Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

India skipper Kohli welcomes lively Centurion pitch

India skipper Kohli welcomes lively Centurion pitch

Not long after India were beaten by South Africa in the first Test at Newlands on Monday questions were asked about the logic behind the selections of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. India had lost Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli but it had started to look like Rohit and Pujara, two players with contrasting styles, would bail them out.

India however won't be taking any solace from its record at this ground, having played only one Test match and losing it by an innings and 25 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara hung in there for quite a while but he too failed to trouble the scorers much. Three of those hundreds have come against Australia (1), England (1) and New Zealand (1) while the rest are against Sri Lanka (2) and the West Indies (1). The Delhi batsman said they picked Rohit on current form while they went with Shikhar as they wanted a left-right combination at the top of the order. Rahane, who has not been amongst runs of late, had a successful tour of South Africa four years ago.

For the first time since the inaugural series in 1992-93, an Indian batsman did not score a hundred in a Cape Town Test. Hardik Pandya almost scored one on Day Two of the recently-concluded Test, but couldn't join Sachin Tendulkar (twice), Mohammed Azharuddin and Wasim Jaffer as Test centurions in Newlands.

According to reports, Dhawan's poor performance could see Lokesh Rahul making a return to the starting XI in the Centurion Test.

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With the South African tour already making headlines for India's batting fallacies, Bhuvneshwar's seemingly minor, yet important role, in the lower order could help add vital runs at the end. "But we made a decision to go with this combination and current form was definitely the criterion", added Kohli.

Virat Kohli's men tasted defeat at hands of South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series in Cape Town.

With India's batting being a major cause for concern, Virat Kohli and the think-tank would also consider bringing back vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and playing with 7 batsmen. Or will they drop Rohit after just one Test match?

After the Cape Town loss the spotlight has been on how India will line up in this match and Kohli hinted that they may make changes‚ while also asking his charges to show greater application. "Another partnership of 50 runs would have sealed the game in India's favour", he said. "I'm a very fast bowling-minded coach and I guess we'll always have to find a balance with whether or not we can get four fast bowlers in the team, first of all", Gibson stated.

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