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Bounce in Bengaluru a treat for Proteas Women says Wolvaardt

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India traditionally dishes out slow and turning surfaces, conditions that the South Africans tend to struggle to negotiate, but Bengaluru, where the tour starts with the three-match ODI series, could be kind to the visitors in that it sometimes offers bounce.

Proteas Women captain Laura Wolvaardt says the pitches in Bengaluru may help her team’s cause. File Picture: Courtney Africa, African News Agency (ANA)

THE INDIA Women’s team are powerhouses in women’s cricket just as much as the men, with the side being particularly dominant in their home conditions.

This makes India a uniquely tough challenge for the Proteas Women outfit as the multi-format tour gets under way with the first ODI at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday (10am start, SA time).

Being on the subcontinent, India traditionally dishes out slow and turning surfaces, conditions that the South Africans tend to struggle to negotiate.

What makes the tour more daunting for the Proteas is how the Indian bowling attack is curated for their own conditions, in that they have swing bowlers who can extract any movement there is with the new ball up front, before their world-class spin bowlers look to keep things quiet in the middle overs.

This is particularly concerning for South Africa, given that they lost a series against a very similar Sri Lankan bowling attack a few months ago in East London, in conditions that resembled what they will most likely face during this tour.

Bengaluru, where the tour starts with the three-match ODI series, could, however, be kind to the visitors in that it sometimes offers bounce.

And the city’s high-altitude nature will give the South Africans a comforting feeling as it resembles the highveld.

However, when the tour moves up to Chennai for a one-off four-day Test and a three-match T20 series, there could be very little resemblance of home conditions for the visitors.

“When I was here (Bengaluru), it was a nice wicket to bat on, but I’m not sure if it will be similar at this time of the year,” Proteas captain Laura Wolvaardt told the media this week.

“This has actually been fairly similar (to home) so far in training. It’s been pretty bouncy and coming onto the bat pretty nicely, which is sort of similar to what we face in Potch and Pretoria. I think we’re at altitude here as well – I’m guessing that’s why.

“But you never really know what to expect, because sometimes you get a wicket here that’s really slow and turns a lot more than what we’re used to. So, that differs quite a bit to what we’re used to back at home.

“For the Test match and the (T20) stuff in Chennai, we’re expecting a bit of slower conditions, so we’re trying to replicate that as good as we can. In the past, the spin has been a big issue for us. It will be a big challenge.

“(We’re) just working on different things batting-wise specifically, and what we can do to combat that and to combat slower spin, and just face a lot of spin, because India are known for their high-quality spinners. So, it’s about facing as much of that as we can.”

The Proteas will take confidence from the fact that they have first-hand experience of the Indian conditions since Wolvaardt, Chloe Tryon, Marizanne Kapp and Nadine de Klerk played in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) earlier this year, a women’s version of the IPL.

Ayabonga Khaka was also in the squad that beat India 4-1 in the ODI series and 2-1 in the T20 series in India three years ago.

However, they will still have to be at their best to beat this new generation of Indian players who play a lot of cricket both domestically and in internationally.

Wolvaardt said that they are expecting an explosive Indian batting line-up and an overall tough tour.

“The Indian Women’s team is a really great cricket team, and they have played a lot of good cricket recently. And with the WPL as well, just having that game-time and playing some explosive cricket,” said Wolvaardt.

“The WPL was absolutely amazing. Luckily a few of us were able to play in the tournament (WPL) as well, with myself being able to get a few games and to get used to the conditions, which was nice.

“They have world-class players, but we’ve done our homework on that, a lot of discussions – and hopefully we have our plans sorted out by the first game.”

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