Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has advised Indian batsmen against playing expansive "strokes" in the second Test of the ongoing three-match Test series, starting today (January 13) in Centurion.
The former India captain, who has hit 1,161 runs, including five tons, in 15 matches in the "Rainbow Nation", also said that the Indian openers will be key to the team's batting performance as they need to see off the new ball.
Virat Kohli blamed the team's below-par batting effort for their 72-run defeat in the first Test in Cape Town earlier this week. Contrary to expectations, the visitors' pace attack stepped up and bowled South Africa out twice in the match only to see the top-order fail and squander opportunities to win the Test.
The likes of Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and captain Kohli himself failed with the bat in both the innings, struggling to adapt to the pace and lateral movement the Newlands track offered.
"If they had been patient in Cape Town, India would have scored the bulk of their runs between 50 and 80 overs. In Centurion, the openers have to take a lot of responsibility to see the new ball off," Tendulkar said, as quoted by Hindustan Times newspaper.
He added: "Batsmen should concentrate in the first 25 overs and look to accelerate after 50; bowlers should bowl in the right areas, and more importantly, remain positive as a team.
"Look, Test cricket is all about understanding and adaptability. What you enjoy in India, you don't enjoy overseas. In India, with the SG ball in play, you can get off to a flier. The bowlers only get the advantage between 20th and 50th overs when reverse swing comes into play.
"In South Africa, it's exactly the opposite. The first 25 overs belong to the pacers. Indian batsmen can't be playing strokes they do in home conditions."
As it turns out, India are looking to replace Dhawan with KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha with Parthiv Patel for the Centurion Test in order to bolster the batting.