Pitch in spotlight again

Not unlike in India, where debate and speculation on a pitch for a Test match consume reams of print and several TV spots, South Africa too have been sucked into pitch talk.

Though it is considered unsporting in India if the team management asks for a turning track that prevents either the captain or the coach from admitting that they had demanded a particular wicket, South African skipper Faf du Plessis had little qualms in disclosing what he wanted.

Right from the start of the first Test when he declared that the hosts had a score to settle and that they had asked for spicy tracks with some extra pace and bounce, the home team hasn't been coy about what it expects from the groundsman. And it wasn't surprising to see du Plessis express disappointment over the brownish look of the pitch here for the second Test.

"It looks a bit browner than I thought it would be," he said. "The information from the groundsman is that the grass on the wicket has been burnt from the heat over the last week. It was very hot. We've asked for pace and bounce, so hopefully, we will get that."

His Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, however, was quite happy with the look of the pitch, saying it provides both teams with a chance to win.

"I don't think so," he said when asked if the pitch differed from the one for the first Test. "It looks like a really lively pitch. Exactly what we expected it to be and, we actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are in the contest provided they play some good cricket. We are pretty happy to see the wicket how it behaved in Cape Town because that gave us many opportunities to stay in the game and 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 are looking forward to," he offered.

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