India look to become 2nd visiting side to win at Centurion
Johannesburg: India will look to become the only visiting side apart from England to win a Test at SuperSport Park at Centurion where the three-match Test series against South Africa kicks off on Thursday.
During their 2001 tour, the visitors were scheduled to play a Test at SuperSport Park, but the tie was deemed unofficial after match referee Mike Denness found six Indian players, including Sachin Tendulkar and then captain Sourav Ganguly, guilty of various offences in the previous match at St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth.
India`s fortunes in this series will depend a lot on how the six surviving members from the 2001 series – Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan -- perform.
Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher are the only two South Africans who had figured in that match in 2001.
With 11 victories as against three draws and one defeat -- all against England -- from 15 matches, the SuperSport Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Proteas.
Kallis has only missed one of those 15 matches and not surprisingly is the only Protea to have scored more than 1 000 Test runs at this venue at an average of 60. The other two players who have really cashed in at this venue are Hashim Amla and Ashwell Prince with averages of 85 and 67 respectively.
Kallis is nonetheless only fourth on the list of leading runs scorers in series between the Proteas and India. The top three are the Indian `big three` - Tendulkar, Sehwag and Dravid.
Both Sehwag and Tendulkar have scored five Test centuries against the Proteas and the man most likely to catch them is Amla after his phenomenal tour of India at the start of this year.
He scored three centuries including a double in his only three Test innings which gives him a total of four in all against these particular opponents. They have all been scored on the Asian sub-continent and have played an important role in the Proteas` amazing record in Test matches in India five wins and five defeats.
In home Test matches, the Proteas have a record of six wins against India as against a solitary defeat.
That defeat happened at Wanderers Stadium on India`s last visit to our shores in 2006-07.