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Shastri laments lack of preparation time for SA series

That lack of preparation has seen them fare poorly in South African conditions, and their batting has failed them twice in the two defeats so far.

India coach Ravi Shastri. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The third and final Test match between South Africa and India gets underway at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday, with the Proteas looking to complete a 3-0 series victory over the visitors.

The Proteas wrapped up the series with a hard fought 135-run victory at SuperSport Park in Centurion, with Lungi Ngidi the star on Test debut, claiming a match haul of 7/90, including a career best 6/39 in India’s unsuccessful run chase on the fifth day.

The series has been marred by the Indian team’s lack of adequate preparations ahead of the series, which was forced to be rescheduled to start in early January as opposed to the initial mid-December start, because of India’s series against Sri Lanka at home.

That lack of preparation has seen them fare poorly in South African conditions, and their batting has failed them twice in the two defeats so far. Head coach Ravi Shastri has lamented the lack of preparation for his side ahead of what he says was a big series for his team.

“In hindsight, another 10 days of preparation and practice here would have made a difference, but that is no excuse. It’s the same conditions that both teams play under, and I would rather focus on the twenty wickets that we have taken.”

Shasri also says that the itinerary needs to be carefully considered in the future, to allow his side to have enough preparation when playing series away from India.

“Unfortunately, the schedule was as such, we had games, but I think that the itinerary in the future needs to accommodate that and take that into consideration. Ideally, you would want to come two weeks before and prepare well.”

This is India’s first series defeat in nine series, but Shastri still believes that his side is still the number one Test side.

“We had our moments in the two Test matches when we looked like the number one Test side. When we bowled out South Africa for 130 and closed the gap thanks to Virat’s brilliant innings and had them two down with just 30 runs ahead. Not too many sides look half that when they come to India.”

India will be looking to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash at a ground they have enjoyed relative success on in recent times.

India’s record at the Bullring reads as having played four, drawn three and winning one. That one win came in 2006 when India beat South Africa by 123 runs to record their first ever Test win in the country.