India look to seal series against South Africa in second Test at Johannesburg
The Indian cricket team will be favourites to clinch their ongoing three-match series against South Africa for the Freedom Trophy 2021 in the second Test at Johannesburg, after recording a huge win by 113 runs in the opening match at the SuperSport Park in Centurion last week, to record their maiden historic victory at the venue in a commanding manner.
The world No 1 Indian cricket team is superior on almost all accounts against South Africa who are a team in transition and have recently lost the services of their experienced wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock, who announced his shocking retirement from the longest format of sport after the conclusion of the first Test last week.
Either way, South Africa would have been prepared for the absence of de Kock given that the wicket-keeper batsman was set to miss the third and second Tests of the series owing to the birth of his child. He has been, however, named in the three-match ODI team squad to take on India after the conclusion of the Test series.
The focus is indeed on the Indian team which is at the top of the rankings in the world but their batting line-up is not firing in unity. India’s middle order consisting of captain Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are lacking big scores for more than two years now and all eyes will be on the core of the visiting team’s batting.
India’s bowling department, however, is firing on all cylinders given that both Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah took plenty of wickets in the first Test at Centurion and the third seamer, Mohammed Siraj, played his role to perfection.
The home team would know that they could still match India’s skill sets with the ball but it is their batting that let them down in the first match. South Africa have plenty of young and inexperienced batsmen who are finding their feet in international cricket and the likes of Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Wiaan Mulder and a few others will still need some more time.
South Africa will be dependent on their captain Dean Elgar, his opening partner Aiden Markram and vice-captain Temba Bavuma to get the runs and do the hard work of holding the Indian bowling attack.
South Africa will find the task tougher as they get deeper into the series, particularly at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, where India have not lost once in the five Test matches that they have played so far. India have three draws and two wins at this venue and they enter the second Test as red-hot favourites.