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Statistical Analysis: A Look At India’s Pace Attack For The Test Series Against South Africa

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Virat Kohli’s men will have their task cut out when they take on South Africa in a three-match Test series starting January 5. After all the success at home in the last two seasons, the Indian team will be eyeing to carry the momentum overseas and produce something special in a country where they are yet to win a Test series.
As compared to the Indian teams of the past that visited South Africa, the current crop of players in the side look like having a realistic chance to do something positive. What bodes well for Kohli is his pack of pacers, and the attributes they associate themselves with. There is depth and variety among the five pacers selected to play against the Proteas.
The situation they find themselves in is different after a long period at home with just two away tours in between to West Indies and Sri Lanka. The conditions in South Africa is a different prospect altogether and this is just the beginning of a stern test that await the side. Tours to England and Australia await as the year progresses.
It will be interesting to see how the pace battery acclimatises to the surroundings there. Kohli had asked for green tops prior to the series against Sri Lanka in order to prepare for this tour. South African pacers gave a glimpse of what is in store for India after sailing past Zimbabwe in under two days. There will be lateral movement and bounce as often seen here and the Indian bowlers will have to step up to cash in on the same.
Here is an analysis of the pacers India have at its disposal and the attributes they carry to provide a challenge for the hosts.
Ishant Sharma: The senior most of all the bowlers, Ishant has completed 10 years in the international scene. He has visited South Africa twice to play during his career and has the knowledge of what can be in store. Ishant has the capability to bowl at consistent lengths and be economical too. In South Africa, he hasn’t quite lived up to the reputation as someone who has delivered the goods. Now with all the experience in his side, it is time for him to lead the show.

  1. With 79 Tests to his name he has 226 wickets.
  2. Has taken just 12 wickets in five Tests in South Africa.
  3. Best overseas bowling figures is 7/74 against England at Lord’s.
  4. Out of his 226 wickets, 147 have come overseas.
  5. Has 6 five-wicket hauls overseas.

Umesh Yadav: Like Ishant, he too toured South Africa in the last two series, but he did not get a single game. This time the scenario stands different. Umesh is a tireless workaholic and his ability to break partnerships is a plus. His knack of picking wickets is a positive aspect of his game despite giving away runs at times. His out swingers mixed with a good hold on the bouncer could serve him well. It will be a big test for him given his last major assignment away was against Australia in 2014-15, where he picked 11 wickets in 3 Tests.

  1. Umesh has 99 Test wickets from 36 matches.
  2. Out of his 99 wickets, 39 have come overseas.
  3. Best overseas bowling figures is 5/93 against Australia at Perth.
  4. Has 1 five-wicket haul overseas.
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Mohammed Shami: Probably the most versatile bowler in the Indian ranks at the moment. Shami’s ability to move the ball and also bowl yorkers at a nagging pace is something he offers. Like Umesh he bears pace and can clock consistently over 140 kmph. Shami has toured Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand in his career so far. Importantly, success in Australia and New Zealand in his last two assignments will do him a world of good.

  1. Shami has 95 Test wickets from 27 matches.
  2. Out of his 95 wickets, 57 have come overseas.
  3. Best overseas bowling figures is 5/112 against Australia at Sydney.
  4. Has 1 five-wicket haul overseas.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The 27-year-old has played 19 matches since his debut against Australia back in 2013. With a healthy average and economy, Bhuvi has been a master in swing conditions that was seen in England. South African pitches will have more bounce and it helps bowlers who hit the deck hard. He adds another dimension to the attack but isn’t express quick, besides being a premier limited overs bowler.

  1. Bhuvi has 53 wickets from 19 matches.
  2. Out of his 53 wickets, 26 have come overseas.
  3. Best overseas bowling figures is 6/82 against England at Lord’s.
  4. Has 3 five-wicket haul overseas.

Jaspreet Bumrah: The youngster has been phenomenal for India like Bhuvi in ODIs and T20Is and has earned a chance to feature in Tests on basis of that. His wide range of variety and mixing up the deliveries so well can be a positive factor for Kohli & Co. His sling action and bowling yorkers has been a strong ammunition at his disposal. He is yet to play a Test match and could make his debut in the upcoming series.

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