bowler, he has never been effective outside India, and even in India against Oz, Jadeja had a better strike rate and average than him. @bhushanB, Ojha failed completely in that home series. Whenever they bowled in the same innings against the same opposition on the same pitch, Jadeja outbowled Ojha. In ODIs Dhawan & Rohit have performed on difficult wickets, much, much more than Vijay ever has. Vijay is unproven on fast wickets as a batsman.

Posted by ansram on (December 26, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Jadeja is no match for Ashwin with the bat or the ball, but I still welcome this move for this test. Ashwin was pretty ineffective at the Wanderers and was struggling to beat the bat on day five, leave alone taking a wicket. No point giving another chance to such an out of sorts Ashwin on this tour.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Dhawan should have scored a hundred

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Little surprised to see Pujara finding fielders on some of the hit-me kind of balls.. he usually is very good at finding gaps...

Little under pressure to maintain the high expectations.. and playing with a tighter grip or what...?

Guys, lets not put undue pressure on Pujara... let him evolve...

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa Any ideas why we did not get a green "180+" all out pitch in this series?

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 26, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

@bhushanB I said Wanders was flat pitch and not a green '180 all out' pitch, which was accurate considering the World Record Chase was almost achieved...

This Durban wicket has also been 'slowed down' for some reason. There is more grass on it than usual (dry grass) . The track looks good for batting.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Vijay play and miss is reminding me of the countless play and misses of Smith, Peterson and Faf. How tiring was it to watch Smith, Peterson and Faf in the last match.

Posted by spot_on on (December 26, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Does somebody else think that Vijay is doing a better work here than Dhoni,Dhawan,Rohit et al.. Jeez I wouldn't wanna sack this guy.. He is doing a Jaffer like task for India.. A conservative opener.. That's what we need now. A Langer-like guy. Many wants him to be gotten rid off because he plays for CSK. Your attitude sucks lads..

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

Barring some miracle and terrible misfortune, this is a triple ton pitch for Pujara, a double ton pitch for Kohli and an innings defeat in-store for SA. Wait and watch. India missed a trick by not picking Ojha. I hope Jadeja plays some role in this match. Dhoni........what a shame for not picking your best left arm spinner on this sub-continentish wicket against spin bunnies SA!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Guys, it's very safe to say that Pujara is in a class of his own. Feel sorry for Vijay. He looks several classes below Pujara. I'm watching Pujara very very closely and his footwork, judgement of line, length, pace and movement is just mind blowing. Surreal. He is indeed Rahul Dravid v2.0. Pujara is presently the best batsman on this planet by a distance. Kohli is second and Amla, AB are a distant third and fourth in whichever way Proteas want to put them. Clarke is also there with Amla and AB to fight for those middling spots. But Pujara, my word, is just in a class of his own.

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (December 26, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Hope Kallis finishes on a strong note! One of the greatest players of the last 20 years! Also, huge error leaving out Tahir. How can he ever bowl consistently if he doesn't play consistently???

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Dravid is surely surprised and disappionted and could not explain why ojha is not chosen...

He did his best....by calling Ojha a front line spinner... and IND decision to go with Jadeja is because they are unsure of their batting.....

REALLY after having a first innings lead, and then scoring 400+ in the first test, with 6 specialist batsmen.. IND could not afford to pick its front line spinner....

Anyways... THANKS DRAVID... for agreeing with our view on Ojha being a front line spinner and a better bowling option than Jadeja

Posted by Vivfan on (December 26, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

Dhawan is the rebirth of Sehwag, a walking wicket, flat track bully. Except Sehwag doesnt have such an awesome 17th century mustache Haha.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft

Dhawan missed out.. but I doubt if Rohit/Jadeja would miss out on such a wicket.... They surely know how to make the hay while the sun (Dhoni) shines.....

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

india dropping ashwin is a bad decision . With spinning track and we all know ashwin is better batsman as well india should have dropped rohit or rahane and would have played both ashwin and jadeja to strengthen spin bowling departments . Pacers are doing well job . They should realise that matches are won by bolwers not batsmen .

Posted by starincricket on (December 26, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

it looks india did in the reverse way.. jadeja could have played in 1st test and ashwin should have played in 2nd test according to the pitch conditions.. considering ashwin's batting form,he shd have picked for..

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

Vijay play and misses reminding me of the way Smith, Peterson batted and then the way Faf repeatedly got hit, edged low, high over slips and whatnot and beaten the whole day. Yes, I can understand SA fans getting tired of this play and miss by Vijay just the way Indians getting tired of almost all the SA batsmen barring Amla and to some extent AB. All other SA batsmen are simple play miss hit and giggle kind of batsmen.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

Sorry to strongly disagree with the following statement Ojha just missed it because Jadeja can bat a bit

This is a TEST You have 6 specialist batsmen..and if you are still looking for the bowler coming at No.8 to bat after Dhoni...... then it is pathetic..

Going in with just 4 bowlers... all 4 needs to be specialist bowlers.....

