A few points here and a few points there - barring the T20I rankings, which mean little from a bilateral perspective anyway - the two countries compete neck to neck in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test and ODI rankings.
Watch South Africa take on India in the first ODI, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10:55am on Thursday. Though India have fond memories of winning against England here in the 2003 World Cup and of course, for registering the famous Test win in 2010-11. Off late, we are being inundated with a lot of fast bowlers. That is right‚ one-day worldwide lovers: it is a six-match series.
To South Africa's misfortune, they've lost out on AB de Villiers for the first three One-dayers. But De Villiers will miss the first three games because of a finger injury he suffered during the third Test. Thakur is expected to generate pace and bounce from the South African tracks.
"We have said that Rahane is the third opener in ODIs". He laughs and adds. The only player to score three triple-hundreds in ODIs will be itching to score big after dismal performances in the first two Tests. Despite a Test series win, South Africa could not topple India as the No. 1 ranked side in the world.
"The conditions in the Test series were bowling friendly, but I was surprised how consistent the Indian seamers were". I think it's been a while since we played a six-match series. We can not think too far ahead.
"At the same time we have shown that if we put pressure back on the opposition they tend to crumble". It's a format they'll look to use to assert their dominance.
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Back in coloured uniform, the Mumbaikar is now focussed on guiding his team to win the ODI series.
Duminy has been in sparking form for the Cape Cobras in the One-Day Cup, and has been instrumental in leading the team to a home semi-final tomorrow - scoring 416 runs at an average of 52. The victory is all the sweeter as India all of a sudden looked like losing on the fourth afternoon till what turned out to be the last hour of the match with the Proteas very much on course to pull it off at 124 for one chasing 241 runs in the fourth innings. Karthik and Kohli will have a big job on their hands since they will surely be the ones who will have to try and stabilize the batting. For India, it's never been like that.
South Africa and cohorts waxed hypocritical when they tried to avoid facing the music, without surrendering the match in defeat to India, which should have been the only logical option since one side (India), had already batted and endured the pitch for the second innings. And yes, it tends to take a lot out of your body more than anything else.
"That said, changes could happen any time". While much of the rain has been forecast for the morning of the game, an interruption just after toss is probable.
"But this Indian team has the names on paper to change that". The generations have changed.
"There will always be times when things are not going your way, and then when things are going your way, it is important for you to keep things going. We will give some opportunities for young guys to come through in this series".
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