Virat Kohli calls for Indian batsman to 'show intent' ahead of second South Africa Test

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Virat Kohli made just 30 in two innings in the first Test.

Indian captain Virat Kohli wants his batsmen to “show intent” when they come up against South Africa’s fast bowlers again in the second Test starting at Centurion on Saturday.

“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.”

With conditions at Centurion again likely to favour fast bowling, the problem for India is not just how they should execute Kohli’s strategy – but who should do it.

No Indian top-order batsman made more than 28 in either innings in Cape Town. The only two scores above 30 were 93 by Hardik Pandya in the first innings and 37 by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second.

Pandya and Ashwin were batting at number seven and eight respectively, which suggests India have enough depth in their batting order – if their top-order players can get themselves through the new ball.

At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series.

Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan fell to short-pitched deliveries in both innings and there is an argument for Lokesh Rahul to take his place, while Ajinkya Rahane must be a contender to replace Rohit Sharma at number five.

Kohli said the selection for Cape Town was based on form. Rahane had a dismal recent series against Sri Lanka but 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.

South Africa, meanwhile, look set to once again pick a four-pronged pace attack, although they have to replace the injured Dale Steyn.

There are three candidates — two out-and-out pace specialists in Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi or Chris Morris who has batting skills as well as the ability to bowl at more than 140 kmh.

Both teams showed batting fragility in Cape Town, with India’s pace bowlers showing they too could take advantage of helpful conditions.

AB de Villiers’ aggression in innings of 65 and 35 was a key factor for South Africa. It is that sort of intent that both teams will be seeking in what promises to be another action-paced Test.

Likely teams:

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris or Duanne Olivier or Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan or Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

Umpires: Michael Gough (ENG), Paul Reiffel (AUS)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (both ENG)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

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Jasprit Bumrah says India still confident despite Newlands defeat

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Bumrah remains confident going into the second Test against the Proteas.

After being on the receiving end of a 72-run defeat in the opening Test against South Africa, India pacer Jasprit Bumrah is staying positive as we head towards the second Test at Centurion starting on Saturday.

“Confidence is not dented after one match. If it happens, then you don’t deserve to play. Learn from the mistake you made and go forward. There is not a single cricketer who has not made a mistake,” the youngster told reporters after India’s practice session on Thursday.

Bumrah, who made his Test debut for the country in the loss at Newlands, was a touch expensive in the first innings before coming back strongly in the second to pick up three wickets in South Africa’s collapse on day four

He picked up the wicket of AB De Villiers in the first innings to register his maiden Test scalp but Bumrah was not willing to term it as a dream debut.

“It was not a dream debut. I was happy with whatever I learnt from that match. As a bowler you look to get the first wicket early and I got AB de Villiers,” he said.

Bumrah bowled AB De Villiers for his first Test wicket.

Bumrah bowled AB De Villiers for his first Test wicket.

“It was a happy moment, and from there on, we took a lot more wickets. As a bowler, my motto is not to get too excited and not to get too down after every match. I want to take confidence in to the next match,” Bumrah added.

Playing in his first overseas Test tour, the Mumbai-born man explained that his experience in the first Test had been a big learning curve.

“It’s always challenging whenever you come to a new country, the wickets are different, the weather is different. You get a fair idea of the lines and lengths to bowl. You need to adapt. I never go by perceptions,” he stated.

“In the first innings we thought we bowled a little fuller than the normal here because in India we have to pitch fuller to get the swing and to get the batsmen on to the front foot. Over here, there is bounce, so there is a little bit of difference in length.

“We analysed that, adapted in the second innings and were able to create pressure,” he explained.

South Africa's Aiden Markram expects more runs at Centurion.

South Africa’s Aiden Markram expects more runs at Centurion.

Proteas batsman Aiden Markram meanwhile said that runs will be up for grabs at the Centurion wicket if history was anything to go by.

“Usually it’s a good batting wicket here, there have been some big scores. But how they have prepared it this time I’m not too sure. I’m pretty sure they are going to prepare it similar to last week, maybe not as extreme,” he said on the sidelines of South Africa’s net session.

Markram was wary of India’s quality going into the second Test and expects a big response from the No1 ranked side in the world.

“There’s a reason why they are the No. 1 team in the world — they have quality players in all departments. They tick all the boxes and they have come here to compete, which is great,” he remarked.

South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0 as we head into the second Test at the SuperSport Park at Centurion starting on Sunday.

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