It’s been nearly seven years since India lost a home Test series. Since the beginning of 2013, they have only been beaten once on home soil – that’s 31 matches! Out of those 31 matches, they have won 25 – which is a phenomenal number. Along the way, they have won 11 consecutive home series. It is safe to say that India is now, by a fair distance, the toughest place to tour for a visiting side. While some might say that India have always maintained a fortress at home, what makes this run special is the dominance and the manner of victories. There have been more authority with the way Virat Kohli’s men have imposed themselves on the opposition. India Vs South Africa, Cricket Score 3rd Test Match.
What’s in the pitch?
India’s home dominance has always invited criticism for the use of spin and some pitches that have turned from the outset. It is quite a conundrum as when India travel abroad, they are expected to adjust to seaming and pace-friendly conditions. However, the spin-friendly tracks have traditionally been looked down upon. When India travel to Australia or South Africa, they aren’t going to find pitches that will turn. Why would you prepare tracks for the visitors? IND vs SA, 3rd Test 2019 Match Preview: India Eye Whitewash Against South Africa in Final Match of the Series at JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.
Bharat Arun, the Indian bowling coach, had perfectly summed it up ahead of the second Test at Pune. “When we get seaming tracks abroad, we get to hear that ‘Oh, Indians should learn to play on seaming track’. Seaming tracks are considered good tracks, whereas if there is a track that assists spin, you say, ‘how can you spin the ball on day 1? When the ball seams, you accept it but when the ball turns you don’t,” he said. India vs South Africa Dream11 Team Prediction: Tips to Pick Best Playing XI With All-Rounders, Batsmen, Bowlers & Wicket-Keepers for IND vs SA 3rd Test Match 2019.
Having said that, the Indian pace battery have shown that they have the goods to succeed on any surface. Last year, Umesh Yadav finished with a ten-wicket match-haul to beat West Indies at Hyderabad. The pace bowlers have also worked as a pack in the ongoing home series, even as the more famed Kagiso Rabada hasn’t been as effective. Earlier, the fast bowlers may have had a more containing role, but now they are as attacking as anyone on home soil. Ask Mohammed Shami. He turns it on in the second innings, a point where most people expect the spinners to dominate in India.
Thus, with the growth of the Indian pace attack and their coming together as a group, one can expect more surfaces like the ones we saw in Pune. It wasn’t one-way traffic where the spinners ruled the game but the fast bowlers had an equal role to play.
Kohli has always been unafraid to tinker with his team’s combination and try fresh ideas. Most were surprised in Pune when he decided to drop Hanuma Vihari, the impressive middle-order batsman, and bring in Umesh as the extra fast bowler. The move reaped rewards as Umesh delivered with the ball.
Ahead of the Ranchi Test, India may mull the combinations again. If they wish to change it, one might expect Vihari to return in place of a bowler. Else, India may go in with the same side in consecutive Tests – which has been a rarity during Kohli’s captaincy.
With the ICC Test Championship underway, all games matter and aren’t out of context. Points are up for grabs and India, already tipped as one of the favourites at this early stage, would keep the pressure to seal the series with a clean-sweep.