Mumbai, Nov 19 (IANS) Former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar pointed out that the Indian cricket team knows that the only way they can defeat visitors South Africa is by creating a spin friendly pitch. India face South Africa in the third and penultimate Test in Nagpur from November 25 with a 1-0 lead after winning the first Test in Mohali by 108 runs and the second in Bengaluru being washed out.
In Nagpur, this first class cricket season saw spinners picking up 51 wickets while seamers claimed just 17 wickets so far. With the Indian team management preferring spin friendly pitches it remains to be seen how the association goes ahead with it. “India have got it totally that if they are to beat them (South Africa) here they have to beat them with spin and by making spin friendly pitches. And if that is the case I don’t see the visitors winning a Test here,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by espncricinfo on Wednesday.
“They (Proteas) don’t have the spinners like Monty Panesar or Graeme Swann to surprise the Indians. Their batsman also lack depth, except AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and sometimes Dean Elgar. India will fancy the chances if they see ball spinning,” he added. The 50-year-old said that he expects a turning track for this Test unlike the original batting friendly pitch which Nagpur is known to offer. When South Africa played a Test in Nagpur last time in February 2010, Amla scored a brilliant 253 not out and the visitors went on to make 558/6 declared in the first innings.
In reply, India went on to lose the match by an innings and six runs, thanks to some terrific bowling by Dale Steyn which saw him claim 10 wickets in the match which included a seven-wicket haul in the first innings. “It will be seen how Nagpur and it’s association looks at Indian cricket; if they make a pitch that will suit Indians or make something keeping in mind the long term Indian team which would test both India’s batting and bowling line-up.
“But as far as I think an attempt will be made to prepare a turning pitch. Nagpur is something where you get good batting pitch and making turning pitch is not that easy.” Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for India, said if a batting friendly pitch is made one can expect another double ton from Amla. “Amla is an interesting character. He has not been among the runs lately but if he gets a batting friendly wicket you really can’t rule out a double hundred again from Amla,” he said. “Steyn has changed as a bowler. He was right at his peak at that time. He is not quite the same force now, although I believe we will get to see some great spells from him. Expecting him to bowl the same will be too much on him,” Manjrekar added.