Your essential guide to the second ODI between the Proteas and India at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
India are No 1 by a few decimals after beating the Proteas by six wickets in Durban – not a good start for South Africa, who need to bounce back in Centurion. The Proteas have struggled in the batting department in the Tests and this carried over into the first ODI. Apart from Du Plessis’ 120, the highest score was 37 from Chris Morris.
The Proteas’ chance of victory has been hampered by injuries to AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. De Villiers should return for the pink-ball ODI at the Wanderers, but Du Plessis has been ruled out for the remainder of the ODI and T20I series. This will put extra pressure on Quinton de Kock’s struggle for form and Aiden Markram’s battle to get settled against India.
Both De Villiers and Du Plessis provide stability and calmness in the middle order but without them, South Africa will be forced into a change.
The biggest news going into matchday was the announcement of Markram as the stand-in captain for the rest of the series, a brave decision by the selectors.
India look settled. Their hunt for a solid No 4 should be over. Ajinkya Rahane proved that the role is perfectly suited for him. All the pressure will be on South Africa who will have to win a minimum of three games to hold on to the No 1 ranking.
The conditions in Centurion should favour South Africa more in Pretoria than it did in Durban, which provided a slow deck that suited India’s three spinners. Ottis Gibson will hope that a bouncy-pacey Centurion wicket will be prepared and not the sub-continental pitch prepared for the second Test.
The deck in Centurion is best suited for batsmen and batting is India’s strength. With De Villiers and Du Plessis missing, the Proteas will need to out-bowl India for their best opportunity to win.
A couple of showers and thunderstorms are expected in Pretoria in the afternoon and evening, so DLS could come into play.
Players to Watch:
The pressure will be on De Kock. The 25-year-old needs a good knock to reignite his inner X factor. The injuries to De Villiers and Du Plessis will add to the need for him to perform. He got off to a good start in Durban before losing his scalp on 34, but a big partnership with Hashim Amla is vital to South Africa’s chances in the contest.
Virat Kohli will never receive a better opportunity to dominate South Africa. He has a full strength and settled squad to choose from against a side searching for balance. His captaincy will be key in this match and a win will knock them two rating points ahead of the Proteas.
The question will be whether India will line up with three spinners or an extra seamer. The logical decision would be to bring in Mohammed Shami but then which spinner gives way? It would be a toss-up between youth and experience and despite Kuldeep Yadav taking two wickets in the first ODI, a bowler for a bowler has to be the call. Kedar Jadhav’s experience with the bat and ball will be vital on a high-scoring Centurion wicket.
India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
Gibson has selection issues. They need to replace their captain and top scorer, with 120, in the first ODI. Farhaan Behardien and Heinrich Klaasen have been called up to the squad, but should any of them start?
Khaya Zondo’s inclusion since the announcement of the ODI squad should ensure a starting position and his experience as the Dolphins captain could provide a calming effect in the middle overs. It’s vital that South Africa make use of the pace and bounce on the wicket by allowing Lungi Ngidi to make his debut, but it’s likely that they would opt for security with the bat by selecting Andile Phehlukwayo.
Probable South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Khaya Zondo, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
– South Africa have played India five times at Centurion. A no-result in their last clash in 2013 keeps the sides even with two wins apiece.
– 17 totals of 300-plus have been recorded on the ground. The last highest total of 392-6 was set by South Africa against Pakistan in 2007.
– De Kock recorded his personal best of 178 against Australia in 2016 at SuperSport Park. This is the highest score on the ground.
– Amla needs 15 runs to surpass Graeme Smith as the highest scorer on the ground. Smith has 861 runs in 17 matches that included two centuries and six half-centuries, while Amla has scored 841 in 12 games that included five centuries and a half-century.
– De Kock has never scored a half-century on the ground. In his six matches played he has recorded four centuries.
Linda Zondi: ‘Part of our plan is to develop those young leaders we have identified. It is unfortunate that we have to do this because of an injury to Faf but this is an opportunity to give Aiden a run, he fits into the goals that we are trying to achieve.’
Aiden Markram: ‘I really enjoy captaining. It’s going to be additional pressure that I have to deal with, but it is good pressure. You get good and bad types of pressures and this is a good one, hopefully, I will thrive under it.’
Ajinkya Rahane: ‘I enjoy facing challenges, and when you play in South Africa against this sort of attack you know that you are up for the challenge. We don’t take them lightly. I just wanted to take my time but I enjoyed facing this challenge.’
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images