India faces tough task at South Africa’s happy hunting ground

The host has won 17 out of 22 Tests played at the SuperSport Park, Centurion.

Historically, the SuperSport Park track is a balanced one, with ideal conditions for both batting and bowling.   -  Getty Images

South Africa, 1-0 up in the series, holds an edge over India going into the second Test at the SuperSport Park, Centurion, which is also its happy hunting ground.

South Africa enjoys supremacy over its oppositions, having won 17 out of 22 Tests played at this venue. The host has drawn three and lost two Test matches — against England (by two wickets in Jan 2000) and Australia (by 281 runs in Feb 2014) — at this venue, thus making the win percentage 77.27.

India, touring South Africa for the seventh time, never had much success and the high point was during the tour in 2010-11, where it managed to draw the three-Test series 1-1. India has so far played 18 Tests in South Africa — winning only two with seven matches ending in draws. However, in Centurion India has played only one Test, in Dec 2010, losing badly by an innings and 25 runs.

Historically, the SuperSport Park track is a balanced one, with ideal conditions for both batting and bowling. The stats also say so, with nine matches won batting first and the same number of matches, bowling first. Moreover, batting at this venue in the first two innings is a lot easier with average scores being 334 and 324 respectively. But the average fourth innings score of 154 suggests that the pitch becomes difficult for teams chasing targets.

South Africa has recorded the highest total in Centurion by putting up 620 for four in reply to India's first innings total of 136, with Jacques Kallis slamming a double century and Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers hitting centuries. Kallis has been the most successful batsman at the Centurion with 1267 runs, followed by Amla (1202 runs) and de Villiers (1157 runs). Among bowlers, again it is the Proteas dominating with Dale Steyn leading with 56 wickets. Steyn, however, is set to miss the remaining two Tests because of injury.

The Test at Centurion starting on Saturday will be a crucial one for both the teams as South Africa would be eyeing for consecutive Tests wins against India for the first time since 2006-07. India will be aiming to stay alive in the series and will hope to avoid back-to-back Test defeats for the first time since 2014.