South Africa vs India: A Few Thoughts

15 12 2010

By way of proof to show that we haven’t got so involved in the Ashes that we have forgotten about the top of the table clash between South Africa and India, also starting tomorrow, here are a few words on that fascinating subject!

Over the past 15 years or so the record between these two sides in South Africa has resulted in three series wins for the Proteas and only a solitary test victory for India in that period – a record that even the most ardent Indian fan would be forced to admit was fairly one sided.

This time though, with India’s new found confidence as the number one rated nation, they not only feel they have reasonable chance but there are also some well respected judges putting them as slight favourites. As we mentioned a day or two ago, in our opinion this is overstating things a small bit as, with the home advantage taken into consideration, we would have the Proteas slightly ahead.

Regardless of this, the contest we are really looking forward to is the super heavy weight battle between the best opening batsman in the world, Virender Sehwag, versus probably the premier opening attack in cricket. Dale Steyn in particular is a truly world class bowler and probably one of the finest ever produced by South Africa. Comparisons with Allan Donald are certainly warranted.

At the other end you have the tall man of the attack, Morne Morkel, relying on pace and bounce to get his wickets. After a slow start and despite the odd performance in which he struggles with his accuracy, he is a dangerous customer. One of Sehwag’s favourite shots is the upper cut over backward point and, with a proliferation of short rising balls expected, don’t be surprised if Sehwag hits a number of sixes in this arc as well as also being dismissed there on occasions. Either way this is a battle to savour and one in which we are sure that both sides will land their own blows over the course of the series.

Despite concerns over the past couple of years as to the relative strength of India’s bowling attack, there are definite signs that a good fast bowling unit is emerging. In the past South Africa had the advantage so clearly in this department it meant that India, despite their stella batting line up, were at a disadvantage. This closing of the bowling stakes means that playing on hard and bouncy pitches could even back fire on the South Africans.

An interesting point with regard to India’s famous middle order and indeed Sehwag himself is that their records in South Africa are one of the few blemishes on their respective records. In Sehwag and Dravid’s case it is a true blemish with averages of 26 and 33 respectively although in Tendulkar and Laxman’s case it is purely relative. Averages of 41 could hardly be considered a failure yet for both of these superstars it is fair to say they are below the mark you would expect.

All things considered we think the Proteas may just nick this series although they are sure to find it the easy wins they did before.

With the Ashes third test starting tomorrow alongside this absolutely top class contest in South Africa, it is safe to say the Compulsive Hooker is feeling the love for test cricket! Bring it on we say and lets show those mockers of test cricket that the game is in robust health!

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