Gary Kirsten wanted to leave nothing to chance as India sought to correct the perception that they could only perform in their own backyard.
Bumrah said he would rather pick the positives, including getting A B de Villiers as his first Test wicket. So they might be interested to know that another‚ altogether different moustachioed‚ left-arm gunslinger took 6/67 in the second innings in Centurion's original first-class match. If India bowl first, they are probably done for. In fact, barring the Mitchell Johnson-led Australian attack that nailed the hosts in their own den back in 2014, no other visiting side in recent time has managed to beat South Africa here.
Do you really believe this team can make a comeback in the series? It is not that the batsmen have not coped with such conditions. The team kept its own counsel and didn't say a word. If it is just pace and bounce, they should be okay with a bit of application.
This, mind you, was with the most fêted batting order in India's cricket history. Several former cricketers have unanimously voted for Rahane and Rahul. Another win for South Africa will seal the series in their favour. India will be looking to rectify that in this match. "You might get out but it's important to keep coming at the bowler and making them feel, 'if you make an error I am going to score". "Flat-track bullies" was among the kinder jibes. "So we were just trying to be disciplined and stick to basics", he said. In the nets too, the pace bowlers got balls to lift off a length and anybody at Centurion will tell you that the Highveld region is known for the bounce in its pitches. Even the saner commentary has focused on nonfactors such as the lack of a warm-up game before Newlands.
The loss in Cape Town, paradoxically, will give India both hope and cause some anguish. These days, no home board makes an effort to stage a proper warm-up. The defeat to England in 2000 was the infamous one in which Hansie Cronje convinced Nasser Hussain for both sides to forfeit an innings in a rain-hit match and thus manufacture a result. To bowl South Africa out for 130 was commendable.
"When you are playing at home, you must play to your strengths". Most were that obscure.
It wasn't always this way. What was disappointing is the day after the Test which was the fifth day of the Test the "optional" practice meant that only four out of the six reserves turned up for practice. Tendulkar famously played for Mumbai against the Australians in 1998, carting Shane Warne to all parts on his way to a double hundred. India and South Africa have faced each other just once here in 2010. They won, but not before being pushed by a bowling attack that included a young Morné Morkel, Nantie Hayward, Alfonso Thomas, Friedel de Wet and Paul Adams. "We're more unsafe then", said Du Plessis.
What time does the match start?
"We were very well prepared", said Kohli after the Newlands game.
When asked about the moment he was made aware of his Test debut, Bumrah said, "There was a general discussion that I would play the match". It was a wicket where things were happening every day. Losing wickets in bunches never helps in winning Tests or consolidating your position.
Kohli's candour is a refreshing departure from the inanities that many global cricketers now specialise in, and it wasn't just for the sake of appearances. If the Indian batsman failed on the Newlands pitch, it would be even more hard to handle the more lively and bouncy pitch of Centurion.
Ravi Shastri, India's coach, played 80 Tests across 13 years and then spent two decades on the road as a broadcaster.
Those were Mitchell Johnson's figures in February 2014‚ when Australia won by 281 runs. The batting unit as a whole wasn't able to do well in Cape Town. Otherwise, this is as strong a line-up as India can field. It hasn't happened for the first time and it is not the last time either.