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‘Weren’t expecting this kind of pitch’

- Indian bowlers very skilful, says Domingo

Durban: South Africa coach Russell Domingo said that it would be foolish to “write off the Indian bowling attack” as the pitch at Kingsmead isn’t exactly to the liking of the home team as they square off in the series decider, here, from Thursday.

“Everyone writes them off, but they are very skilful bowlers. When bowlers from the sub-continent come here, they get excited about bowling in South Africa. But they have already developed their skills playing on non-helpful wickets,” Domingo said.

“In that light, the Indian medium-pacers are like the Pakistan attack, very skilful and threatening in such conditions. Their spinners are also very clever. They have subtle changes of pace and bounce, lots of variations, and they use the crease in different ways,” he added.

Domingo said that his team is ready to move on from the drawn Test in Johannesburg, where they almost chased an improbable target of 458 runs. “We have got to move on. Sure, it would have been a romantic story to win the last game. But it’s all done and dusted now, and we have to start again tomorrow.

“India can take a lot of positives from there and so can we. It will be two very balanced sides playing this Test match,” he opined.

The pitch here had behaved differently during the ODI series, especially in comparison to the Johannesburg wicket. And it seems to be the case this time around as well.

“The pitch here looks pretty dry and it is probably not what we were expecting,” said Domingo. “The groundsmen at different venues don’t really seek our opinion. The curators are all professionals and we trust their work here.

“But it will probably not be a 180-all out game Should be a high-scoring one. Over the last five to six years, the nature of the Kingsmead pitch has changed.

“I am guessing the pitch will be a lot slower than what we are accustomed to. So I am not sure whether the conditions will really benefit us,” he added. The hosts have to decide about their bowling combination as they prefer not to draw conclusions about the availability of Morne Morkel, who had twisted his ankle in the previous Test. “He seems to be okay. I haven’t talked to the physiotherapist (Brandon Jackson), but while briefly chatting with Morne, he seems to be fine. So that’s good news for us,” said Domingo.

The hosts are also looking forward to the openers getting the team off to a good start, something that the coach believes would be key to South Africa’s success.

“I firmly believe the opening partnership holds the key for us. If they can give us 80 to 100 runs, we then have a platform for the guys to follow. Graeme (Smith) and Alviro (Petersen) have been doing this for a while now,” Domingo stressed.

When asked specifically about the likes of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, both of whom couldn’t make much of an impact in the first Test, the coach seemed unperturbed.

“Hashim has been in great form for us for the last two to three years. He is going to get runs at some stage, probably in this match.” (PTI)