India vs SA 2019: 3 Key battles to watch out for in the second Test match

Rohit Sharma vs Keshav Maharaj, one of the key battles to watch out for in the second Test match between India vs SA.

The first test match of the ongoing India vs SA test series ended in a comprehensive 203 runs victory for the hosts. The match looked well in the balance until the end of Day 3 with South Africa making a competitive 431 in the first innings, and then taking an important wicket of Mayank Agarwal in the second innings.

Post that, however, Rohit Sharma’s second century of the game and Mohammed Shami’s second-innings burst created havoc as the visitors lost the game with almost a session left in the encounter. Nevertheless, South Africa had a lot of positives in the game; predominantly in their batting from the first innings.

The action now shifts to Pune as the Proteas would be eager to hand a tough fight to the dominant Team India. SA would face India at the Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium, which created some noise during the India vs Australia series in 2017. To recall, ICC had termed the pitch to be ‘poor’ for it being an outright rank turner.

Faf’s men would be eager to open their account in the ICC World Test Championship Points Table with this game. The stats also slightly favor the Africans as Pune happens to be the only Indian city in which the hosts have lost a Test match under Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

On that note, here are 3 key battles to look forward to from this game; the outcome of which could have a direct reflection on the result of the second Test match.

#3: Rohit Sharma vs Keshav Maharaj

Rohit Sharma, who smashed twin hundreds in the first Test match was never stumped out in a 5-day game before the Vishakapatnam Test. However, Quinton de Kock caught Rohit off the crease in both the innings with Keshav Maharaj being the prime culprit on both the occasions.

Faf might consider this as a ploy to curtail Rohit at Pune although it has to be noted that the South African spinner bowled almost 77 overs, and conceded 319 runs in the first game; the most by any player in the entire encounter.

#2: Dean Elgar vs Ravindra Jadeja

Dean Elgar provided resistance to India’s dominance with a neatly constructed 160 in the first innings. However, the opener was able to score just a brace in the second innings before Ravindra Jadeja caught him in front of the stumps. Jadeja had also taken Elgar’s wicket in the first innings.

This duo might affect the outcome of the game as, if either of them can really dominate the other, the respective team is likely to have an upper hand in the game.

#1: Virat Kohli vs Kagiso Rabada

The buildup to this series was mainly concentrated on the Kohli-Rabada face-off on the pitch. While Kohli managed 51 runs from 2 innings, Rabada was poor with just a solitary wicket in the entire test match.

However, the spotlight would still be on these two men as an exciting duel will be on the cards at Pune. The last time Rabada was here in India, he went back with a prized wicket of Kolhi in his bag.

Having said that, since his first career wicket of Kohli in Tests, Rabada has not looked intimidating while having a go at the Indian captain in the red-ball format. The same was the situation in the first game, with Rabada failing to make an impact with the few deliveries he bowled at Virat.

So, these are the key battles to watch out for in the Second Test match between India vs SA.

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