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CAPE TOWN: MS Dhoni, the shrewd tactician that he is, spent a considerable amount of time at the nets keeping wickets. He usually does not practise keeping much in the nets. However, on Tuesday, the former skipper focused on collecting slower deliveries sent down the leg-side and attempted flicking the bails off. South Africa believe coming down the track to counter spin could be a strategy – as batting coach Dale Benkenstein believes defending won’t help – and it is here that MS wants to be ready.
SA batsmen train with five spinners ahead of third ODI
No respite from drought…
There’s been no sign of rain here and the ‘water crisis’ continues to remain the most discussed topic here and around the Cape. The Indian team too is wary about the struggle and Shikhar Dhawan says: “We are aware that we have to save as much water as we can, because people need it. We respect that”. However, for a drought-stricken city, the Newlands presents a different picture. It’s relatively green – not exactly lush – in an otherwise dry spell. For the record, the Cape Town authorities have extended the deadline of when the taps could run dry from April 20 to the month of May. “April is when rains are forecast,” say locals.
Indian ODI team now has X-factor to win anywhere, says Dhawan
Dry, flat belter?
The wicket at Newlands doesn’t look much different from the one dished out at Durban and Centurion. The question that will be on top of the minds of the hosts is will the track be as slow as the ones in the previous two matches. They do realise that their only chance to counter the Indians is by out-batting them in the game, until of course they find themselves more settled against wrist spin. Pacer Rabada believes there’s be some nip in the air, unlike other venues where swing alone was considered to remain the dependable quotient. “Cutters will come into play,” he says.
Klaasen for de Kock
The uncapped Heinrich Klaasen looks set to replace wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock. De Kock has been ruled out for two to four weeks because of an injury to his wrist, adding to South Africa’s cup of woes. “We’ve got players who have been playing in franchise cricket for a while and doing pretty well. Those three names that have dropped out of the team are pretty much irreplaceable at the moment. So, it just gives guys a chance to widen the pool so other players can experience international cricket,” says pacer Kagiso Rabada. However, the bowler refuses to spell out a possible combination for Wednesday. “You can find that out tomorrow,” he says.