The second loss in a row for South Africa would have sent the alarm bells ringing. Both were games close enough but the fact that they are 2-1 down in the series after having lost the previous ODI series in the same country 4-0, the Indians are doing their best to upset the home team’s applecart.
The alarm bells would be ringing for South Africa. Without Jacques Kallis, the combination has been woeful as none of the so-called all-rounders have been able to do both – bat and bowl. This has meant that the line-up, that consists of six batsmen and five bowlers has more or less struggled to perform if there has been an early fall of wickets.
Hashim Amla’s form had hit the purple patch last year but in the last couple of Tests and these three ODIs, one almost gets the feeling that he has been in a hurry. In the hurry to score runs as quickly as possible in a bid to, probably, prove that he can bat as well in the ODIs as well, he has fallen far too early – at least earlier than what his team would like.
Now, Amla has a 60plus average in the ODIs. He has a good strike rate as well and needs to realise that in a situation like this – that is in the absence of Kallis – the side needs him to bat through the entire length of the innings. The quick-scoring or the hitting over the top can be performed by the likes of Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy while Amla needs to ensure that he bats right through in order to protect the brittle-looking batting.
The inclusion of Faf du Plessis does help but one must understand that he has replaced a frontline batsman and is in only his second ODI. It may not make too much sense to expect him to repeat his exploits from the very first game – the bowlers would have seen his game now and will accordingly change their lines and lengths through the rest of the series.
It is a surprise however, that the South African side has decided to go in with six batsmen and five bowlers – they can easily get one extra batsman and expect the likes of Duminy, du Plessis and even Smith to bowl the rest of the ten overs.
A change in the above two tactics could see the side get back to their winning ways but the Indians have tasted blood and it will remain to be seen how they will overcome their opposition to win their first ever series in South Africa.