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Can dominant India be stopped in Pune once again?

Ind v SA, 2nd Test, preview

The MCA Stadium is the venue of India's only home Test defeat in over six years, and South Africa would hope that piece of history works in their favour as they seek to halt the Indian juggernaut in the second Test, starting on 10 October.


India v South Africa, 2nd Test
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Thursday, 10 October; 09:30am local, 04:00am GMT

Since the start of 2013, India have won 24 of their 30 Tests at home and lost just one. This superlative home record has been an important factor in their rise to the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings. And if their performance in the first Test against South Africa was any indicator, it doesn't seem like their hegemony is going to end any time soon.

They were superb in all departments and will be especially pleased with how Rohit Sharma marked his foray into Test match opening, with hundreds in each innings, while his co-opener Mayank Agarwal scored a double-ton. They laid the foundation for the team to extend their 100 per cent win record in the ICC World Test Championship. India are currently sitting well on top of that table, with 160 points.

India's bowlers were fantastic too, and were able to wrap up the game with well over a session to spare on the final day, despite two South African batsmen – Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock – scoring hundreds in South Africa's first innings. R Ashwin took seven wickets in that innings, while Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja polished things off in the last, with nine wickets between them.

Pune is the venue of India's solitary defeat, against Australia in 2017, at home in over six years. That fact could probably only further fuel Virat Kohli and his men to set that aberration right. South Africa will take heart from their first innings effort to score 431 in the previous Test, but they will expect a lot more accuracy and incisiveness from the bowlers, particularly in the spin department.

Remember the last time

South Africa piled on 431 in response to India's 502/7 declared. Rohit's quick century then enabled India to declare late on day four, with 394 runs to defend. While spin did pose troubles for the visitors on the day five surface, it was fast bowler Mohammed Shami's reverse swing that wreaked havoc. In their bid to formulate strategies to counter spin, South Africa will know that they cannot afford to neglect the threat of India's pacers.

What they said

Faf du Plessis, South Africa captain: "It's about mentally how we are able to put away the last day that we didn't play well and make sure we are ready to come back for the next, hungry to put in a big performance."

Virat Kohli, India captain: "Shami has been a strike bowler for us in the second innings consistently now. If you see all his four-five-wicket hauls, they come in the second innings invariably, when the team needs it, the ball is reversing a bit, that's his strength."


There is a threat of rain through the course of the Test. As for the pitch, one would expect good amount of support for the spinners.

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