This Indian team seems to have a lot of spunk.
Their positive approach is quite remarkable.
After having been completely outplayed in the ODIs, one would have imagined a negative mindset. Dhoni made the first bold move by opting to bat after winning the toss. It was an authoritative message that his side was ready to face the battery of South African fast bowlers on a fresh first- day wicket.
The flamboyant Indian batsmen showed they had come with a plan to leave as many wide deliveries as possible. It is a difficult task for a natural strokeplayer to curtail his normal instincts and one could see an effort from each one of them.
Virat Kohli was simply superb.
He seems to be a player destined to become one of the greatest Indian batsmen and could be talked about in the same breath as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. He is fit, agile and well balanced in executing his shots. He uses the wrists wonderfully and can generate power through them as well as make subtle placements.
He must have practiced the pull shot a lot and one could see the pleasure in his eyes when he hit Dale Steyn convincingly to the fence.
The Indian bowling looks as dangerous as the South African attack. Zaheer Khan looked once again at his best while displaying his skill of moving and cutting the ball both ways. He looks fit and ready to bowl long spells.
Ishant Sharma also bowled with some fire and Mohammed Shami complimented with his variations.
Dale Steyn may have pace but he will never be rated as a great bowler till he masters the art of bowling an in- swinger. He has a good out-swinger and a skiddy bouncer but is far inferior to the great bowlers of the past.
Morkel has height and bowls accurately and menacingly. He looked the most difficult of the fast bowlers for the Indians before he got injured.
The wicket in Johannesburg seems to be an underprepared track which would have faced immense criticism if it had been in India. The advantage at the end will be India’s as South Africa will have to bat last on it. They are a team known to collapse under pressure and on such a wicket the chances of their chasing any total are quite slim.
Australia, meanwhile, has also shown that they are a team to reckon with. India, however, looks a team that will be Numero Uno by the time they finish with the South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australian tours in 2014-15.
(The writer is a former Test cricketer)