Venue: Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Date: Monday, January 03 – Friday, January 07
South Africa – 2/80
India – 0.98
India goes into the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg with confidence sky high after they convincingly won the Boxing Day match at SuperSport Park in Centurion earlier this week to take a 1-0 lead.
The visitors also moves to Wanderers, which is one of the venues they have excelled away from home as they have never lost at venue with an impressive record two wins and three draws after five matches.
In their 30 years of touring history in South Africa, they have turned this venue in their fortress and they have achieved lots of milestones in Johannesburg where they play in the second of this three match series.
The notable milestones they have achieved at Wanderers are that current India coach Rahul Dravid registered his first Test ton in 1997 and it was at the Bullring where India managed their first Test win in South Africa in 2006.
Their quicks will be relishing the prospect of bowling on a pitch where swing and seam bowlers have held sway.
South Africa go into this must-win match on the back of the shock retirement of influential wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock who has opened a huge hole in the middle of the batting order and behind the stumps.
De Kock announced his unexpected retirement after the 113 lost to India in the first Test and this turn of events means that the think tank of the selectors, coach Mark Boucher and captain Dean Elgar will have to decide who is going to replace him.
The Proteas have Kyle Verreynne and Ryan Rickelton in the squad and it remains to be seen who will be picked to take over the gloves for this match where South Africa have to win at all costs to deny India from wrapping up the series with a match to spare.
Once again, the Proteas are going to heavily rely on top order batters in the form of Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma to get the much needed runs.
The bowling department will be led by Kagiso Rabada, who bowled brilliantly in Centurion, along with Lungi Ngidi, who picked up six wickets in India’s first innings.
Marco Jensen also performed good enough in the first Test match as he registered a total of five wickets and he is likely to continue with Duanne Olivier continuing to sit out after he recovered from illness that kept him out in Centurion.
In Centurion, India’s batting was ably led by opener and player of the match KL Rahul whose stunning century in the first innings, after the visitors won the toss and chose to bat, lain the foundation for the impressive victory.
His opening partner Mayank Agarwal is also going to be crucial in Johannesburg as he comfortable for his 60 runs in the first innings and a lot is also going to be expected from veterans Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
The Johannesburg pitch provides assistance to pace bowlers due to its extra bounce and India are once again expected to play with the same bowling combination that claimed 20 wickets in Centurion.
Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj and Shardul Thakur will be licking their wounds at the prospects of playing at seam friendly Wanderers to be supported by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Having said this, there is a case for Umesh Yadav who may be dangerous because he bowls fuller length at good pace which may be ideal for the Wanderers, it remains to be seen if there will be changes of they go with the same attack.
India has started this series with an emphatic and historic first win at SuperSport Park in Centurion and will be looking to continue with their good run at the Wanderers and warp up this series before the final match in Cape Town.