South African cricketers walk back to the pavilion as rain delays the start of the second day's play of the 2nd Test against India, at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore yesterday. (AFP)
Steady rain washed out the entire second day’s play in the second Test between India and South Africa yesterday with the weather forecast for the next two days casting a cloud of doubt over the possibility of a result.
Having bowled out South Africa for 214 and knocking off 80 runs without losing any wicket on Saturday, the hosts were keen on putting up a big first innings total but the inclement weather played spoilsport.
After the early morning showers relented, start was pushed back by an hour to 10:30 local time (0500 GMT) and the players walked out to warm up for action.
The rain, however, returned soon resulting first in an early lunch before play was called off for the day.
“If weather permits, tomorrow the play will start at 9:15 (3:15 GMT),” the Indian cricket board posted on Twitter. More rain and thunderstorms have been predicted for the next two days, jeopardising the possibility of a result in the contest.
While this is surely not how South African talisman AB de Villiers expected his 100th Test to pan out, the Proteas are unlikely to mind the rain intervention.
Beaten inside three days in the first Test on a turning track in Mohali, the visitors still seem in a spin funk with eight of their batsmen surrendering to the Indian spinners in their first innings at Bangalore.
Currently the top ranked Test team, South Africa have not lost an away series since 2006 but Hashim Amla’s team find themselves on the back foot in the four-Test series in India. Apart from the batsmen’s vulnerability against spin, the absence of injured pacemen Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander has also taken much of the sting off their pace attack.
Following their withdrawal, the visitors' pace pack has been depleted down to only one frontline bowler in this Test: Morne Morkel.
The replacement pair for the duo—Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada—need some time to gear up for the magnitude of the task facing them. Rabada needs more experience. In less than two years he has gone from impressive schoolboy to international cricketer across all formats, but Abbott, who is a swing bowler, could have used the extra day off. Abbott was barely 36 hours off a plane when he was thrust into a Test match with his captain's assuring words that "when he puts his boots on, he's ready even if he got off the plane 10 minutes before he bowled the first ball."
The Abbott of Day One was not quite ready. In his six-over spell, he found movement, beat the bat and held his length back.
But even with Morkel testing the surface's spongy bounce and Rabada poison-tipped with potential, Abbott could not create any pressure. India's opening pair were very rarely made to feel as though they would be lured into making a mistake, much less that there was any menace coming from their opponents.
South Africa's batsmen are partly to blame for creating that sense of security of their hosts, who put them in, a rarity in Indian conditions, and then bundled them out.
In the two-and-a-half sessions India spent out there, they would have seen there were no demons in the pitch, not even the sluggish, sleeping ones like they were in Mohali. They would have known they could seize an advantage by batting carefully to the close.
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