It will be do or die for India, since they don’t have any other option than winning the second test match at Eden Garden, Kolkata against South Africa and remain at top spot in the ICC Test ranking.
India’s chances of winning the game looks more brighter with the return of stylish right hander V.V.S.Laxman who is seven short of achieving 7000 runs in test cricket, also injured S.Sreesanth is fully fit and likely to be drafted in the playing XI.
Last time India lost the series against South Africa was way back in 2000, when H.Cronje men beaten India by 2-0 in three matches test series. A draw will be good option for the men in green as 1-0 win in the series will allow them to displace India from top of the ICC test team ranking.
Indians on the other hand will have to win this game anyhow to remain at top position. Indian think tank is yet to decide the final playing XI for the game. It’s likely that only one out of S.Badrinath and M.Vijay will take part in the second test and S.Raina or D.Karthik will take one of the places.
Ishant Sharma who looks out of touch in Nagpur game is likely to be included in the squad by considering the pacer friendly track at Eden Garden, Kolkata. In this case Amit Mishra would face the axe, as his efforts went fruitless despite the big turns he achieved at Nagpur.
Watch out for
Gautam Gambhir and Virendra Sehwag: Both players may have failed to produce a solid opening partnership in the first test which resulted in a big loss, however both players knows how to come out all guns blazing in such crisis situation. Especially Gautam Gambhir will eye a big inning in this game to help his team and himself to retain the top spot in ICC Ranking.
Dale Styen: Once again he will be major threat for the Indian batsman since he can reverse the ball in any condition whether it’s new ball or old ball as we have seen in the Nagpur test during India first inning which resulted India to loss last seven wickets for just 29 runs.
Pitch & Condition
The Pitch at Eden Garden has lots of grass on it which means it will provide more help to South African bowlers than the Indians. The pitch will be good for batting on first two days and as the game progresses it will start to doctorate. So toss would play another important role in 2nd test match at Eden Garden, Kolkata.
Since India is facing a must win situation there will be so much talk going on for the final playing XI. Indian think tank have to sit and pick a best playing XI if they would like to retain the top ranking. V.V.S Laxman is fit and is likely to play at number three spot with Vijay and S.Badrinath at five and six. S.Sreesanth is also likely to be included in the squad. The main worry for Indians is the form of Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma, by seeing the wickets India is likely to go with three pacers and one spin attack.
South Africa on the other hand has few problems in their rank with Graeme Smith has broken finger and M.Boucher has back problem. If these two miss out then Alviro Petersen is likely to open the inning with A.Prince.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 09:30 AM India Time)
India Squad: V.Sehwag, G.Gambhir, V.V.S.Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, M.Vijay, S.BadriNath, M.S.Dhoni (Captain & WK), H.Singh, Z.Khan, S.Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma.
South Africa Squad: Graeme Smith (Captain)/A.Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher (WK), Paul Harris, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
Stats & Trivia
Both Laxman and Harbhajan has an outstanding record at Eden Garden, Kolkata as compared to their career figures. V.V.S. Laxman has an batting average of 81.63 and Harbhajan bowling average at Kolkata is 23.1.
Virender Sehwag 109 runs in Nagpur Test was only his fifth score between 100 and 150 mark- out of 18 centuries.