Spin to be crucial in India-SA Test Series

Written by: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 19:47 [IST]
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Spin to be crucial in India-SA Tests

One thing South Africans always find when they come to sub-continent is a spinning track. It will be no surprise if the track at Nagpur and Kolkata offer spin and bounce right from the word go. South African team has traditionally known to be susceptible to spin bowling and India will try exploit this to their fullest. The two match Test Series is unofficially being touted as the World Test Championship with the No.1 ranked Test side India taking on the Proteas who are currently ranked at No. 2.

Setting the tone for the series Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has said that India are a very good side and can beat any team of the world. He added that Indian team just needed to play to it's potential to beat the South Africans in the home series. This comes as a surprise as Indian bowlers are not known to play the mental games before the start of a series, an art mastered by Australia and well followed by South Africa and England.

India will certainly not make the mistake which it did during the 2000 home series against South Africa preparing tracks that suited fast bowlers. Shaun Pollock had exploited the conditions then winning Test matches at Mumbai and Bangalore. India's last home series versus South Africa at home in 2008 had ended in an 1-1. In the Ahmedabad Test, South Africa won by an innings and 90 runs with Dale Steyn wrapping the Indians for a mere 76 in the first innings.

The First Test at Nagpur will be a test of nerves for the host Indians as they will take field without the services of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh all of whom are injured. This will also be a good opportunity for the likes of Murli Vijay and Subramaniam Badrinath to establish their place in the Indian batting line up. India will be hoping the in-form Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag to provide them with good starts.

A turning track can best serve in defeating the South Africans and Indian know it well. Playing Amit Mishra along with Harbhajan Singh might be a good option. South African have always vulnerable against wrist spin, Shane Warne had exposed their poor footwork against spin and India can used Mishra's wrist spin against them. Mishra can surely be a better prospect against the Proteas than playing left arm spinners like Ravinder Jadeja or Pragyan Ojha.

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