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.
Chris Jordan has vowed England‘s “phenomenal” batting line-up will not be rattled by their costly collapse in Hobart.
At one point, England’s middle-order coughed up five wickets for 15 runs, a setback from which they never recovered.
On paper, Eoin Morgan’s team look to be insulated against such travails, with power throughout the top six and a dangerous lower order comprising the likes of David Willey, Jordan, Adil Rashid and Tom Curran.
And Jordan insists there will be no self-doubt when the sides meet again in Melbourne on Saturday.
“Plain and simple, we didn’t get enough runs, it just boils down to that. But our batting line-up is phenomenal,” he said.
“We do play a positive brand of cricket, an aggressive brand of cricket, and we’ll try to take it to the opposition where possible.
“These things do happen but I think over a period of time we’ll have more success than failure. In T20 cricket, you’re always looking to take the positive option and we always trust whoever is out there to do that and play their natural game.
“Even with a batting collapse, we still put on 156, put a competitive total on the board. Imagine when we are going and don’t get a collapse, maybe we’ll end up with 200 or 210.”
Jordan offered a hint of England’s tail-end strength, taking 16 from 11 balls after coming in at number eight and hitting the ball of the innings into the stands.
He had called for a new bat moments earlier but anyone hoping the 29-year-old had unveiled a new big-hitting blade specifically for the job will be disappointed by the more prosaic reason.
“The previous one, the handle broke on it. I think it went when I hit one over cover then I slipped and landed on it,” he said.
“It was a good thing I swapped it though, because the last ball went for six.”
Australia’s victory at the Bellerive Oval came with a tinge of controversy, with match-winner Glenn Maxwell given not out by third umpire Chris Brown after a contested catch in the deep by Jason Roy.
From 59 at the time, he went on to lead his side home with 103 not out.
England remain convinced Roy held on cleanly but have not sought to make an issue out of the verdict.Jordan, though, would prefer for the fielder’s testimony to carry more weight than the confusing balance between ‘soft signals’ and inconclusive images.
“I think a player’s word should be taken. No-one goes out there to cheat,” he said.
“I get confused with it to be honest. If the soft decision is out, I’m not sure how a decision gets overturned. But whatever decision umpires make, we have just got to get on with it and try to win the game.”
England could recall second spinner Liam Dawson to make use of the big boundaries at the MCG, with Curran possibly vulnerable.