India seek 'intent' to combat SA speed kings

India seek 'intent' to combat SA speed kings

You can't just stand there and take whatever is coming your way and not have intent," Kohli said after his team were beaten by 72 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.

You might get out but it's important to keep coming at the bowler and making them feel, 'if you make an error I am going to score.

With conditions at Centurion again likely to favour fast bowling, the problem for India is not just how they should execute Kohli's strategy -- but who should do it.

No Indian top-order batsman made more than 28 in either innings in Cape Town. The only two scores above 30 were 93 by Hardik Pandya in the first innings and 37 by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second.

Pandya and Ashwin were batting at number seven and eight respectively, which suggests India have enough depth in their batting order -- if their top-order players can get themselves through the new ball.

At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series.

Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan fell to short-pitched deliveries in both innings and there is an argument for Lokesh Rahul to take his place, while Ajinkya Rahane must be a contender to replace Rohit Sharma at number five.

Kohli said the selection for Cape Town was based on form. Rahane had a dismal recent series against Sri Lanka but has shown the ability to score runs away from home.

On India's 2013/14 tour of South Africa Rahane scored 47, 15, 51 not out and 96 in the two Test matches and looked one of the best-equipped Indian batsmen against pace.

South Africa, meanwhile, look set to once again pick a four-pronged pace attack, although they have to replace the injured Dale Steyn.

There are three candidates -- two out-and-out pace specialists in Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi or Chris Morris who has batting skills as well as the ability to bowl at more than 140 kmh.

Both teams showed batting fragility in Cape Town, with India's pace bowlers showing they too could take advantage of helpful conditions.

AB de Villiers' aggression in innings of 65 and 35 was a key factor for South Africa. It is that sort of intent that both teams will be seeking in what promises to be another action-paced Test.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris or Duanne Olivier or Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan or Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

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Gibson wants SA to continue pace barrage

Gibson wants SA to continue pace barrage

Reflecting on South Africa's 72-run win in the first Test at Newlands, Gibson said: "When you are playing at home you play to your strengths and at the moment we have some high-quality fast bowlers.

I'm a very fast bowling-minded kind of coach," said former West Indies player Gibson, explaining why two fast bowlers, Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi, had been added to an already big squad following a series-ending heel injury to Dale Steyn.

Even without Steyn, a pace attack of Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada sent India crashing to 135 all out in the second innings after they had been set a victory target of 208 at Newlands.

Gibson said the balance of the team depended on conditions but added that Centurion, where the second Test starts on Saturday, usually had pace and bounce, which would incline him towards four fast bowlers.

If you want to beat the best team in the world, which India are, then maybe we have to do something slightly different to what we've done in the past," said Gibson. We have to get stuck in and be tough with the bat and the ball. Get in their faces a bit, use our physicality in terms of our pace.

Olivier and Ngidi are specialist fast bowlers, while Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo are both all-rounders who can add to the batting depth of a team whose fragility was exposed when they were bowled out for 130 in the second innings.

Morris is capable of bowling at more than 140kmh, while Phehlukwayo is a medium-pacer.

Phehlukwayo's lack of raw pace could count against him. He will remain in Cape Town when the rest of the squad travel to Centurion on Wednesday in order to play in a domestic one-day match for the Dolphins franchise.

Team spokesperson Lerato Malekutu said Phehlukwayo had not been released from the Test squad but had been given permission to play for his franchise because he had not played in the Test match.

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Steve Smith: the man who hides his genius in plain sight

  • Published in Sports

Steve Smith is no longer vying to be saluted as the best batsman in the world. His challenge is now to be recognised as the second best batsman in history

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog, part of the Sport Network

I was at Lord’s in 2010 to witness Steve Smith’s debut in Australia’s curious Test series against Pakistan hosted by MCC. If yo

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