There's another Centurion in the making at Durban. The city has been experiencing continuous showers for the past 10 days, and rain is forecast for almost every day till the morning of the first day of the second Test, which starts on December 26.
This means the wicket could be as damp and difficult to bat on as it was in Centurion on the first day, which saw India collapse to 136. Given MS Dhoni's luck with the toss and the confidence of the South African pace attack, the conditions should worry the visitors. "We are trying our best to prepare a wicket that could take the contest to the final day. But if the conditions continue to remain what they are right now, it could behave more or less the same as the Centurion wicket did in the first couple of sessions," said Bert Procter, the Kingsmead manager.
The conditions are not pleasant. Amid overcast conditions, the wicket looks slush green and the outfield is soggy. "We will cut the grass as soon as we see some sun. But if the sun doesn't come out, trimming the grass won't have the desired effect as the moisture will stay and there would the lateral movement until the track dries out," said Procter.
The other worry for batsmen, especially the Indians, is the wicket won't flatten out as much as it did in Centurion. Not only will it have more bounce and pace, the breeze will ensure the bowlers always have some assistance. India are saddled with substantial baggage from the past. They have played here twice and lost twice. They were bowled out for 66 and 100 en route to the first loss and this remains one of their lowest lows till date. India would need to rise above the conditions and history to keep their dreams of winning a series alive.