Acid test awaits India at Eden Gardens

Updated: 10 February 2010 10:39 IST

India's world number one Test team status will be at stake when they face South Africa in the second Test, starting from February 14 in Kolkata.

Acid test awaits India at Eden Gardens

India's world number one Test team status will be at stake when they face South Africa in the second Test, starting from February 14 in Kolkata.

After being thrashed in the first Test at Nagpur by an innings and six runs, India will have to pull their socks up if they have to save the crown.

Much criticised for selecting a self-destructive team for the Nagpur Test, Srikkanth and Co. have made a few changes in the squad for the second Test. They have left out green horns Sudeep Tyagi, Abhimanyu Mithun and Wriddhiman Saha.

India, who went into the first Test without Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman in the batting department, have been reinforced with the inclusion of Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik.

Karthik is in good nick as in the recent Duleep Trophy final, though his side lost, the Tamil Nadu batsman had slammed two centuries.

In-form Zaheer Khan, who did not get much support from Ishant Sharma from the other end, is likely to have Sreesanth bowl with him as the temperamental bowler is back after recuperating from an injury.

To give India an edge, the Indian cricket board has reportedly instructed the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) curator Prabir Mukherjee to prepare a turning track. However Mukherjee denied such reports but a turning Eden wicket should bring some smiles to Harbhajan Singh, who is back on his favourite hunting ground where he has picked 38 wickets in six Tests.

But despite all these repair moves, the big question still remains. Can India pull it off?

Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel destroyed Indian batsmen on their home soil while Paul Harris and Wayne Parnell made sure they kept scoring tight. South African batsmen looked better acclimatised to the conditions than the Indian batsmen.

However, India can take heart from the form of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Also their past record at the Eden Gardens should motivate them. India have not lost at the Eden Gardens in the last five Tests. So far they have played 35 Tests, out of which they have won 8 and lost 8, while 19 Tests ended in draw. Against South Africa, India have played two Tests in Kolkata with both teams winning one match.

But this time only avoiding a defeat will not be enough. Winning is the only option for India have to stay atop the Test pinnacle.



Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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