Considering the way Indian batsmen got undone by South Africa’s fiery pacers in the first Test at Newlands, former India opener Virender Sehwag has advised the team management to go with six specialist batsmen and four bowlers.
The Newlands strip produced scores of 286, 209, 130 and 135 in the four innings of the first Test that ended in just under three days, with the hosts securing a 72-run victory. In the next two Tests, the pitches are expected to remain the same. No wonder, Sehwag feels that leaving deliveries outside the off stump will hold the key for the visitors.
"India can go in with an extra batsman in Ajinkya Rahane. They should also try to go in with four specialist bowlers. If India want to win, Virat and Rohit will need to play a big role," Sehwag told 'India TV' on Wednesday.
"Don't fiddle with deliveries outside the off-stump will be my advice to the batsmen. Play as straight as possible. Your 'go to' shots should be straight drive and flick. Get prepared to be hurt by some short stuff. Rather than trying to fend off short balls, get prepared to take blows on your body," he further added.
Viru, who slammed a hundred on his debut Test against the Proteas in Bloemfontein back in 2001, also urged the batsmen to remain positive and look to score at least 3 runs per over.
"The tennis ball bounce in South Africa means that it will be very difficult for any batsman to get bowled. So one needs to stay positive and try to score runs at the rate of at least three runs per over," said Sehwag.
Talking about India’s chances to make a comeback in the series, the former swashbuckling opener gave only "30 percent chance" to Virat Kohli and company.
"As of now, it looks like only 30 percent chance is there of making a comeback. It is going to be very tough from now on. Also the Indian team management should look whether conditions at the Centurion warrant a place for Ravichandran Ashwin," concluded Sehwag.
The second Test between South Africa and India will start on January 13 at SuperSport Park, Centurion while Johannesburg will host the third and final Test from January 24.