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Buoyant Indian batting faces tough pace test in South Africa

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 1:39pm IST | Place: Johannesburg | Agency: PTI

Gaining in confidence with every series, India's in-form young batsmen are set to be put through their sternest test this season when the team takes on the mighty South Africa in a three-match ODI series starting in Johannesburg on Thursday.

It is an ODI contest with context but that has got nothing to do with the political intrigue that led to this tour being shortened.

Nor is it just another three-match series between the number one and number five ranked sides.

This affair has a certain context, all of it pertaining to what happens within the boundary ropes.

For Team India, it will be an exercise to reaffirm faith in their young batsmen. This is the same bunch that has been busy lighting up cricket grounds with some breathtaking stroke-play.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, each have scored more than thousand runs in ODIs played this calendar year, each of them averaging over fifty.

There can be two ways to look at this statistic. First, they have scored runs in India, England, West Indies and Zimbabwe, in different conditions.

Their confidence is sky-high at the moment and in their respective purple patches, all they can think of is playing the next match and batting on.

Their great run has meant that the Indian batting has started to look top-heavy, and this is the second point, albeit a bit worrisome.

In 31 matches this year, Suresh Raina averages only 36. In 21 matches, Yuvraj Singh has scored at only 21.23.

In the last nine matches (seven completed innings each) against Australia and West Indies, they have fared worse -- Raina has scored at 22.42 and Yuvraj at 19.66, facing the same bowling as Dhawan, Sharma and Kohli, on the same pitches.

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