What Must South Africa Do To Win The Second Test Against India?

By Dhanu Delphi on October 11, 2019

South Africa are massive cricket underdogs with odds of 9.90 going into the second and final test of the Freedom Series against India. South Africa needs to win the second test to square the 2-match series. India have odds of 1.43 to win while the possibility of a draw has odds of 3.95 at the bookmakers.

Better teams than the current South Africa squad have come to India and failed to win over the years. However, South Africa are a proud cricketing nation and know that winning the second test could be just what South African cricket need to witness a turnaround. We take a look at what the Proteas must do in order to win the second test. It starts on October 10 in Pune.

Win The Toss

The toss proved to be crucial to the result in the first test. It will once again play a massive factor in the second test. South Africa came out on the losing side of the coin toss in the first test. They had to endure the challenge on batting last on a pitch that offered lots of assistance to the spinners.

If South African captain Faf du Plessis can call it right at the toss, then he will have no hesitation of batting first. This would give the Proteas the advantage of making the most of a fresh wicket. If India does win the toss, they are going to bat first. Once again, South Africa would be put to the test as the Pune pitch is expected to offer assistance to the spinners.

Keep Their Confidence Up

The Proteas have always been a confident bunch of cricketers over the years. However, this current team is reeling from a string of poor performances. This includes being eliminated before the playoffs at the 2019 ICC World Cup.

South Africa have a bunch of players who have played just one test in India and are short on experience. The loss in the first test by 203 runs would have shown them just how tough it is to win against India in India. However, they must take confidence from the fact that they pushed India into the fifth day and made India work hard for the win.

Captain Faf du Plessis said that centuries from Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock have given the rest of the batsmen confidence that they can get make big scores in the second test. The main challenge for the Proteas is for them to keep their confidence levels up throughout the test match. They cannot drop their heads if they lose a session or two against the Indians.

Two Selection Changes

Given the fact that South Africa played pretty well in the first test, it is quite possible that they retain the same playing eleven. However, they might have to a gamble and make a couple of changes to strengthen the batting and bowling.

Theunis de Bruyn played at number 3 during the first test, scoring 4 and 10. de Bruyn turned 27 on October 8 and has played 10 tests for South Africa. He has an average of just 18.94. This isn’t good enough to be batting in the top 6 and certainly not good enough to bat at number 3.

South Africa obviously see a lot of potential in de Bruyn. But he did not look very comfortable against the spinners and lost his wicket to Ravichandran Ashwin in both innings. South Africa should think of replacing him with Zubayr Hamza. He has played just one test match earlier this year against Pakistan.

The Proteas should also think about bringing in Lungi Ngidi. His pace and aggression is needed in the squad. South Africa should drop Dane Piedt, who bowled a total of 36 overs in the first innings. He conceded over 200 runs and picked up just one wicket!