India will be looking to level the series when the 2nd Test starts later today in Kolkata, after getting a good hammering in the 1st Test, India have one chance to stave off a rare home series defeat in this shortened best of two matches.
Having VVS Laxman back will be a big bonus for the Indians, they badly missed him in the 1st Test as their inexperienced batting line up couldn’t handle Dale Steyn and co. They also have headcase bowler Sreesanth available for selection again and he seems certain to come back into the side.
South Africa have only one concern, and it is a big concern. Graeme Smith is struggling with a fractured finger, can’t see him missing this match though for anything, think if the finger was hanging off Smith would still play, he will just want to be part of things and to lead by example as he usually does.
The bookies have this match down as a tighter contest, after totally misjudging the 1st Test they have The Draw as favourite at 23/20 with Bet365. India are 2/1 to level the series with Ladbrokes, Stan James and Totesport. And South Africa are 3/1 with Sportingbet and William Hill.
Expected this to be a closer contest myself, SA will need to bat as well as they did in the last match if they are to guarentee a series win, but they have been known to choke in sight of the finishing line in the past, although not so much in Test matches. India have a couple of big name players back and won’t want to surrender their home record, think a watching brief might be the order of the day to start with, and then reassess the match as it develops.