Smart changes can script a win for Virat Kohli at Centurion

The 65-year-old retired railway employee got so upset following Virat Kohli low score in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa that he poured kerosene and set himself on fire

Smart changes can script a win for Virat Kohli at Centurion

He said, "I expect another huge performance from India". Will India opt for the same combination they used in Cape Town? If India bowl first, they are probably done for.

The match saw South Africa's Vernon Philander taking career-best figures of six for 42 and finishing with overall nine wickets to eventually bag "man-of-the-match" award. With one Test down and some out-of-thebox selection calls flopped, the heat - in every sense of the expression - is very much on but the India skipper looked supremely assured.

As Graeme Smith and Kallis fronted up to the microphones, the first four questions were all about Tendulkar.

Only to be faced with that same old reality when India travel overseas. The team kept its own counsel and didn't say a word.

He was full of praise for the Indian bowling though. Seems so sensible now that the fans even think of it but when the batting order begins to dwindle on the pitch, there remains little scope of win, the desperate players no longer tolerate it and play along no matter how slow runs are accumulated. Sourav Ganguly had gone, but Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were all still around, and in prime form.

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Kohli said, "He's [Rahane] a quality player, he's done well in South Africa, all conditions actually away from home".

Unfortuantely for Steyn, landing awkwardly on his heel meant another six weeks of rehabilitation, something he has been doing more of in the last two years than steaming in on the pitch to the batsman.

To compound matters for India, South Africa do not have that many headaches when it comes to selecting the team.

I still recall bumping into him after the press conferences were over at the end of the Kingsmead Test. "Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option", Kohli said on the eve of the second Test, here. He can bowl the whole day, he doesn't get exhausted. You have to take the game to him and be proactive. These days, no home board makes an effort to stage a proper warm-up. Understandable though, Virat Kohli and the head coach, Ravi Shastri asserted that this is the best squad ever visited South Africa and were pretty confident of turning the tables. England had several warm-up games before the Ashes.

"If players fit in the kind of balance we want to go in with then they will fit in". Most were that obscure. They need to leave Cape Town behind them and move on.

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It wasn't always this way.

Not to forget that it was hosts only who batted under testing conditions, after winning toss and then after rainy day, and Indian speedsters thoroughly enjoyed their time in the middle. Tendulkar famously played for Mumbai against the Australians in 1998, carting Shane Warne to all parts on his way to a double hundred.

Stat alert: Mohammed Shami needs just 1 more wicket to reach 100 Test wickets. Du Plessis' concern is that the brown grass will continue to burn off as the match goes on, by exposure of the surface to the blazing sun which could cause deterioration. Both sides have very good bowling attacks.

Alongside Bhuv Kumar, Bumrah formed a potent new-ball partnership which kept South Africa quiet. The last game was pretty good, apart from one dropped catch from Shikhar in the first innings, which we looked at as a team. Especially in the second innings they bowled to a plan and did not let South Africa have any easy runs.

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