Posted by Greatest_Game on (December 26, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

And again Dhawan is the first to go in a classic dismissal, wafting at a delivery outside of off stump. While he looked fluent, there is no doubt that he is no international test batsman yet. No patience, can't play the short ball, especially at real pace with bounce when he is clearly uncomfortable, and has no idea what to do. He completely failed in the ODIs too. Clearly a low bounce, flat track specialist.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (December 26, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

Dhawan fails again. Sure Rohit would fail again. Murali doen't really look good. Dhoni looked very bad last time. Rahane requires a lot of effort. Only Kohli and Pujara are capable to deal with SA.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 26, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

getting fedup with watching Vijay play and miss all morning.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

I think the only way Ojha can get a decent long run in the team is if that ridiculous weird technique Dhoni retires. This is such a shame. Feel very sorry for Ojha. If he can't get a chance on this kind of a track overseas, then he'll never get it anywhere else. He would have been a nightmare, with his loop, drift and breaking away after pitching, to the right handers.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

India needs to bat very well in the first innings.. as the pitch looks batting friendly... if they do not manage to play long... they risk SA batting only once.....

Go India Go...

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

Good job Morne... this is the kind of thinking bowling I wanted to see on day-5 of the first test.... change the bowling ends, change the over the wicket, round the wicket..... bowl from close of the wicket, from wide of the wicket.... put a 7-2 field, bounce, york... try something different.... when the usual does not work...

This morning IND are not at all troubled by the normal line/length of Phil, pace of steyn, and even successfully negotiated Morne's bounce.....

and what did he do... bowl round the wicket... and got Dhawan... brilliant... also the timing of the change is imp, right after drinks... brilliant stuff...

Posted by VinodGupte on (December 26, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

dhawan is an indian highway bully. can score 100s of runs on the national highways of baroda, delhi, bangalore, mumbai and kolkata but can't score even a 30 outside. gambhir should be selected for the NZ tour where he played an epic innings in 2009.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

Dhawan keeps fishing outside the off-stump and keeps getting caught in the slip cordon. What's up with him? How hard is it to play with soft hands or shoulder arms? I donno.....

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

I do not mind Jadeja getting a chance when Ojha the front line left hand bowler is not available... but sadly it is the otherway around....

A batsman or bowler needs the captain's confidence to put in his best effort.. otherwise.. if they are fighting for their place all the time, they will just try to play safe.....for a bowler..he may just try to contain the runs, or bowl negative lines...

anyways... goodluck Jadeja....

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 26, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

Dharwan should only bat in India. Its much better for his average.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

@bhushanB, great commentary there from you mate. Cheers! Doff my hat to you regarding the travails of Ojha. Dhoni has excuses to rope-in his blue-eyed boys under some pretext. It beggars belief that Jadeja is a better spinner than Ashwin. When there are so many righties in SA team on a sub-continentish wicket, why wouldn't you take in Ojha - your last man of the match in India. It's such a shame. The morale and spirits must be taking such a beating for Ojha. Really sorry for him. They could have dropped Nohit Sharma and taken Ojha with no other changes. Ashwin shouldn't have been dropped. India has gone into this match with only 3 bowlers.

CSA has its tail between its legs looking at the way India batted on the grass-bowl and prepared a pitch with just a little bit of grass. BTW, Dhawan just gone as I'm typing this.

Posted by Bokesh on (December 26, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

Given this wicket,I wonder if dropping Ashwin and picking up Jadeja would be a smart move. 13 overs gone and India is already 40, with Steyn and Co. unable to make any dent. This match would also go up to 5th day.

Posted by VenkyN on (December 26, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

It would have been a positive move to drop Rohit, Rahane or Dhawan instead of Ashwin for Jadeja. But of course, it's being too unrealistic to expect Dhoni to make a positive move like that.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

No.1 trundler aka philander in the world comes back into the attack. Steyn bowled 6 overs since morning and is taken off. Lol....

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

@Ashish Goyal

I doubt luck has to do anything with Jadeja's inclusion.... and for that matter Ashwin is no muck with that LUCK....

If anything Ojha is the un-LUCKY one, and will have to wait until Dhoni retires, to find a consistent run in the side, one that he deserves... hopefully he wont be into his 30s by then.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

Looks to be a brave and sensible decision on Jadeja. If he had been on the 1st Test surely India would have won the match beacuse he can take wickets just with natural variations and flight which Ashwin doesn't seems to have.

Ojha just missed it because Jadeja can bat a bit. Fingers crossed though on his performance!!!

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

Wanted to see another green top lawn to test the patience, skill and adaptability of IND batsmen....see if they learnt anything yet....

Disappointed.. pitch does not look that green, as you would expect in SA...

Any news on that?

Posted by DhairyBoghani on (December 26, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

We can't tell who is better between aswin & Jadeja because they both unplayable in India. But aswin make only 9 wicket at avg over 60 on overseas pitches. and Jadeja hadn't play any. So let Jadeja play one or two game. than we can decide who is better. But aswin is like harbhajan who played well in india but didn't count great overseas. Jadeja is like Kumble who don't depend on pitch or turn, just bowl with deciplene & so same succes at overseas.

