Five things this ODI series can teach us about SA's ODI progress
In an age where five-match ODI series hold sway‚ six becomes quite the weird number.
In the absence of what could have been a interesting fourth test‚ a half-dozen ODI's will do.
South Africa have a lot to prove in terms of their standing as an ODI team while India will want to make up for their test series setback.
1 – Taming Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma goes by the moniker of “No-hit” in Tests and “All-hit” in coloured clothing.
Sharma is probably the most destructive and calculating batsman going around in 50-over cricket.
He's perfected the art of pacing an ODI innings. His last ODI innings was 208 against Sri Lanka‚ his third ODI 200.
His big scores may have come in Asia but he's got a template that works for him.
Six of his 16 ODI tons have come outside of Asia‚ which means he's due a big one in South Africa‚ pace and bounce may be his undoing red-ball cricket but works for him in white ball cricket.
2 – Master chaser Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has 32 ODI hundreds but none of them have been scored in South Africa.
This is a stat that should change over the course of six matches.
Kohli's chasing prowess from a numbers perspective (average of 95 in successful chases and 18 100's in chases) tells us everything we need to know about his batting abilities.
He tried to throw his weight around in the test series but South Africa bowled well to him.
The white ball swings and the pitches... well.. That's the next part.
3 – SA's ODI pitches are easy to bat on
The seaming monster seen during the Wanderers test is nowhere to be seen in limited overs cricket.
It was in South Africa where 400 was first breached and seemingly‚ batting in South Africa is a dream.
It's a necessity that ODI pitches produce runs because that's brings fans to the stadium.
All the grounds where the matches will be hosted have provided plenty of batting assistance even though Port Elizabeth is still subject to its fickle winds.
All prayers have to be with the bowlers.
4 – Are the Proteas fearsome without AB?
AB de Villiers will miss the first three ODI's but with Faf du Plessis‚ Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock‚ the spine of the batting still remains.
De Kock needs to find some form and very quickly while Du Plessis leaves his stone-walling ways in test cricket.
Amla is Amla and the one we saw in the Test series was one of the selfless displays that also showcased his astute cricketing brain.
There's also the likes of Aiden Markram and Khaya Zondo who have to make a name for themselves but David Miller has the most to prove in terms of being the ultimate salvage-man/finisher.
To answer the questions‚ the Proteas are still fearsome in AB's absence.
5 – All-rounder strength will decide the series
India know what they have in Hardik Pandya.
The first test at Newlands told everything we need to know about him.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris are proven performers but because of India's batting strength‚ they can't play in the same team.
With both sides filled with quality specialists‚ the series could be narrowed down to who has the better multi-faceted cricketer.
Pandya's has enjoyed South Africa's pace and bounce while Morris is now match-fit.
Phehlukwayo is also learning to find the middle gears that are needed to convert a sound start into an explosive finish.
It's going to be an interesting contest within a contest.