With fast bowlers of the calibre of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in their ranks and given the susceptibility of the Indian batsmen on quick and bouncy tracks, South Africa normally wouldn’t have thought twice about rolling out quick and green tracks. What they have to say | Dancing on the fast lane
That there hasn’t been much clamour for it is nothing but a tribute to the Indian pace attack as both teams prepare for the first test starting on Thursday. South Africa are obviously aware of the dangers they would be exposed to against the Zaheer Khan-led attack on tracks excessively helpful to fast bowlers.
“I’m not sure SA would get green tracks. The Indians of course wouldn’t generate as much pace and bounce as Steyn and Morkel would, but the Indians are more skilful bowlers. If they get good help from the track, they could create lots of problems with seam and swing,” said Albie Morkel, South Africa’s ODI regular.
And that’s precisely why Gilbert Smit, the curator at Centurion, is trying his best to reduce the greenish tinge to the minimum, although the overcast conditions and intermittent rains are making his task much tougher. The wicket looked as green as the outfield until Tuesday afternoon, but by evening, it had lost some of it.
Nevertheless, the bowlers will find some extra help in the wicket as there would be some moisture due to rains in the last few days. The forecast is also for more rain. “There will certainly be some moisture in the track and we are expecting it to seam a bit,” said middle-order batsman Ashwell Prince.
How Indian pacers fare is something that is hidden in the womb of the future, but given their past records in South Africa and how they have bowled in recent times in unhelpful conditions back home raises a lot of hope. The pacers, especially Zaheer Khan, have raised the bar at home and have won more games than the spinners in the last couple of seasons. So, it’s logical to expect them to do even better in helpful conditions.
“Our bowling attack has done really well, be it abroad or in the subcontinent. They have done well even where the wickets haven’t supported them. They adapt really well and that’s one of the reasons why they have been so successful,” said Indian skipper MS Dhoni.
Prince couldn’t agree more. “We have a lot of respect for this Indian attack. They have done really well in the less helpful home conditions, and they will certainly do much better in the helpful conditions,” he said.