Ahmedabad: South Africa have found a chink in Virender Sehwag's armour which they hope to exploit during the second test against India starting on Thursday.
Opener Sehwag struck the fastest recorded triple century in the opening test of the three-match series in Chennai, which ended in a draw on Sunday. South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said his team had noticed a weakness while analysing the video replays of the Indian opener's innings.
"When we had a look at it, the first pull shot that Viru played was at 312," Arthur told a news conference on Tuesday. "We think we can target him with short balls into the body. We think he cuts very, very well.
"Third man then becomes an attacking option for use and we'll target him with such short balls into the body early on and see how he manages with that,” he added.
Sehwag, 29, hit his career's second triple century in the match, lashing 42 boundaries and five sixes in his innings of 319 that came in just 304 balls.
While the pitch was benign in Chennai and the conditions draining, especially for the speed merchants, Arthur said it was a lot more bearable in Ahmedabad.
"It is a lot like Johannesburg," Arthur said of the weather in Ahmedabad, adding that the conditions would suit his pacemen.
"We have the quicks who can get it up at 140 kmph. So (we can try to) cramp him (Sehwag) up, get him into playing the pull shot," Arthur said.
India is faced with several fitness issues with batsman Sachin Tendulkar ruled out of the game because of a groin injury.
A final decision on the fitness of captain Anil Kumble will be taken on Wednesday, while left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh went wicketless and looked well below his best on his return from injury.
It is unclear if young fast bowler Ishant Sharma, out of action with a foot injury since returning from Australia, will recover in time to play. Arthur felt Tendulkar's absence could prove to be a big blow for the hosts.
"You lose a guy like that, it takes a huge chunk out of the team. It will be interesting to see what India will come up with: whether they stick to the plan of playing six batsmen or whether they decide to play five batsmen, (wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra) Dhoni at six and five bowlers,” he said.