India will battle to remain alive in the ongoing three-Test series against South Africa when the two sides meet in the second Test, starting Saturday (January 13) at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
A lot was said about Virat Kohli-led team's chances of becoming the first Indian team to clinch a series in South Africa after the phenomenal run they enjoyed at home over the last two seasons.
Also read: Team News and possible playing XIs
However, the narrative seems to have changed after the 72-run defeat the visitors suffered in the first Test in Cape Town earlier this week. India's listless batting display on the Newlands track that offered a lot of bounce and lateral movement for the pacers dashed hopes of revival of India's overseas fortunes under Kohli.
Contrary to expectations, Indian pacemen, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar and debutant Jasprit Bumrah, made good use of the conditions as the visitors managed to bowl out Faf du Plessis' side in both the innings.
Needing 208 to go 1-0 up in the series, Kohli and co. squandered one of their best opportunities to win an overseas Test as Vernon Philander picked up a career-best 6/42 to bowl out India for 135.
No need to panic: Kohli
Kohli and his men have come back quite a few times in the past (2-1 win in Sri Lanka in 2015, 2-1 win over Australia at home in 2017) after losing the first Test of a series. However, the young team's mental strength and resolve will be tested in South African conditions.
Kohli though believes that there is no need for the batting unit to panic while facing "difficult bowling spells" from South African pace battery, which will miss the injured Dale Steyn in Centurion. 21-year-old pacer Lungi Ngidi is likely to make his Test debut to complete a pace quartet, which will also have Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.
"I don't think we need to panic because of (batting) collapses. People need to apply themselves much better. You should have solid technique, be ready to face bowling spells which are going to be difficult. We need to embrace that. So, I don't think there is any need to panic on that front," Kohli told the media on the eve of the second Test on Friday (January 12).
Centurion will serve another lively track, but there are chances that the bowlers might not have as much lateral movement as they had in Cape Town. Indian batsmen, who don't like the ball moving around, thus have one less thing to worry about as they eye a comeback in the second Test.
A lot is also being said about India's combination for the second Test. While vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is expected to continue warming the benches, Parthiv Patel and KL Rahul are likely to replace Wriddhiman Saha and Shikhar Dhawan.
It remains to see if the team management also decides to tinker with the bowling attack that impressed in Cape Town as speculations are rife that Ishant Sharma might replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar, given the former might prove handful in fast and bouncy conditions.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The second Test between India and South Africa will start at 10am local, 8am GMT, 1:30pm IST on Saturday, January 13.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3; Live streaming: Sony LIV
South Africa: TV: SuperSport 2; Live streaming: SuperSport live
UK: TV: Sky Sports Cricket; Live streaming: Sky Go
US: Willow TV
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier.
Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Jasprit Bumrah.