Don't write Indian bowlers off, says SA coach Domingo

Last Updated 25 December 2013, 15:42 IST

South Africa coach Russel Domingo said that it will be a foolish thing to "write off the Indian bowling attack" as the pitch at Kingsmead isn't exactly to the liking of the home team as they square off in the series decider here tomorrow.

"Everyone writes them off, but they are very skilful bowlers. When bowlers from the sub-continent come here, they get excited about bowling in South Africa. But they have already developed their skills playing on non-helpful wickets," Domingo said at a press conference here today.

"In that light, the Indian medium-pacers are like the Pakistan attack, very skilful and threatening in such conditions. Their spin bowlers are also very clever. They have subtle changes of pace and bounce, lots of variations, and they use the crease in different ways," he added.

The coach said that his team is ready to move on from the drawn last Test where they almost chased an improbable target of 458 runs.

"We have got to move on. Sure, it would have been a romantic story to have won it. But it's all done and dusted now, and we have to start again tomorrow. India can take a lot of positives from there and so can we. It will be two very balanced sides will be playing this Test match," he opined.

The pitch here at Durban had behaved significantly differently during the ODI series, especially in comparison to the Johannesburg wicket.

And it seems to be the case this time as well. "The pitch here looks pretty dry and it is probably not what we were expecting," said Domingo.

"The groundsmen at different venues don't really seek our opinion. The curators are all professionals and we trust their work here. But it will probably not be a 180-all out game but a high-scoring one. Over the last five-six years, the nature of the Kingsmead pitch has changed".

"I am guessing the pitch will be a lot slower than we are accustomed to. So, I am not sure the conditions will really benefit us," he added.

The hosts have to decide about their bowling combination, as they are yet to take a call on Morne Morkel's fitness. The fast bowler had twisted his ankle in the first Test.
"He seems to be okay. I haven't chatted to the physiotherapist Brandon Jackson but just briefly chatting to Morne, he seems to be fine so that's good news for us," said Domingo.

Moving on then, it seems that the Proteas are also a bit worried about the Indian bowling and the response their batsmen have given so far in the two innings at Johannesburg.

"I firmly believe the opening partnership holds the key for us. If they can give us 80-100 runs, then we have a platform for the guys to follow. Graeme (Smith) and Alviro (Petersen) have been doing this for us for a while now," he said.

When asked specifically about the likes of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, both of whom couldn't make much of a mark in the first Test, the coach seemed unperturbed.

"Hashim has been in great form for us for the last two-three years. He is going to get runs at some stage, probably in this match.

"It is just a matter of time and this is a great place to do it, a great occasion on Boxing Day. He was very mature about his dismissals in the first Tests, like any other dismissal. He was disappointed of course, but he has moved on. Dale (Steyn) too has moved on".

South Africa will need their best players to perform, indeed, for they haven't won in Durban in the last four Tests.

Their last win came against West Indies, back in 2008, and since they have lost four on the bounce to Australia, England, India and Sri Lanka.

"Our past record here is not something we have thought of. It is my first Test match here and I am not carrying any baggage. Our players are looking forward to this Test since we don’t have a New Year's test. So, Boxing Day becomes a big occasion and it is a massive Test match for us," he signed off.

(Published 25 December 2013, 15:42 IST)

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