The South Africans generally get their wickets by having fast bowlers knock the stumps over. This is not the way it’s supposed to work in India. Aside from Dale Steyn’s efforts this week, there was the 2008 match where India were dismissed for 76.
On that occasion, Steyn and Ntini clean bowled Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. The fact that half the Indian side were all knackered from doing IPL promotion the night before perhaps contributed to the fact that they were all out in a symbolic 20 overs exactly, but still.
For a lot of sides, taking wickets in India seems impossible and they struggle to come up with a plan. The pitches don’t offer much bounce and they tend to take spin. You have three options:
- Pick another spinner
- Devise unusual tactics
- Just plough on as if nothing’s any different
The first option’s often disastrous, because while the pitches are spin-friendly, the batsmen are not. The second option’s often painful, because unusual tactics are generally ones that don’t work that well, otherwise people would use them more. Nasser Hussain’s ploys of off-side wides to Sachin Tendulkar and Ashley Giles bowling a leg-side line to everyone else were most painful for those watching.
South Africa have gone for option three and there’s a lot to be said for that. Make allowances for conditions, but don’t allow them to dictate to you. Play to your strengths.