The hosts ran out comfortable victors by five wickets in the clash at Hobart on Wednesday after having thrashed New Zealand in the opening match of the series.
We look at the three key players to watch out for as the old foes meet once again.
After being called out by Steve Smith publicly for his training intensity, it seemed that the doors to the national team had all but shut on the floundering maverick batsman.
Having found a spot in the recently concluded ODI series due to injuries, the often derided Glenn Maxwell seems to have found a new lease of life in the T20Is. He answered all his critics with a man-of-the-match performance in the previous match where he registered his second T20I ton while also chipping in with three crucial English wickets with his part-time off spin.
It will be interesting to note if Maxwell can kick on from the superb ton or whether it ends up as one of the many false dawns in his career.
The Hobart Hurricanes opening batsman smashed the Big Bash League (BBL) record for the most runs scored in a single edition just recently. His terrific displays have seen him earn a mouthwatering IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals along with a maiden Australia cap in the T20I series.
He looked extremely good on his debut on Wednesday where he launched two massive sixes and as many boundaries in a 20-ball stay at the crease which yielded 30 runs. Short will want to build on that promising start as he looks to tie down a spot in the national team for the foreseeable future.
The English all-rounder was brilliant with the ball against the Aussies in Hobart as he picked up three wickets. He failed to do much with the bat though and will be looking to make amends in Melbourne.
He was in sparkling form himself in the recently concluded BBL and made head turns when he tore apart Nathan Lyon in England’s warm-up T20 clash against a Cricket Australia XI. The southpaw smashed Lyon’s first five deliveries for sixes before finding a boundary off the last ball as 34 runs came in a single over.
The spin-twins of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been on top of the hosts’ batting from the very get go and have accounted for 21 of the 28 South African wickets to fall so far in the ODI series.
India bowling coach Bharat Arun said that the results have been the fruits of some sensible planning and that the side had long since identified wrist-spin as a potent weapon in overseas conditions.
“These two spinners showed a lot of promise and we said that in overseas conditions a wrist-spinner would do a lot more than finger-spinners and rightly so, they have come to the party,” he said on Friday.
“They have got a lot of talent, ability and have troubled the best batsmen in the business back home. We were extremely confident that they would come here to South Africa and make inroads into their batting.”
“They are extremely positive, they are not afraid to flight the ball, not afraid to impart the extra spin and they are not dependent on the wicket. They get a lot out of the air and they have enough skills to beat batsmen in the air. They just back their instincts,” added Arun on what makes the spin-twins tick.
The bowling coach was full of praise for India’s bowlers in both the Test and the ongoing ODI series and said that he couldn’t have asked for anything more of them.
“We cannot ask for anything better. They have done a tremendous job. I am more than pleased,” he said.
India currently sit on the brink of their maiden ODI series triumph in South Africa when the two sides meet in Durban on Saturday having taken a 3-0 lead in the six-match series. Aiden Markram‘s men will be bolstered by the return of AB De Villiers after an injury layoff as they seek to keep the series alive.
India do not have many concerns but will be hoping Rohit Sharma can finally fire after failing to register a single fifty so far in his seven innings on the South Africa tour. Skipper Virat Kohli remains in imperious touch after registering two tons already in the three matches.
“To us we are on the brink of it. If we do it, it would be really huge. There’s always a first time and hopefully this is it,” added Arun.
We look at the key talking points ahead of the all-important clash with India leading 3-0.
SELLOUT CROWD FOR PINKDAY
Since its inception in 2011, the PinkDay has become a permanent fixture in South Africa’s cricketing calendar. Incorporated to raise awareness about breast cancer, the special day has seen tickets being snapped up like hotcakes and a sellout Wanderers crowd will welcome the two sides when they take the field.
The hosts will line up in their all-pink jerseys for the special occasion.
INDIA ON THE CUSP OF HISTORIC SERIES WIN
Ever since their first ODI tour of South Africa in 1992-93, India have played four bilateral series against the Proteas in their own backyard. They have tasted defeat in every single one of them. Having taken an unassailable 3-0 lead, this will be the first time that they will avoid a series defeat on South African shores.
However, their minds will be fixated on sealing India’s maiden ODI series win in South Africa, a feat which shall be truly historic for Virat Kohli’s men.
AB DE VILLIERS RETURN BOOSTS PROTEAS
The Proteas were dealt a major blow before the start of the series when they lost AB De Villiers to injury for the first half of the series. Things went from bad to worse when skipper Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock joined him on the injury-list.
De Villiers has returned from his injury lay-off and his participation for Saturday has been confirmed. The hosts desperately need their maverick batsman back and will be hoping his return can reignite their floundering hopes in the series.
SOUTH AFRICA SEEK END TO SPIN-TWINS MISERY
Twenty-one of the 28 South African wickets to fall in the three matches so far have been snared up by India’s wrist spin-twins in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The duo has exposed the hosts’ weakness against the spinning ball in the absence of their senior stalwarts.
The fact they have not been able to devise a way to negate the threat of the spinners in three matches so far shows they are yet to get a grip on the spin-twins. Aiden Markram’s men will be hoping that De Villiers’ return can provide some relief in this department come Saturday.