Steyn: India’s batsmen are frightened now

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Proteas pace bowler Dale Steyn. Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Durban – Proteas' fast bowler Dale Steyn believes that Indian batsmen have been left frightened by South Africa's quick bowlers and could again struggle to cope in the second one-day international to be played in Durban on Sunday.

The hosts thrashed the world number-one side and world champions by 141 runs in the three-match series opener at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“I definitely think so (that their batsman are frightened),” Steyn told the pre-match press conference at Kingsmead on Saturday.

“I don’t see many of our guys walking off the field with bloody fingers or ice-packs on the ribs or stuff like that.

“It definitely was a wake-up call for the Indians. It's not Mumbai where the ball doesn’t get higher than the stumps, so it's going to be hard to play here.”

Steyn, who is South Africa's premier fast bowler, was part of a six-man pace attack at the Wanderers, which included Morne Morkel, Ryan McLaren, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell and Jacques Kallis.

“I'm not going to give them any advice, that's for sure,” said Steyn, when asked how the Indian batsmen could improve in the second match, which is a day game in the coastal city.

“I think, with the ball, they really lack somebody that can get pace up there. They have the one guy (Mohammed Shami) who can bowl quickly, but then they have Ishant (Sharma) sitting on the side. He's the one guy who can bowl over 140 kilometres (per hour).

“And then we have some really good batters, so you need guys that can spin the ball a mile, or that can bowl really quickly.

“The Wanderers didn’t offer the turn that their guys could have used, but it did offer something off the deck, and they didn’t have that. We used it very well and if you don’t have that, you're going to struggle in South Africa.”

Steyn did warn that India was not the number one ODI side in the world without reason, and he expected they may have a better chance on what should be a slower track in Durban, where rain could play a role after severe wet weather over the past month.

“The conditions are always a little bit different here in Durban compared to Johannesburg, there's always a little bit more bounce in Johannesburg and this wicket seems to have gotten a little bit slower and flatter over the years,” he said.

Virat Kohli, of India, the number-one ranked batsman in the world, disagreed that they were afraid of the Proteas' pace.

“I don’t think anyone in this Indian team is frightened of anything, regardless of the loss the other day,” he said.

“You didn’t see anyone closing their eyes to bouncers or anyone getting out just throwing their bat around.

“We should be good enough to tackle the pace and come up with the goods, and I think we will see a much-improved performance from the batters and bowlers tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Proteas' management confirmed on Saturday that Graeme Smith had returned to Cape Town to prepare for the two-match Test series, although he remained on injury stand-by.

Vernon Philander had fully recovered from a shoulder strain, but Imran Tahir remained in doubt for the game. – Sapa

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