India captain Virat Kohli wants his batsmen to “show intent” when they come up against South Africa’s fast bowlers again, live on Sky Sports Cricket, in the second Test at Centurion on Saturday.
Vernon Philander led the way at Cape Town with a career-best 6-42 as South Africa’s pace attack tore through India to secure a 72-run victory on day four of a thrilling first Test at Newlands.
No Indian top-order batsman made more than 28 in either innings in Cape Town with the only two scores above 30 were 93 by Hardik Pandya in the first innings and 37 by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second.
And with conditions at Centurion again likely to favour fast bowling, Kohli has backed his batsmen to come good with a new positive approach against the quicks.
“You can’t just stand there and take whatever is coming your way and not have intent,” Kohli said after his team were beaten by 72 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.
“You might get out but it’s important to keep coming at the bowler and making them feel, ‘if you make an error I am going to score’.”
India will be looking to play themselves back into the three-Test series at Centurion with Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane in contention to replace opener Shikhar Dhawan, who fell to short-pitched deliveries in both innings, and Rohit Sharma at number five respectively
Before the series got underway, Kohli revealed the selection for Cape Town was based on form after Rahane had a dismal recent series against Sri Lanka, however, he has shown the ability to score runs away from home.
On India’s 2013/14 tour of South Africa Rahane scored 47, 15, 51 not out and 96 in the two Test matches and looked one of the best-equipped Indian batsmen against pace.
Meanwhile, South Africa look set to once again pick a four-pronged pace attack, although they have to replace the injured Dale Steyn.
After South Africa’s first Test win, head coach Ottis Gibson said: “I’m a very fast-bowling minded coach and I guess we will always have to find a balance to see if we can get four fast bowlers in the team, first of all.
“We’ll look at things like are the conditions suited to four fast bowlers. If not we try and shape the team in other ways.
“Ultimately, especially in this series and for the rest of the summer, we will be looking to see how best we can fit four fast bowlers into whatever formula we come up with.”
Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi both appear to be in contention to replace Steyn, as does Chris Morris, whose batting down the order could be useful alongside his ability to bowl at more than 140kmh.
Both teams showed batting fragility in Cape Town with India’s pace bowlers showing they too could take advantage of helpful conditions at Centurion in what promises to be another action-packed Test.
Watch the second Test between South Africa and India at Centurion live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.55am on Saturday.