India vs South Africa | Virat Kohli and Co. Hoping to Correct Pune Blip in Flawless Streak
As action moves to Pune for the second Test between India and South Africa, all eyes will certainly be on Virat Kohli’s men as they will return to the only venue in the country where India have lost a Test match in Kohli’s captaincy.
Since January 2013, India have played 30 Test matches at home and won 24, drawn five and lost only one – against Australia in Pune.
It was Steve Smith’s visiting side which managed to topple India but the hosts did roar back to comfortably win the series 2-1.
But in Pune, Australia aced the spin Test, riding on century by Steve Smith and figures of 12/70 by Steve O’Keefe on a turning track.
Australia elected to bat first and managed to reach 260, thanks to half-century from opener Matt Renshaw and late blitzkrieg from Mitchell Starc who scored a fine 61. Renshaw battled the spinners as well as a stomach bug, which saw him rush off the field 15 minutes before lunch, much to everyone’s amusement.
Renshaw had to retire for a toilet break but then he came back to redeem himself, scoring 68 which proved to be crucial. India simply collapsed and were dismissed for 105 with KL Rahul getting 64 of those.
Smith then ended all hopes of an Indian recovery, smashing a sensational ton in the second innings, which meant India were set an impossible target of 441.
Again, O’Keefe was the hero, replicating his first innings figures of 6/35 as Australia took a 1-0 series lead.
Faf du Plessis and co. will be looking to take some inspiration from Australia’s performance but it will certainly not be an easy task. The key for Proteas will be to bat first and bat big, if they are to have any hopes of causing an upset.
It will also be interesting to see the kind of pitch on offer as the surface for the Test in 2017 was a rank turner and later rated ‘poor’ by ICC.