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Kirsten keen for India to rebound strongly in Durban

Fast bowler Zaheer Khan, left, and veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar will be key players for India against South Africa.
Fast bowler Zaheer Khan, left, and veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar will be key players for India against South Africa.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cricket's top-ranked Test team India seeking to level series in South Africa
  • Hosts won the opening match by an innings and 25 runs in Centurion
  • India boosted by the return of key pace bowler Zaheer Khan following injury
  • South Africa batsman Hashim Amla will make his 50th Test appearance

(CNN) -- India coach Gary Kirsten has backed the tourists to bounce back in the second Test of the cricket series in his native South Africa starting on Sunday.

South Africa won the opening match of three in Centurion by an innings and 25 runs, and can claim India's No. 1 ranking in the five-day game with victories in Durban and then Cape Town.

The Proteas racked up a massive 620 runs for the loss of only four wickets last week as Jacques Kallis scored a double century and Hashim Amla and A.B. de Villiers also passed three figures.

India's key pace bowler Zaheer Khan returns after missing that match due to a hamstring injury.

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"The bottom line is, we need to get 20 Test wickets. I think we have shown in the last three years that we have the ability to get 20 Test wickets in any conditions," Kirsten told the Cricinfo website.

I think we have shown in the last three years that we have the ability to get 20 Test wickets in any conditions
--India coach Gary Kirsten
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  • Cricket
  • India
  • South Africa
  • Gary Kirsten
  • Sachin Tendulkar

"It's up to us to prove to everyone that we can do that here. It's up to us to prove to ourselves, too, that we can do that. Obviously it's nice to have Zaheer back. We look forward to whatever conditions are given to us, and we have the quality in our bowling lineup as well."

India's talent-laden batting line-up crumbled to just 136 all out on a rain-affected opening day in Centurion, but showed more fight in the second innings as veteran Sachin Tendulkar extended his world record of Test centuries to 50 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored 90.

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"It was a tough wicket to bat on on the first day. We probably let ourselves down a bit," said Kirsten, who scored more than 7,000 runs in 101 Test appearances for South Africa.

"We have got to assess the situation and get the best we can get out of the surface as a batting unit. I felt we were 100 runs short in the last Test, and we have got to apply ourselves."

Amla, a third-generation Indian, will make his 50th Test appearance for South Africa.

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The 27-year-old has scored 3,787 runs since making his debut in 2004 against India -- against whom he has made five of his 12 centuries, including his highest score of 253 not out in Nagpur this year.

Graeme Smith's team have won only three of the last seven Tests played at Durban's Kingsmead ground since he took over the captaincy in 2003, and suffered big defeats there to England and Australia in the past two years.

One of those victories was against India in 2006 when the tourists' tailenders fell 10 minutes short of batting out for a draw, with South Africa eventually winning by 174 runs.