Conditions, conditions, conditions – that is the buzzword going into the second Test match between India and South Africa at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
With India triumphing in the first Test thanks to a spin-friendly pitch, all eyes were on if Bangalore would also oblige with another similar track, but overhead conditions have rendered that near impossible.
It has rained in Bengaluru for the last week, and with that depression from the Bay of Bengal affecting the weather quite a bit, it remains to be seen if India or South Africa will be left depressed on Day 1 morning of this second Test match.
You are normally told not to change a winning team, but considering this pitch will definitely help the fast bowlers early on, especially with the amount of moisture that is bound to be there, a tweak in strategy is in order, with skipper Virat Kohli, at his IPL home ground, admitting as much.
"Knowing the conditions here better than some of the other members of our squad will help me in giving the inputs that are required for us to win the Test match," Kohli said.
"[Conditions] do play a part, especially knowing that you might not have full game time. It does lead to a few changes.
"The team management and I have spoken about it, so we will make the necessary changes depending on the conditions and what the weather looks like in the next few days. It is important to keep all the factors in mind."
The likely scenario for India at the moment is bringing in an all-rounder – either local boy Stuart Binny or Gurkeerat Singh Mann – at the expense of an extra bowler, most likely Amit Mishra.
One player, though, definitely set to feature is India's main fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who is back after serving a one-match suspension. "With Ishant coming in, he brings a lot of experience," Kohli added. "He has bowled well in the subcontinent conditions, knows how to reverse swing the ball and can lead the pace attack.
"We just have to figure out according to the pitch and the conditions who will be doing the bulk of the bowling and at what stage of the game. I am very delighted that Ishant is back. The way he has been bowling – the way he bowled in Sri Lanka – he will bring a lot to the table."
South Africa have been hit by one injury after another, with Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn ruled out. JP Duminy and Morne Morkel, though, return, with Hashim Amla confident South Africa can bounce back, especially if the conditions favour their bowling attack a little bit more.
"With this kind of conditions and moisture around, it doesn't seem that this pitch will be like the one in Mohali," Amla said. "If the conditions suit seam bowling, it might help us a bit.
"India have got some decent seam bowlers as well, so let's not write them off just as yet. When the ball is moving and swinging, all you have to do is land it on a decent area. Irrespective of who is bowling it, it will be a good ball."
Update: Day 2 of the Test match was rained off, and it doesn't look too great for Day 3 either.
Where to Watch Live
Get the story on ABD getting an ovation from the fans HERE
Get the Score Update after Day 1 HERE
India vs South Afirca 2nd Test, Day 2 is scheduled for a 9.30 am IST (4 am GMT, 6 am SAST, 12 am ET) start. Live coverage of the Test match in India will be on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD3. The match can also be watched via live streaming online on Hotstar and Starsports.com.
Viewers in South Africa can watch all the Day 2 action on SuperSport, with the online live stream option on SuperSport Live. Audience in the US can watch India vs South Africa 2nd Test live on Willow TV, with the action can be live streamed on Willow TV online.
Sky Sports 2 will show the India vs South Africa Test match live in the UK, with the live streaming online option on Watch Sky Sports. Watch the second Test match in the Middle East and North Africa live on OSN Sports, while the match can be live streamed on OSN Play.