Cricket-India back to full strength as Jadeja returns for Newlands test

By Nick Said

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Ravindra Jadeja has returned to full fitness after missing the first test against South Africa with back spasms and could be in line for selection as India seek to level the two-match series in the second test that starts at Newlands on Wednesday.

The experienced left-arm spinner would also bolster India’s frail batting that amassed only 376 runs during the innings and 32 run defeat that means the tourists now cannot achieve their major aim – a first test series win in South Africa.

“Although we’ve had a brief chat with the management and the coaching staff about what we want from this game, and what we want from the bowlers, we’ve not completely finalised our playing XI,” captain Rohit Sharma told reporters on Tuesday.

“Everyone is available for selection. There’s no injury concerns. We will sit down in the evening and decide what is the right one.

“Having said that, I still feel that we’ve got a little bit of inexperience in our bowling. Sometimes when you have that, you’ve got to show some faith in them, show trust in them.”

India’s batting – and to a certain extent their bowlers – failed to come to terms with the lively wicket for the first test, which had pace and bounce.

Cape Town had traditionally been known for movement off the seam, though Sharma says at first glance conditions could be the same from the first test.

“The pitch looks similar to what it was (in Pretoria), maybe not so much grass, but there is enough covering of grass on the pitch,” Rohit said.

“We know exactly what is required when the conditions are like that. Based on the pitches, how the conditions are, you have got to respond to that.”

That may suggest India will not play two spinners, leaving Jadeja to fight for a spot with Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 1-41 from his 19 overs in the first test and scored eight runs across two innings, including a golden duck in his second visit to the crease.

India have also added uncapped seamer Avesh Khan to their squad after he impressed in the white-ball series and for India A against their South African counterparts last month.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)