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Indian pacers’ creativity will be tested in Cape Town: Allan Donald

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Cape Town:  The Indian pace bowlers were not patient on a good bowling surface during the opening Test against South Africa, a virtue they will need in abundance on a batting paradise at Newlands, where spinners will have little role to play, reckoned legendary Allan Donald.

India lost the first Test by an innings and 32 runs after conceding 408 in the first innings on a spicy Centurion track that offered steep bounce and enough lateral movement.

“I know South Africa probably got the better of the conditions, no questions about that. They pitched the ball in a 5 and 5.5 meter area and gave it a chance to do something off the deck.

But what they did better than India…they were more patient in that area and even they used the short ball a little bit more in the second innings,” Donald, a fearsome pacer of his generation, decoded India’s defeat in an exclusive interview to PTI.

The 57-year-old, who took 330 wickets in just 72 Tests, feels Indians were waiting for things to happen.

“For India, there was one debutant (Prasidh Krishna). I thought (Jasprit) Bumrah, but Indian bowlers searched too much for things to happen.

They quickly reverted to shorter balls and then lost their length a bit on the shorter side and then got opened up on either side – square leg, off side and SA batters capitalized.”

“Come Cape Town, it will be hard work and there will be a lot more energy from both teams. Cape Town will be hard work and it will bring honesty out of both the attacks,” the ‘White Lightening’ said.

What is it that makes Cape Town way more difficult than Centurion?

“You need to be more creative in Cape Town as wickets are a lot more flatter and partnerships will stretch and that’s traditionally as someone who knows it will be tougher Tests,” he added.

Donald says if India envisage any chance of restoring parity, they need to use the new ball judiciously.

“The massive emphasis is on the new ball because traditionally if there’s a South westerly wind blowing across Newlands, then you know that is going to dry the pitch up.

But not in any way or form I think the pitch will turn.”

That assessment of Donald isn’t great news for veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is all set to be benched.

“There might be some little bit (assistance) available for spinners later on but it’s not going to happen. India in South Africa, there’s no way that will bring Indian spinners into it. So, you can forget that part.

“But your first innings bowling could reward you, if you pitch the new ball a bit fuller and try to swing it for the first 25 to 30 overs. And then start mixing your pace,” he noted.

Once the Kookaburra ball gets old, then India would need what Donald calls a “battering ram” or a “bully” who will ramp it up with short balls.

“When the partnership stretches longer, you need to have two guys who need to bowl short and full. Your spinner will keep one side nice and tight while seamers operate from one end. As the game goes long and the partnership stretches, reverse swing comes into effect.”


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