Rohit Sharma expects 'challenging' conditions at Newlands

The pitch looks pretty similar to Centurion, he said


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India's Rohit Sharma looks at the pitch during a practice session at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Tuesday. — PTI
India's Rohit Sharma looks at the pitch during a practice session at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Tuesday. — PTI

Published: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 8:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 8:53 PM

India's young batsmen will simply have to find a way to cope with South Africa's "challenging" conditions, Indian captain Rohit Sharma said on Tuesday.

Sharma said he did not expect conditions for the second Test, starting at Newlands on Wednesday, to be much different from those at Centurion, where India were beaten by an innings in the first Test last week.

"The pitch looks pretty similar to Centurion," he said. "Maybe not full of grass but there is enough covering of grass on the pitch."

Sharma missed his team's tour two seasons ago because of injury but said teammates who were in Cape Town said conditions appeared to be much as they were then, when the highest team total in a tightly-contested match, won by South Africa, was 223.

Three of India's top six batsmen are on their first tour of South Africa and they all struggled at Centurion.

Sharma, who only made give and nought, said they would have benefited from the first game.

"At some stage we all have to be exposed to conditions like this," he said.

"I am sure they will have learned a lot from the first game and tomorrow is another opportunity for them to understand what is required.

"It is challenging but that's what Test cricket is about," he said.

Sharma said inexperience had also affected India's bowling in Centurion.

"That can happen, it's understandable, but it's about putting your faith and trust in them to get the job done."

Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja has returned to full fitness after missing the first Test with back spasms and could be in line for selection on Wednesday.

The experienced left-arm spinner would also bolster India’s frail batting that amassed only 376 runs during the innings and 32 run defeat that means the tourists now cannot achieve their major aim – a first test series win in South Africa.

"Although we've had a brief chat with the management and the coaching staff about what we want from this game, and what we want from the bowlers, we've not completely finalised our playing XI," captain Rohit Sharma told reporters on Tuesday.

"Everyone is available for selection. There's no injury concerns. We will sit down in the evening and decide what is the right one.

"Having said that, I still feel that we've got a little bit of inexperience in our bowling. Sometimes when you have that, you've got to show some faith in them, show trust in them."

India have also added uncapped seamer Avesh Khan to their squad after he impressed in the white-ball series and for India A against their South African counterparts last month.

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