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Free-swinging South Africa want to win ‘two out of three’ series versus India

South Africa batsman Farhaan Behardien believes an attacking approach in T20s against Indian spinners is paying off.

cricket Updated: Feb 23, 2018 22:30 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Farhaan Behardien
Farhaan Behardien remained unbeaten on 16(10) in South Africa’s six-wicket win over India in the second T20 in Centurion. (AFP)

The last time India’s Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav bowled here at Newlands, in the third ODI earlier this month, the hosts had trouble picking his bowling due to an external factor. The setting sun behind the Wynberg end didn’t allow them to pick ball from the wrist-spinner’s hand due to the glare. (INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA FULL COVERAGE)

South Africa batsman Farhaan Behardien revealed this as he explained that the hosts haven’t always struggled to pick the spinners. While there has been talk of how they haven’t been reading the spinners off their hands but only off the pitch, Behardien’s explanation shows their approach has been right at least from the third ODI.

(Read | India battle slipping spin in South Africa tour’s farewell T20 tie)

“I am not sure if we struggled to pick him. His pace has been good and he has bowled a bit slower. Not many bowlers in our country bowl that slow,” said Behardien. “He was on the ascendancy with his form. But our batsmen have a different mindset going into T20 cricket. We have a fairly young team and lot of guys have played some fairly fearless cricket through the summer and will not carry that baggage from one-day cricket.”

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The South Africa middle order batsman said that the par score at Newlands will come down from what it was at Highveld -- Johannesburg and Centurion.

(Read | Suresh Raina grateful to Virat Kohli for giving up his No 3 batting slot)

“In the Highveld, the ball flies and can go for six much more easily. Here, we have to be slightly smart as the ball doesn’t travel that far. Maybe the twos become important. Some of the shots that go for six at Highveld can be caught at the boundary here. But the wicket will be as good.

“The last time we played here, we made 170 and Sri Lanka chased it. We had a few dropped catches, the wind was swirling a bit. I reckon between 160 and 180 will be the ideal score. The ball might swing a bit as it is a 6 ‘o clock start. There could be some shape on offer. 160 is a very competitive score.

(Read | Indian women’s cricket team eyes rare double series win against South Africa)

Behardien admitted the absence of top players affected the team. For those watching, South Africa nets have looked funny at times with coach Ottis Gibson bowling leg-spin and Justin Ontong, another member of coaching staff, bowling side-arm to copy Kedar Jadhav.

“We have had a few broken fingers. It is tough. I don’t think you can plan for that. It is just one of those things, you go through crests and troughs. But it is nice to see youngsters put their hand up.

“We train for hours. Practice has not been the issue. Just that we have come up against a very good Indian side, in top form with us missing three of our premier batsmen. The coaches have been providing us with the environment to flourish. But we came unstuck. Tomorrow is a massive opportunity, to win two out of the three series against a strong Indian unit.”

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 21:42 IST