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Cricinfo Newsletter - South Africa v India 2006-07

India in South Africa, 2006-07
November 16 - January 6

 
Taming the lion in it's own den

As India and South Africa get ready to do battle, all eyes will be on the pitches that will be dished out for the series. South Africa will be expected to lay out fast and bouncy tracks, trying to exploit India's traditional weakness against the rising ball and in Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock and Andre Nel they have enough ammunition. India have had a forgettable start to the season, failing to enter the final of both the DLF Cup and Champions Trophy, and, having won just 3 out of their 16 against South Africa in their backyard, it would require something out of the ordinary for them to come away unscathed.

Full India in South Africa Coverage
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Can India handle Makhaya Ntini and gang in their backyard?
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Schedule

1st ODI
Johannesburg - 19 Nov

2nd ODI
Durban - 22 Nov

3rd ODI
Cape Town - 26 Nov

4th ODI
Port Elizabeth - 29 Nov

Twenty/20
Johannesburg - 1 Dec

5th ODI
Centurion - 3 Dec

  India 1 R Dravid (capt), 2 V Sehwag, 3 AB Agarkar, 4 MS Dhoni (wk), 5 Harbhajan Singh, 6 M Kaif, 7 D Mongia, 8 MM Patel, 9 IK Pathan, 10 KD Karthik, 11 SK Raina, 12 Z Khan, 13 S Sreesanth, 14 SR Tendulkar, 15 A Kumble, 16 W Jaffer.

South Africa 1 MV Boucher (capt), 2 AJ Hall, 3 LL Bosman, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 HH Dippenaar, 6 HH Gibbs, 7 A Nel, 8 M Ntini, 9 RJ Peterson, 10 SM Pollock, 11 AG Prince, 12 R Telemachus, 13 T Tshabalala, 14 JJ vann der Wath.
 
 


 
Your guide to who's hot and who's not in the India tour of South Africa.
 
 
Harbhajan Singh Eleven wickets in the last 13 matches, from the start of the ODI series against West Indies till the recently concluded Champions Trophy, at an economy rate of 3.76 reflects Harbhajan's form. And his performances in the last five matches (3 for 35 in every match) underline his clockwork precision. It appears that he's finally shed his self-doubts about bowling with the Kookaburra ball, one that's caused him several headaches in Test matches. His helicopter bat-swings have proved handy at the end of the innings. With Anil Kumble by his side in South Africa, can he turn it India's way?
Mark Boucher Having turned into one of the best wicketkeeper batsmen in the modern game, Mark Boucher has proved he can provide the kick in the slog overs apart from tidying up behind the stumps. South Africa's second-highest run-scorer in the Champions Trophy, Boucher was one of the few batsmen ready for a scrap when the conditions got tough. His 69 against Pakistan at Mohali was a masterful exhibition in adjusting to the conditions, Six dismissals - including a sensational full-length, one-handed take down the leg side - highlighted his value behind the stumps.
 
 
 
 
Suresh Raina
Has for some time now been regarded as the best thing since sliced bread by the men in charge of Indian cricket. Early on he showed tremendous promise, finishing a couple of tight games against Sri Lanka with enthusiastic and imaginative batting. But in recent times the hype has outgrown the results. In five one-dayers against the West Indies the best he could manage was 27, and with Dinesh Mongia back in the mix, he might have to do a bit better than that to hold his place in the team.
Boeta Dippenaar With just 25 runs in his last four innings, Boeta Dippenaar is in the midst of a mini-slump. He's often been the glue holding the South African top-order together - slyly picking off runs when most teams are concentrating on the strokeplayers at the other end - but his lean patch has left a void. He was dropped for the Champions Trophy semi-final, being replaced by the dashing Loots Bosman, and his unimpressive average against India (22.66 in seven games) might make it even harder for him to return to the side.




 
 

  Makhaya Ntini
is a fierce prospect anyway. But the very thought of him running in on South African greentops conjures up a deadly proposition. Coming off a good Champions Trophy outing with eight wickets from four matches at 16.12, Nitni won't be easy to handle, by a long way. His figures from when India visited in 2001-02 - three wickets from four matches at 53 - should be no comfort to the Indian batsmen for he has taken 178 wickets at 22.16 since then.
 
 

 
Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
The Wanderers, known as the 'Bullring' because of its intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams, has a rich history and has hosted some memorable matches, including the World Cup final in 2003. The Wanderers pitch has been a bowler's paradise, offering true bounce and carry, though batsmen have enjoyed their time in the middle in one-dayers. Australia amassed 359 against the hapless Indians in a hopelessly one-sided World Cup final, but were at the receiving end of a run-glut earlier this year, when they failed to defend a world-record score of 434 against South Africa in a thriller. South Africa have a good record here, with 16 wins in 21 matches. India's record isn't as good, with just one win in four games.
Kingsmead, Durban
There will be no shortage of support for the Indians at Kingsmead in Durban, the venue for the second one-dayer, thanks to the large Indian population. Conditions can get very humid, as the ground is located in close proximity to the sea. Rain has intervened in quite a few occasions, leading to five washouts, with all coming in day/night games. India have played six games here and their only two wins came in the World Cup, the most memorable being the match against England when Ashish Nehra skittled out the opposition with a six-wicket haul.
Newlands, Cape Town
Newlands has been described by many as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world. Nestled behind and at the foot of Table Mountain, it is one of the most picturesque places in the world to watch cricket. It hosted the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2003 World Cup, and the seating capacity has been increased. It happens to be South Africa's favourite hunting ground at home in one-dayers, with 19 wins in 22 games. Traditionally, teams batting first have had the rub of the green, winning on 20 occasions. India have played two games, winning and losing one each.
St. George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Historically, St. George's Park is one of the oldest venues in South Africa, having staged the first Test to be played outside England or Australia, in 1888-89, and final Test before South Africa's 21-year isolation, in 1969-70. One of the more old-fashioned grounds, one of the bowling ends has been curiously named Duckpond End. India would be looking to erase their miserable record here, having lost all three games, one of which was an embarrassing loss to Kenya in 2001-02. South Africa have won 13 of their 19 matches.
Supersport Park, Centurion
Historically, St. George's Park is one of the oldest venues in South Africa, having staged the first Test to be played outside England or Australia, in 1888-89, and final Test before South Africa's 21-year isolation, in 1969-70. One of the more old-fashioned grounds, one of the bowling ends has been curiously named Duckpond End. India would be looking to erase their miserable record here, having lost all three games, one of which was an embarrassing loss to Kenya in 2001-02. South Africa have won 13 of their 19 matches.
 
 
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