Former India all-rounder, Mohinder Amarnath is of the opinion that the current 0-2 scoreline in favour of the Proteas going into the dead rubber at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg could have been avoided had the Indian batsmen applied themselves better.

The visitors lost the first two Tests quite convincingly, as they were left searching for answers in front of a star-studded pace bowling attack from the Proteas.

Writing a column for Times of India, Amarnath said batting had been India’s worry especially ahead of the tour of England and Australia at the end of this year.

“The batsmen are not handling the South Africa fast bowlers with the best of techniques at least where their footwork is concerned. When playing on a faster track, you need to move early, but most of the batsmen are moving the same way they would on a sub-continent track. It works at home, but on faster tracks, you have to move early and get into position: you should be on the move when playing against fast bowlers on faster tracks,” wrote Amarnath.

“The dilemma for the team now, as they go into the third and final Test, is how to go about it. They have tried a lot of combinations and permutations which have unfortunately not worked out, so how they will plan for this match will be interesting.”

Amarnath also raised issues over India’s selection criteria.

“There has been too much chopping and changing, and while that may work at home, it’s different when playing abroad on a different kind of soil and attack,” he wrote. “They have to do something different to compete with South Africa. Perhaps a slight change in the batting order might work. We all remember the famous India-Australia Test at Kolkata when Laxman came in at No. 3 in the second innings, and look what happened! All it took was one change, and India made a dramatic turnaround in the match. It just might work again, who knows?

He also felt Shikhar Dhawan should return as an opener after missing out in the 2nd Test.

“There has been too much chopping and changing, and while that may work at home, it’s different when playing abroad on a different kind of soil and attack,” he wrote. “They have to do something different to compete with South Africa. Perhaps a slight change in the batting order might work. We all remember the famous India-Australia Test at Kolkata when Laxman came in at No. 3 in the second innings, and look what happened! All it took was one change, and India made a dramatic turnaround in the match. It just might work again, who knows?

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