JP Duminy says South Africa’s game plan against India’s spinners will hold the key to winning the third Test in Nagpur, which starts on Wednesday.
The threat of India’s spinners and South Africa’s poor shot selection against them have been one of the main talking points of the series so far and little has changed as Duminy and his teammates prepare to go into a must-win game after going 1-0 behind with two Tests to play.
‘I haven’t seen the wicket, but the expectancy is it will turn. The guys will obviously prepare accordingly,’ Duminy said.
‘We realise India’s strength lies in their spin. There’s no point in trying to deny that. I think it’s about facing that head-on and having a game-plan against it. The psyche is pretty good at the moment in the change room. We know it’s a tough challenge for us but we also know that we have the capability to face those challenges.
‘We’ve done it before in the past. We’ve come here and played well in all formats. There’s two more Tests to play and still a long way to go in this series so it’s important for us to start off well on Wednesday.’
Asked specifically about the threat of Ravi Ashwin’s off-spin, Duminy acknowledged that he was a quality bowler.
‘You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Certainly over the last year he has been the most exceptional bowler in international cricket I would say in terms of spinners.
‘But I also think he’s played in conditions that have suited him. To his credit, you’ve still got to take the wickets. Yes, we will definitely give him the respect he deserves. He deserves a lot of respect for the performances he has put in, but we don’t focus too much on the opposition.
‘We need to focus on how we are going to negate that and how we are going to challenge ourselves against that. That’s the most important thing for us; it’s not to play the person but to play the ball. If we focus solely on that we give ourself the best chance of performing. To come out of this series with a series win is going to be a tough ask, but we know we can do it. We just have to take it day by day, session by session.’
Duminy brushed away fears that the hand injury he recovered from to play in the second Test will have an impact on his bowling in the rest of the series. The all-rounder had stitches removed after cutting his hand in the ODI series.
‘My bowling won’t be affected by my injury, it’s more the fielding and the contact with the ball, but I’ll have protection for that,’ he said.
‘There’s always added pressure on me to contribute with the ball, not just here in India. I think it’s more my own expectation on myself because I pride myself on my performance. So I want to make sure I’m contributing whether it’s turning or not. I don’t think the conditions makes a difference in my expectation of myself.’
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