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Cricket news - South Africa hope for change of fortunes right from toss

Du Plessis has lost nine tosses in a row in the sub continent.

So what's ailing South Africa on this tour? Is it the batting, that has struggled to set things up for the bowlers? Could it be that their bowlers have been outperformed by their counterparts? There's enough to build strong cases for both. But it's indisputable though that these problems are interwoven. Would it help the batting then, if they didn't come out looking at daunting first innings scores set by India? There's more than a good chance that it might, they believe.

At least it has now come to a point where Faf du Plessis, South Africa's captain, who has now lost nine successive tosses in Asia, is desperate to even the odds for his team. And so, he might probably someone else to toss the coin, he revealed in his pre-match press conference in Ranchi. The toss has played an all-important role right through this series and preceding ones in India. No team likes to bat fourth, when the pitches tend to kill a batsman's ego.

And 2-0 down, the visitors don't want to taste that feeling anymore. But if the toss change-up leads you to think that South Africa are leaving their fortunes to fate, you'd be wrong. For Faf, clear as ever, has it worked out on what needs to be done to be better against India, in India.

"For me, it's about overpreparing," he says about his own game. "I want to make it as difficult as possible in the nets. So that when I come to the middle, and it does spin then I've at least tried and prepared for it as best as possible. For me, it's just about putting myself in a position where I feel like I'm prepared. Whatever happens after that, happens after that. But it's really important that you're prepared as best as you can and make it as tough as possible."

There are multiple reasons for that train of thought from the skipper. For starters, he reckons that the dark and drier Ranchi pitch "will spin". Surprise, surprise. But there's also a need to improve upon his own scores. While talking up the importance of putting up big first innings totals, du Plessis was also a touch disappointed about his own returns in the series. He has two fifties in four outings with a highest score of 64.

"There's a lot of chat around Joe Root getting fifties and stuff like for all of us it's all about converting. I'm not any different to those players. When I get to fifty, I want to get a hundred. I've done it twice already in the series (55, 64). There's no reason for me not to go on and get a big one. That's a challenge that I have for myself. Because I understand that sixties is not going to win a Test match for us," he says candidly.

Candidness is one quality that hasn't deserted this team. Whether it was Temba Bavuma's honest acceptance of criticism or du Plessis's own admission of personal disappointments. Dean Elgar followed suit when he threw some light on exacting things off the field.

"It's a challenging tour. You get stretched as a person, you get stretched as a cricketer. I think you get to know yourself quite a lot as a person when you come to the smaller places where the hotels are not maybe as good and you get challenged on the food you eat, potentially. And it's always a good learning curve coming to India especially, they're very street-wise and clever with the touring teams. They push your boundaries and they test you," said Elgar.

And with these battles ongoing, South Africa are trying to find reasons to keep their morale up. Both du Plessis and Elgar have urged their younger team-mates to not think about the plane back home already. They have put the focus on the World Test Championship and the forty points up for taking, as ways to keep the team motivated.

It'd need more than just the stimulus of words for South Africa to make up for the gulf that exists between the sides. But, perhaps it could all just start to fall in place if the designated toss-man gets it right.

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