South Africa vs India 2018: Centurion pitch has less grass covering, could offer more bounce
After the Newlands pitch offered substantial assistance to the bowlers which made life miserable for the batsmen, the surface at Centurion was always going to be the cynosure of all eyes.
It has to be noted here, that despite both captains raving about the Capetown pitch, the ICC labelled it poor and hence the job of the curator in Centurion becomes tricky.
Two days before the second Test match, reports are filtering out that the Centurion pitch has far less grass covering and it looks a harder surface than the Newlands ones. These could translate into more bounce and less lateral movement off the surface.
What this also means that both teams will have to revisit their team combinations and by the looks of it, India could go in with six batsmen and four bowlers.
Earlier, KL Rahul and Ajinya Rahane slogged it out in the nets and this could mean that the Indian management is mulling changes to the team in the second Test. While the bowling attack looks settled, there is plenty to ponder about in the batting department.
Historically, Centurion is known for his pace, bounce, and lateral seam movement, a combination which has spelt doom for visiting sides and the Indian side got a taste of the notorious surface back in 2010 when they were shot out for a paltry 136 in their first innings.
Although they staged a revival of sorts in the second innings when they scored 459, the first innings collapse ensured that they went down in the match by an innings and 25 runs.
Despite the result in the first match, the Indian team sounds confident and optimistic about its chances.
"Confidence doesn't dent after one match. If it happens, then you don't deserve to play. Learn from the mistake you made, and go forward. There is not a single cricketer who has not made a mistake. You keep learning and you keep improving all the time. We are trying to rectify our mistakes and move forward," Jasprit Bumrah told ESPNCricinfo.
What transpires when the Test begins remains an intriguing watch and there is little doubt that the hosts start as overwhelming favourites.