Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“I didn’t see many of our guys walking off the field with bloody fingers or ice packs on ribs, so it definitely was a wake-up call for the Indians”
South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn has announced that the Proteas definitely left India shaking in their boots after thrashing them by 141 runs in the first ODI in Johannesburg.
While Steyn believes that India’s batsmen were left shell-shocked after the first ODI, he added that their fast bowlers need an injection of pace if they are to trouble the South African batsmen.
“I would say so,” Steyn said when asked if South Africa’s bowlers have frightened the Indian batsmen. “I would definitely say so. I didn’t see many of our guys walking off the field with bloody fingers or ice packs on ribs, so it definitely was a wake-up call for the Indians. It’s not Mumbai where the ball doesn’t get higher than the stumps. It’s going to be hard to play here.
“But they are not the No. 1 ODI side in the world for no reason. As MS [Dhoni] said in his pre-match [press conference], they have toured the world and have come to South Africa a couple of times, so maybe give them a week or two, one or two more games and they will start getting used to it before the Test matches. But [it was] definitely an eye-opener for them. Because it didn’t look like that when they were bowling to us.”
While India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the only batsman to put up a valiant fight during the first ODI, Steyn admitted that he was unimpressed with the performance of India’s middle order.
“I think our intensity the other night really blew them away,” Steyn said. “I think we also showed them that they have a weakness in the middle order. [Suresh] Raina, [R] Ashwin, Yuvraj [Singh], other batters in the end, they didn’t really look like they wanted to get in line. So hopefully we can exploit that a little bit more. But they have batters who can play and score. Shikhar’s [Dhawan] another guy who can really bat. So we are prepared for that too. Everyone is a target, to be honest with you.”
When asked what advice he would give the Indian bowlers, Steyn said: “I am really not going to give them any advice, you know. I think they are doing fine.
“If you really want to look at it though, with the ball they lack someone who can really bowl with pace up there. They need that one guy there bowling so. They have got Ishant [Sharma] sitting on the sides, he is the one guy that can bowl over 140kmph. And we have got really good batters like [Jacques] Kallis, [Hashim] Amla, [Quinton] de Kock, [AB] de Villiers in some good space now. I think you need guys who can spin the ball a mile or can bowl quickly.
“Wanderers didn’t offer the turn the other night that Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja could have got, but it did offer something off the deck and pace, and they didn’t have that the other night. We did have it so we kind of blew them away with that. Morne [Morkel] bowled really quickly, [Ryan] McLaren bowled with good pace, and in good areas, backed up by Wayne [Parnell], myself and Lonwabo [Tsotsobe]. So if you don’t have that then you will be struggling in South Africa.”
According to Steyn, the pitch in Durban has become a lot flatter and slower over the years, which might be good news for the Indians as they had absolutely no answer to South Africa’s pace attack in the first ODI.
“Conditions are always different here in Durban,” Steyn said. “Especially different from Johannesburg. Bit more bounce in Jo’burg. This wicket has seemed to have got a little bit flatter, a bit slower over the years.”
However, Steyn was also concerned about the fact that it has been overcast in Durban since both teams arrived there on Friday.
“Hopefully we can get a game because there is a lot of rain around here in Durban,” Steyn said. “We discussed it in the morning. We could go out there for 20 overs each, which is a bare minimum and still constitutes as a one-day international. So if there is a bit of rain around, we have to be prepared to face whatever comes.”