But why not bhuvi against tired & aged Zaheer to watch how much he can play on green pitch.

Posted by Vivfan on (December 26, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

Flat track in Durban. Indian players & fans must be licking their lips.

Posted by dganger on (December 26, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

Jadeja a test bowler??? really??? come onnnnnn

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

Good decision by dhoni to drop over rated Ashwin. He can perform only in IPL. We need bowler and not a batsmen who can bowl a bit. He is not to be blamed for bad performance , it's just that he is not good enough for test cricket overseas.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

Lot of lefties, Ashwin plays... lot of righties, Jadeja plays....

So it has to be lot of lefties and Jadeja has to get injured.. for Ojha to get a chance... ...as simple as that...I guess

Another prospect sidelined

Wonder how these guys keep up with spirits...with the way they are treated .... Rahane, Ojha etc...

Already saw some asking to leave out Rahane.....after the way he battled in the first innings.... did not hear much about Rohit though... surprising...

Posted by dganger on (December 26, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

Cant believe India is playing with 3 n half bowlers, have taken Jadeja in place of Ashwin???? Give me a break..India should have dropped .Rohit instead

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

What does Ojha has to do, to get into the team? He was previously sidelined when in his peak, pointing the no.of left hand batsmen in the opposition team. Now whats the reason? Managed 10 wickets in his last test... what more do you want?

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Need some analysis on the pitch... joined little late to live TV (missed the pitch report and the first 5 balls)....

Is there any grass on the pitch...has it been shaven off intentionally?

Posted by fairfan70 on (December 26, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Both teams look very strong on paper. Will the match go to 5th day again?

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

Jadeja is bounded with luck but ashwin is not, how jadeja can be treated as lead spinner ahead of ashwin is beyond my level of understanding, is dhoni living in a fools paradise or what? It should be ojha who must be getting this chance, i am hoping and praying for team india that this should not be a blunder decision by dhoni.

Posted by bhushanB on (December 26, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Why no Ojha....anyone any ideas?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Why is there such a thin attendance even on a holiday? What's happening to test cricket followers in SA? Would love to know the attendance numbers for today.

Posted by sss_m19 on (December 26, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

So, finally dh oni has found a way to bring in jadeja into test as we'll! If he is not established within dhoni's period,then it is very difficult for him to be in India team!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (December 26, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

Lol...SA didn't have the guts to prepare a grass-bowl anymore. Learnt their lessons at Wanderers. They thought they just needed to turn-up and order Indians to roll-over by the end of the third day. And to think that they couldn't win even by the end of the 5th day in and of itself is the biggest positive for India. Go India go...this match will be won by India. It is also possible that CSA prepared this kind of a track to facilitate a century for the departing Kallis. Wonder how Jadeja is a better batsman or bowler than Ashwin. India has gone into this match with only 3 main bowlers. Let's see if SA can beat this depleted Indian attack.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

unexpected but welcome decision to replace ashwin with jadeja. he was no where closer to take a wicket in the last match

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

can dis gamble work for mr gambler.. a big question,,,,,....

Posted by balaji28 on (December 26, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Horrible decision by dhoni to drop ashwin as kingsmead wicket favours off spinners very much as in the past rangana herath took a 9 wicket haul in this pitch. Ashwin's exclusion may hamper team's chance of winning this match.rahane should have been dropped instead of ashwin so that spin combo of ashwin and jaddu could have partnered excellently well.Biggest joke of the match is dhoni himself could have dropped himself like what mike deness had done during ashes series in the past due to lack of poor form.Biggest joke of the day is world number 1 allrounder ashwin is dropped without any reason why not rahane or rohit sharma being shown the door instead of ashwin

Posted by humi_cric on (December 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Looks like a v subcontinent type pitch. India should take full advantage of this. Good luck to both teams.

Posted by Arrow011 on (December 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

What a bad decision by Dhoni to drop Ashwin, he could have played instead of Ajinkya or the minnow basher Rohit. Jadeja is always welcome in the 11. This 4 bowlers theory does not work, India needs 5 bowlers always.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

no way.. Ashwin can bat better than jadeja and the last match was one odd match.. ashwin has already proven critics wrong with his bat.. give him time he'll prove them wrong with ball too.

Posted by wapuser on (December 26, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

Gud decision by dhoni of bringin jadeja in for ashwin..on any givn day jadeja has got bettr control n discipline than ashwin which is d need in overseas conditions..his wicket to wicket line can surely contain more runs than ashwin's bowling..hd jadeja been in ashwins place in d wanderers test he would hv surely picked a wicket or two..

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

It was bound to happen with Ashwin,dey can't play both spinners and at times Jadeja is a shade quicker and a left arm spinner.....but sad part is Tahir not playing.

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

At last ashwin was shown the door. Selecting an additional seamer would have been better than playing jadeja

Posted by   on (December 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

openers... should play watchfully..till the first session..so that they can dominate in next session

Posted by Cricket_Man on (December 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

Surely SA looked a little under-cooked in the last test probably due to the fact that they haven't played enough test matches in the past 6 months. I know it for a fact that SA would come all guns blazing in this test. SA would win this Test.

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