All systems go for Centurion test match

Ajinkya Rahane had optional training with KL Rahul Ishant Sharma and Parthiv Patel in the nets

Ajinkya Rahane had optional training with KL Rahul Ishant Sharma and Parthiv Patel in the nets

In the past it has often been far too convenient to pick players for a Test and drop them when they haven't passed muster - only to be dictated by their limited overs' form and picked for Test cricket again. They also feel that he lacks pace and can not hurry the batsmen whereas Ishant has the height and pace to exploit a surface with bounce.

He said, "It looks like a really lively pitch".

Indian skipper Virat Kohli yesterday said that the players need to put in more efforts as the team can not afford to play loose shots.

We are into the second Test and my visions are already blurring. Amla dropped a delivery from him at his feet and was called through by skipper Faf du Plessis who easily made his ground but Pandya turned and threw to the other end hitting the stumps and running Amla out. Perhaps the pitch is not to his liking or maybe there's just a little irritation brought about by having to spend another few days musing over the composition of his starting team. I'm not saying that Ajinkya can not or will not start in this game.

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The thinking behind dropping Bhuvneshwar in the second Test is, perhaps, the lack of swing at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, combined with the extra bounce that Ishant could exploit.

So, with Dale Steyn out of the series, which seamer to choose then? Its first pit stop for changing that perception is South Africa, where it is hoped it would counter adverse conditions to vanquish its rivals. Not just as a player, but also as a commentator for almost three decades, Shastri's expertise is unquestionable.

Du Plessis admitted it was the first time he'd seen Ngidi bowl in the flesh. While they can handle pace with some authority, it's the movement of the ball and uneven bounce that has always troubled them – not unlike in Cape Town.

However, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes that Rabada will only get better as time goes on.

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But still you have to admit the quality of this (South African) bowling attack. The second test between India and South Africa begins today at the Centurion. One forced, two because the team management felt the change was needed.

Kohli's not free of selection headaches either, but he appeared delighted that a variety of options were open to him.

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The interesting add-on here is Shikhar Dhawan's twin failure in the first Test. "Bhuvneshwar performed well in Cape Town and excluding him like this isn't justified", he added. "People can get to know in five minutes whether you want to be out there or you don't", the India skipper said putting the onus on the individuals to raise the bars. Others may feel when the best player in the team is not good enough to score runs, then how can they survive in these conditions.

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