India skipper Kohli welcomes lively Centurion pitch


Watching the batsmen struggle on the bouncy wicket at Newlands, Cape Town, where India lost the opening Test to South Africa by 72 runs, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar didn't hesitate to call the visiting batsmen "lethargic". A surprise omission, though, was that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Rahul could make his way back at the cost of Dhawan and not Vijay, given that the latter still happens to be a more experienced hand given the conditions in South African.

Mohammed Shami disappointed by bowling fully-pitched deliveries which were milked by Markram. We have been in a very good space and we believe we can get them out twice again in this game.

India may feel an unchanged XI would send a strong message of confidence in the XI that ran South Africa close in Cape Town. However, if they do not, du Plessis' men could cause all sort of headaches for India. "But if we play four seamers, he is someone who gets talked about because he has pace and the X-factor, and obviously he bats as well".

Kohli said ahead of the second Test in Centurion: "Before the first Test, no one thought that he should be in the XI, and now suddenly people are looking at the other option".

The irony about Virat Kohli led Indian team's batting in the first test against South Africa was that the top three batsmen faced 187 balls scoring just 76 runs in both innings.

Ravi Shastri, being an awesome coach of the Indian Cricket Team, is leaving no stone unturned in preparing the team for the battle with South Africa.

"The only part where we were a little better than them was that we got a few more runs in the first innings".

The Indian skipper emphasised that team selection was less about individuals but more about "finding the right balance".

Having experienced the conditions in the first Test, the Indian batsmen will be hopeful of giving a better account of themselves. Although Centurion is Du Plessis' home ground, he said the pitch looked unusual.

Proteas skipper Du Plessis said he expected pace and bounce but admitted he was not sure how the pitch would play.

"There is no need to panic as a batting unit, we have played well for a long time - and we have played well away from home as well".

Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was benched in the first Test, may have to wait for another match before getting a game. He was one of India's successes on their last overseas leg of Test cricket, and the main reason for his consistency in varying foreign conditions was that that he left a lot of balls outside the off stump. It is really unfortunate for a player of his class to miss out while he is in a good nick. KL Rahul makes way for Dhawan while Ishant Sharma replaces Bhuvneshwar, to get some extra bounce.