Ashish Nehra feels that India will continue with their five-man bowling attack strategy. The ploy to field four frontline bowlers and an all-rounder has brought India success, especially on the tour of England.
The former bowler spoke about how Virat Kohli brought upon the policy of playing five bowlers and is highly likely to stick with it. Considering the poor form of the middle order, the prospect of playing another batter instead of Shardul Thakur has been discussed. Nehra, however, noted that the nature of the pitch would determine such a change. Speaking on Cricbuzz, Nehra said:
“Had Jadeja been there, there might have been a discussion of dropping either one of Shardul Thakur or R Ashwin. I would be surprised if they make a change. Playing an extra batter instead of Shardul Thakur will depend on how the pitch is. Thakur only bowled 5 overs in the second innings, and that too in good conditions for bowling. Playing with five bowlers kind of gives Kohli an assurance.”
India majorly only required the services of their three frontline seamers to inflict damage on South Africa’s batting unit across both innings. Thakur had picked up the crucial role of de Kock in the first innings, but played a subdued role in the second innings. R Ashwin was responsible for cleaning up the tail to conclude the Test.
I don’t think India will look to make any changes to this playing XI: Nehra
Nehra noted that he does not expect India to alter their winning combination. He also claimed that South Africa would be digging their own grave if they prepared a surface which aids the fast bowlers once again. Nehra added:
“I don’t think India will look to make any changes to this playing XI. Johannesburg also sports good seam and bounce. When South Africa prepare these kind of pitches against India, they are just paving the road for India to win. India’s recent wins over South Africa have come on such bowler-friendly wickets.”
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India have performed admirably well in seam-friendly conditions in Australia and England in recent times. The visitors will look to add South Africa to their list as they are one win away from securing a series win. The second Test between India and South Africa will take place at Wanderers, Johannesburg from January 3 (Monday).