India have made a winning start to the Test series, though the win was not as easy as many were expecting. The caravan now moves to Pune.
The two teams have met each other 37 times in Tests. South Africa have the upper hand here having won 15 of these encounters to India’s 12. 10 have ended in a draw. In the last five Tests, India have the lead having won three of them.
In India the story is completely in the hosts’ favour. India have won four of the last five encounters with one ending in a draw.
Ground detail and team combination
There has been only one Test played at this venue, where the spinners had a massive say. 31 of the 40 wickets fell in that Test to spinners at a strike rate of 38.1 and average of 19.3. Having said that, pacers haven’t been too shabby either. They might have just returned nine wickets in the game but managed it at an average of 17.8 and strike-rate of 39.3.
In the last three ODIs here, pace has been the way to go. Out of the 45 wickets to fall, 32 were picked up by pacers at an average of 32.5 and strike-rate of 32.6 while spinners managed just 13 scalps averaging 50.1 and a strike-rate of 54.4.
However, judging by how the way the first Test panned out, it is likely that spinners will once again attract purchase from the surface in Pune though the abrasive nature and unevenness might bring in the pacers into play as well equally.
Left-arm spinners were the most effective breed at this venue in the Test played here back in 2017. They ended up picking up 17 wickets at an average of 13 and strike-rate of 30.1.
India have Ravindra Jadeja in their side who is coming into the second Test in tremendous form. The hosts also have Kuldeep Yadav, but might not want to tinker too much with a winning combination. South Africa have two left-arm tweakers in their setup in Keshav Maharaj and Senuran Muthusamy. Both looked a bit off the boil in the first Test and will want to prove their worth in Pune.
Batting hasn’t always been easy on this surface as the numbers suggest so a bowler-heavy setup might be the way to go for your team.
A bowling average of 26.28, batting average of 50.44 – Ravindra Jadeja has come into his own since the start of 2018, even at times upstaging R Ashwin, the premier spinner in the side.
Jadeja comes into the second Test high on confidence having become the quickest left-arm bowler to complete 200 wickets in Test cricket. He was instrumental in Visakhapatnam and on a surface which has historically favoured left-arm spinners, Jadeja will once again be expected to deliver the goods for his team both with bat and ball.
Mayank Agarwal has had a sparkling start to his Test career. From scoring a feisty 76 in his debut innings at MCG to a double-ton in Vizag, Agarwal has in a very short span of time made quite a name for himself.
An important trait that will help him in Pune is his effective handling of pace and spin in equal measure. He averages 65.33 against pace while against spin his average reads an equally impressive 60.5. His strike-rate also shoots up to 65.05 against spin as compared to 42.52 against pace.
An opener’s job is never easy but Agarwal has in his short career shown he has the potential.
Faf du Plessis had a woeful time of it the last time he was in India. He has since, however, gained confidence and remains a key member in the South African unit. Du Plessis has been in excellent form in 2019. He already has three fifties and a century this year in just four games and a 55 in the first Test will give him the much-needed boost.
Scoring runs has never been easy on the Pune surface and in what is an inexperienced lineup, it is down to du Plessis to show the rest of the team the way.
Having not played any international cricket at all this year, R Ashwin made a grand comeback returning eight wickets in Visakhapatnam. During the process, he also became the joint-quickest to 350 wickets in Tests. While Ashwin’s credentials overseas can be debated all day long, there is no doubt that the off-spinner is a beast in home conditions.
He is the leading wicket-taker in Tests in India since 2017 with 61 wickets in 12 games at 25.14 to his name and will definitely look to increase that tally in Pune.
The weather in the lead up to the second Test has been pretty damp. There is scattered rain forecast on all five days of the Test with the temperature estimated to hover around the 31-degree mark on average.
Suggested FanFight Team
Dean Elgar, Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma (vc), Virat Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Senuran Muthusamy, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin (c), Keshav Maharaj, Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada