Still smarting from the caning their bowlers received from Virender Sehwag in the series opener at Chennai, the South Africans are planning to pepper the Indian opener with short balls into his body and cramp him for space in the second cricket Test starting in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Visiting team's coach Micky Arthur, while maintaining that Sehwag played a fantastic innings, said the Delhi marauder, who scored the fastest triple hundred in Test history (319 off 304 balls) in the drawn match in Chennai, would be in for some chin music in the second Test.
"We had a look at Sehwag's fantastic innings. We saw that he played his first pull shot after scoring 312. He cuts the ball very well. We plan to target him with short balls into his body and cramp him for space and see how he takes it," Arthur told reporters after his team's first practice session at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera today.
Asked how his fast bowlers make the plan work if the wickets do not respond well to fast bowling, Arthur said "We will have to wait and watch for the first ball to be bowled on how the wicket is. At the moment it looks good with some grass on it. But it may be a bit slow. The heat is also dry heat and we are used to similar conditions at home, like in Cape Town and Johannesburg."
Arthur also tried to put behind the issue of the SG brand of balls that is being used in the Test series and said since the team has been here for 15 days the players have hopefully become used to it.
"It's a contentious issue. I can't say whether we have got used to them. We have been here for two weeks and hopefully got used to it. It would be interesting to see how the ball behaves here on the lush green outfield, whether it reverses. Hopefully the pitch will help the seamers," he said.
Lavishing praise on his team's batsmen for their fine display in Chennai, Arthur said the Proteas' line-up had gained from their previous tours to the sub-continent and was now comfortable playing spin bowling.
"We have played a lot in the sub-continent. We have kept the same top six in the batting order. We are comfortable playing spin bowling," he said.
Arthur termed his team's bowling attack as well balanced.
"We have a very balanced attack. We have also a very good spinner in Paul Harris who is probably the most under-rated spinner. He was a bit nervous in Chennai," he said.
Arthur maintained that the visitors were not under any psychological pressure after the blitz from Sehwag.
"We have probably taken more positives from the first Test. The top order performed. We have bowlers who can take 20 wickets," he said.
Arthur said in Yuvraj Singh, who was benched in Chennai, and Mohammed Kaif, brought into the squad for the Test here as replacement for the injured Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian team had enough reserve strength, but the point of interest would be whether the home team will field five frontline bowlers.
"Yuvraj Singh was waiting in the wings and Kaif, I have noted, has scored lot of runs in domestic cricket. They have lot of back-up. It will be interesting to see whether India play five bowlers with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and an all-rounder (Irfan Pathan) coming in at six and seven or six batsmen (like in Chennai)," he said.