South Africa captain Faf du Plessis sounded unsure of the SuperSport Park pitch in Centurion, Pretoria yesterday, saying it has an unusual, thick layer of brown grass.
The Proteas have requested a greenish wicket that will offer pace and bounce‚ but the skipper said they would go into the second cricket test against India today not knowing how the pitch would play over the next five days.
South Africa have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after their seam bowlers proved to be too good for the Indian batsmen in the opening test in Cape Town.
In contrast‚ India captain Virat Kohli‚ after inspecting the pitch before training yesterday afternoon‚ welcomed the conditions in the capital city and said they were exactly what his side had hoped for because both teams would be in the contest. Du Plessis‚ though‚ displayed a hint of concern. “Generally‚ Centurion does not spin that much but there is a thick layer of brown grass on it and it is not something that we are used to here‚” he said.
“For us‚ at the moment, it is unknown and we will see how it plays over the next five days. Conditions that we like are when we get the ball that spins as little as possible.
“The wicket looks a bit browner than I thought. What I got from the groundsman is that the grass on the wicket has been burned from the heat over the past week‚ because it was too hot.
“We have asked for pace and bounce and hopefully that is what we will get. For me‚ the key thing is pace and bounce and if there was a little bit of grass it would be fine‚ but we back ourselves.
“I expect a good cricket wicket with a good [deal] of pace and bounce. In the previous game, pace took them out of their comfort zones – this time it will be about the same lines, and we must make sure that we have bowlers who can do that.”
Du Plessis expects a huge response from India following the visitors’ defeat in Cape Town.
“I think at times they played very good cricket in that first test. I said that match was one of the best I have played in because there were so many ups and downs for both teams.
“India were in the game for 90% of the match. I expect them to take positives out of that game.
“They will say that they were not far off because they got 20 wickets out of the game.
“The only part where we were a little better than them was that we got a few more runs in the first innings. I expect another huge performance from them. For us it is to make sure that we don’t rely on a 1-0 lead‚ because if you do that against India they will pounce.”