India Today Live Update

Second Test between India and SA 2024: Bowlers must step up as India hopes to draw the series at Cape Town

<p>When the second Test begins in Cape Town on Wednesday, India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, will have to unleash the champion strategist that he is capable of as his team looks to level the score against South Africa and maintain its relevance in the World Championship points standings.</p>
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<p>The return of Ravindra Jadeja, India’s “Most Valuable Player” in all forms, will provide the necessary middle-order batting balance and solid overs with the venerable Kookaburra, but the troubled team’s reaction will be determined by the captain’s selection of the third and fourth place merchants.</p>
<p>Who: Third Test between South Africa and India</p>
<p>When: January 3, 4, and 5, 2024</p>
<p>Where: Cape Town’s Newlands</p>
<p>Time of start: 1:30 PM IST</p>
<p>As harsh as it may seem, Rohit is the one who is most aware that Shardul Thakur’s patchy skill would not earn him much most of the time and that Prasidh Krishna is a little underdeveloped to handle the whims of Test cricket.</p>
<p>However, Shardul’s presence provides the team an assumption of batting depth on paper, with three top-order batsmen—Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer—compounding the team’s issues with their incompetence when dealing with the onslaught of bouncers.</p>
<p>With the exception of Virat Kohli in the second essay and KL Rahul in the first, none of the Indian hitters were able to handle the increased bounce and lateral movement at Centurion.</p>
<p>India will be anxious to win at the gorgeous cricket venue where they have lost four of their last six matches. India has one defeat and one tie in three Tests in the current World Test Championship cycle.</p>
<p>Not exactly nice to Rohit, who is still trying to get over India’s World Cup final failure, the past six weeks of 2023 have been.</p>
<p>The two-and-a-half-day loss at Centurion in the lead-up to the New Year has added shame to that sad love tale between Rohit and the final. After an innings and thirty-two run loss, the captain looked as vulnerable strategically as his batters and bowlers were revealed to be technically incompetent.</p>
<p>There’s not much that could top a victory at the Newlands field in 2024, especially with Table Mountain providing such a gorgeous background.</p>
<p>However, South Africa has the advantage over India at this location, and Dean Elgar—who led the team in his last Test match—wouldn’t want Rohit to follow Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the second skipper to at least tie a Test series in the Rainbow Nation.</p>
<p>At Newlands, where temperatures are expected to reach 33 or 34 degrees, the toss will be vital because, despite some grass, the surface will be ideal for batting and provide little assistance for spinners on either side.</p>
<p>Retaining Ravichandran Ashwin would be imprudent considering that Jadeja is eligible and ready for selection.</p>
<p>The most important choice Rohit will have to make as captain is whether to stick with his specialist batsmen and start Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan in favor of Shardul and Prasidh.</p>
<p>With just one Test (played by Mukesh) under their belts, there’s no assurance the two rookies will pull any surprises. However, their first-class cricketing expertise may make them more of a threat to win for the captain.</p>
<p>Avesh may be the quintessential “hit-the-deck” bowler, able to put the finishing touches on hard lengths and extract steep bounce, while Mukesh has bowled longer periods and is undoubtedly more successful than Shardul.</p>
<p>However, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Keegan Petersen, and David Bedingham are a formidable force on a surface that becomes better with time for batting.</p>
<p>The new ball-overs will be critical to countering them. Jasprit Bumrah would hope that the mountains are covered in a proper layer of cloud known as “Table Cloth” and that his luck would be better than it was at Centurion when he unsuccessfully beat the bat 26 times in his first period.</p>
<p>The captain would also have to advise “Rohit the batter” to get over his fear of being bowled out if the bowlers were to step up.</p>
<p>Even though Rohit is an obsessive hooker and short ball puller, he understands deep down that his one career Test hundred in SENA nations over a ten-year period is not a true representation of his ability.</p>
<p>The incomparable Kagiso Rabada has turned him into his rabbit, and the Indian captain must outwit the rising superstar.</p>
<p>The Indian captain and his teammates won’t have an easy time dealing with Lungi Ngidi’s probing inquiries.</p>
<p>The youthful Nandre Burger would also be available to exploit the traditionally weak Indian batting lineup’s strategy against left-farmers. He would be slinging a fuller one over the line every now and then while bowling in and around the rib cage.</p>
<p>The final Test saw Virat Kohli in dominant form for both of its innings. Rabada gave him a beauty in the first essay, and he ran out of companions on his way to his 76 in the second.</p>
<p>Still, there are a lot of unanswered issues for a cautious Indian squad, and the sooner its skipper receives the answers, the better.</p>
<p><strong>Complete Squads</strong></p>
<p>India’s squad includes skipper Rohit Sharma, Yashashvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kona Bharat, and Abhimanyu Easwaran.</p>
<p>The following players represent South Africa: Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Nandre Burger, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Zubayr Hamza, and Tristan Stubbs. Dean Elgar is appointed captain.</p>

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