A first-innings lead will be crucial if South Africa want to stay in the third Test against India.
The Proteas finished day one in Nagpur on 11-2 after bowling India out for 215. SuperSport pundits Ashwell Prince, Eric Simons, Vernon Philander and HD Ackerman were all in agreement that the match is still evenly poised, especially if you only look at the scoreboard.
‘Any sort of lead on that surface will be crucial,’ Ackerman said. ‘If we can’t get past them on the scoreboard I can only see this Test going one way. South Africa need to get a lead. The win of the toss has played too big a part in the outcome of the first and third Tests. That is not great for cricket.
‘If this was a domestic game the pitch would have been reported. It’s not a good cricket pitch because even India’s batsmen have struggled.’
Simons said partnerships were key on day two. ‘We are one big partnership away from putting India under pressure. We have only lost one top order batsman. We must be be positive on Thursday by rotating the strike and not necessarily hitting boundaries.’
Philander, back in South Africa after suffering an ankle injury on tour, lamented the fact that India managed to get more than 200.
‘We’ll be a little bit frustrated in them getting away from us and getting to 215. We’ll have to make the play tomorrow instead of waiting for them by having a positive mindset.’
Prince, also a national selector, said the India’s spinners will be key: ‘I didn’t see any of their batsmen look comfortable on that wicket. They couldn’t transfer the pressure on our bowlers.
‘Ravi Ashwin and AB [De Villiers] hold the key for their teams. India’s spinners bowl less bad balls and over the course of the match that will be the difference. They are more consistent.’