India better equipped after Cape Town debacle, says Kohli

The Indian captain expects to be playing in a typically “lively” pitch at Centurion.

India succumbed to South Africa’s potent fast bowling attack in a 72-run defeat in Cape Town.   -  Getty Images

The “steep” bounce unique to South Africa is a challenge confronting India, and the team needs to be mentally prepared to counter it, according to Indian captain Virat Kohli. Speaking ahead of the second Test at Centurion on Friday, Kohli said India was better equipped to deal with the conditions that played a part in the team’s undoing at Cape Town. He called on his batsmen to “adapt” and “apply” to better India’s prospects.

He said, “One must not get surprised by the bounce here. You have to maintain composure, when you get sudden change of bounce, when you experience in South Africa. There are other pitches around the world which bounce a lot but here bounce is steep, and it can be quite steep from length also. I think those are things that you need to mentally tune yourself to get over, and adjust to, and accept that this is going to be a major part of batting in South Africa.

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“Last time as well, when we came here, we got to experience that in the ODI series initially, but by the Test matches, we were all well equipped. We knew exactly how the wickets were going to behave. We played them much better. The first game gave us a lot of exposure to that. Still, having said that, this pitch is going to be pretty similar in terms of pace and bounce. I feel the batting order, through the mistakes that we committed in the first game, and through the experience we gained in the first game, we’re in a much better shape to counter their bowling attack in this game.”

'Pretty happy'

Kohli, however, relished the prospect of competing on such a typically “lively” pitch. He wasn’t surprised by the look of the wicket for the second Test; he expects the wicket to have the pace and bounce that the team was greeted by last week.

“We actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are into the contest, provided they play some good cricket. So, we’re pretty happy to see the wicket, how it behaved in Cape Town that gave us many opportunities to stay in the game and allow us to make comebacks whenever we were put under pressure. This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is something that we’re looking forward to.”

Having lost at Cape Town by 72 runs, India will look to bounce back into the series in the second Test that begins on Saturday.

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