India’s batsmen found out at the Wanderers ground in Johannesburg that batting is not going to be easy on their tour of South Africa.
There was not as much grass on the surface as had been expected or even predicted by many South Africans, but the pitch was hard and so there was going to be bounce, and that was the adjustment that was going to be needed to be made by the Indian batsmen.
This is harder to do because the natural movement of any batsman is to get on the front foot, and it is far easier to play where the arms are freer than to go on the backfoot and play above the waist where the arms are cramped and do not move as smoothly.
Virat Kohli looked like he was making the adjustment, but he too got caught at the crease, and with the bat face opening, he edged to slip. Dhoni did the expected by venturing out of his crease and making the bowler change his line and length.
The rest of the batsmen looked as if they were on an island looking around for someone to rescue them. They will have to find the escape route themselves, whether it is the one employed by their skipper, or the gritty one of Kohli, but unless they do that soon, or, the pitches are suddenly benign, the rest of the matches could well be hopelessly one sided.
What was disappointing was the bowling too, for the new ball bowlers simply did not use the conditions to their advantage. Mohammed Shami was the only one who looked as if he could keep the batsmen quiet and take wickets, but even he was taken for plenty in his final overs.
The last 20 overs have been a problem for India throughout the season, and there doesn’t seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. The left handed Unadkat could have given some variety to the attack, but he does not seem to have the confidence of the men that matter, for he plays one game and is dropped for the next few.
Mohit Sharma on the other hand has the backing but is not delivering. The reserve bowlers are Ishant and Umesh Yadav, so not many options there either.
South Africa are determined to improve their recent one-day record, and beating the number one one-day team by big margins is what will be their aim.
Their batting was simply superb, and young Quinton de Kock hit a magnificent ton, even as he set up the platform with the consistent Hashim Amla with a big opening partnership.
Skipper de Villiers and Duminy then climbed into the Indian attack and demolished it to set an impossible target for the Indians who were simply not up to it. Young de Kock, for his stroke filled century, is the Ceat International cricketer of the week.
Professional Management Group