- Feb 12, 2010
time for revenge-M.S.Dhoni
after the thrashing in the first odi, india will need to sort out their batting and bowling and come up with a far more inspired performance than they did at durban. It was particularly galling for the indians to be at the receiving end of a 135-run drubbing at the venue in which they had seen a magnificent resurgence in the test series.
After that win, which led to a drawn series and the subsequent victory in the one-off t20 international, the indians would not have expected the start they got in the odi series.
Nothing went right for mahendra singh dhoni's men with both the batting and the bowling leaving much to be desired, after injuries had already rendered a few key men - sehwag, gambhir, praveen kumar, sreesanth - unfit.
Batting has been india's strength but the top order collapsed like a pack of cards to be reduced to 43 for four in the first match, and the team could never really recover from that jolt. The main scoring responsibility will once again rest on sachin tendulkar. He has been in a rich vein of form, and is the best equipped amongst the indians to take the formidable south african bowling attack head-on. Of the other batsmen, virat kohli further boosted his growing credentials with a fighting half-century, but the likes of murali vijay and rohit sharma have to pull out something special if they want to remain in the scheme of things for the world cup. Both have received a few chances, and not made use of them. As for suresh raina and yuvraj singh, both need to rediscover their fluent ways, since when batting well they are unstoppable.
The indians could push kohli or sharma up the order to open the innings instead of murali vijay, thus paving the way for yusuf pathan to be included in the playing xi. Alternately, if vijay is retained, pathan could replace sharma.
Unlike the indians, the south africans put up a clinical show, but they will also have a few areas to work on. The batting looked good to reach a total well in excess of 300, but fell short in the final overs, with the lack of depth in the tail being the main reason for that. This means south africa are very top heavy while batting, and puts the run-scoring responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the top 5 - smith, amla, ingram, ab de villiers and jp duminy.
They responded very well in the first odi, but it remains to be seen if they can consistently do the job for their team in the whole series.
South africa will miss the prolific jacques kallis, who is nursing an injury. The veteran has been a key player in the south african batting line-up and has been more than handy with the ball as well.
South africa's bowling was top-notch in the first odi though, with no room for complaint and each bowler acquitting himself well. The only sore point was johan botha going for plenty of runs, while everyone else had kept things tight. Given that botha is the first-choice spinner and vice-captain, and that the world cup will be played on tracks where at least one spinner will be a must, botha getting back his rhythm will be south africa's top-most priority.
South africa will be the more confident team going into the second odi, but the indians will not be feeling too low, knowing that they are capable of a much better performance.
"i expect them to bounce back. We have to put our foot down in the next match," graeme smith is not underestimating the indian team.
"honestly speaking, these are the four-five fast bowlers we have got. We do not have many options to play with. So we have to back them to do well. Whether they are in match practice or not what is important is that we take care of these bowlers and they should go in the world cup without any injuries," ms dhoni hints that the bowling combination will not be changed in spite of ashish nehra's horror game in the first odi.
India batting first at Jo'burg
Pitch report: Shaun Pollock says there will be some swing on offer. Pollock: "There are cracks but it won't have any effect. There is a decent grass covering but its all dry. Not green. I don't see much activity for the bowlers. The teams batting second will find that the ball comes on better here and good to bat."