South Africa vs India, 2018: Use of heavy roller before second innings could have put India on the backfoot, says Newlands curator
After India's 72-run loss in the first Test against South Africa at the Newlands in Cape Town, skipper Virat Kohli admitted that batting let the team down in what could have been their best chance of winning a Test in the ongoing tour.
Apart from the team, there were several other areas which cost Kohli and co. the first Test. Selection of limited-overs specialists Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah ahead of Test specialists KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma is also one of the main reasons for India's loss.
Adding to this, Indian bowlers' approach after reducing the hosts to 12/3, failure to clean up the tail in the first innings, lethargic batting in both the innings are some of the reasons why India lost the Test.
But, Newlands curator Evan Flint pointed out that Virat Kohli's decision to use the heavy roller instead of the lighter one before India's second innings might have turned the game in favour of the hosts. At the change of innings, the captain of the team that is going to bat has the rights to choose the type of roller he wants to use on the wicket before his team's openers come out to bat.
Kohli used a lighter roller before India's first innings and opted for a heavier one before the second innings.
"From my experience, particularly here on a coastal ground, the impact of the heavy roller, it should really flatten the wicket out, take some life out of it and make it a bit easier for batting. When you go up in the Highveld, Wanderers and Centurion, the heavy roller can sometimes break the plates up a little bit and it becomes a bit more inconsistent in bounce. Here, the heavy roller should normally flatten it down. Even that didn't have too," said Flint in an exclusive interview with Economic Times.
Sometimes, the heavy rollers bring up the moisture that is underneath the surface and he feels that could have happened in India's case. Flint also conceded that the light roller might have been a better option in hindsight and credited the Indian skipper for using the lighter one on day one as it didn't liven up the pitch after South Africa's innings
"The heavy roller draws moisture up from underneath. Yeah, yeah, it could've happened. It's possible. It looked like it eh? I thought Kohli was quite clever on Day 1. He used the small roller at the change of innings. It didn't liven the pitch up or anything. Sometimes the heavy roller can quicken the pitch up but take the seam movement out of it. Look, it's not based on research. Most of it is anecdotal," he added.