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Cricket hits fever pitch – India vs South Africa, Bangalore Test – Prediction

Virat Kohli takes a selfie with fans. (Photo courtesy: PTI)
[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=””]Prediction: If the Test Match starts on time, it will belong to South Africa. India may not be able to carry the momentum of the Mohali Test into this one. Though both sides dominate sessions, if the match doesn’t get affected by rain for long hours, South Africa should win. The Draw is our second favourite.[/box]
The canopy over the Bangalore pitch takes centre-stage as the Indians and South Africans conduct training sessions. (Photo courtesy: PTI)
The canopy over the Bangalore pitch takes centre-stage as the Indians and South Africans conduct training sessions. (Photo courtesy: PTI)

The Indian spinners were on song during the first Test against South Africa in Mohali, but weather conditions may leave them far from being pitch perfect for the Bangalore Test.

Incessant rain in the past week has left curators, and the Indian thinktank, scratching their heads in confusion. The home team will hope for yet another rank turner to turn the screws on a South African side already trailing 1-0 in the four-Test series, but rain has resulted in the pitch being covered 24×7 by three layers – a heavy cloth, a tarpaulin sheet, and a unique canopy. The consequence: There has been little or no sunshine to bake the pitch and remove moisture – the essential formula for turn.

Indian team director Ravi Shastri has been seen having lengthy discussions with his bowling coach Bharath Arun, the ground staff as well as ace spinner Ravi Ashwin during the net sessions, and if the rains continue, we could well see Amit Mishra making way for an extra seamer.

As far as teams are concerned, Ishant Sharma is back from suspension and may take Umesh Yadav’s place in the team. And apart from the spin conundrum, India will look to field the same side that made short work of the Proteas in the first Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara has been working on a new batting stance, and will hope to bat for long periods after playing himself in. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had a stop-start first Test, while Virat Kohli is yet to fire. The Indian captain will take inspiration from his Royal Challengers home ground to start performing with the bat.

Virat Kohli takes a selfie with fans. (Photo courtesy: PTI)
Virat Kohli takes a selfie with fans. (Photo courtesy: PTI)

The South Africans, meanwhile, have been dealt a body blow by the loss of Vernon Philander, who tore ligaments in his left ankle during practice. He will be replaced by Kyle Abbott. Pace spearhead Dale Steyn, too, is doubtful, and will have to undergo a fitness test before the game.

However, AB De Villiers’ team will welcome the return of JP Duminy and Morne Morkel from injury, with Duminy also expected to contribute with the ball should the pitch start turning.

If the weather holds, fans will be witness to a cracking game of cricket. However, all signs point to a heavily curtailed five days thanks to rain and poor visibility.

UPDATE: Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the second Test against India in Bangalore. The South African paceman failed a fitness test following a groin injury.

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