India in SA

India work as SA celebrate

2010-12-20 13:51
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AP)
Centurion - While South Africa celebrated a comprehensive innings and 25 runs win in the first Test at SuperSport Park on Monday, India's players made use of the Test pitch to start their preparation for the second contest, which starts in Durban on Sunday.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni bemoaned his bowlers' failure to dismiss South Africa, who scored 620 for four declared in their only innings after India had been dismissed for 136 after being sent in.

"The wicket was very different to the first day, but still we have played on flatter tracks and been able to get batsmen out," said Dhoni. "To win a Test match you need to take 20 wickets."

Dhoni said it was a problem that South Africa had been able to score at a rate of 4.76 runs an over. "If you are not getting wickets you have to stop the batsmen scoring briskly."

The Indian captain was also concerned that India had been unable to keep up with the required over rate.

As though to emphasise Dhoni's discontent, the Indian bowlers spent more than an hour bowling on the Test pitch after the end of the match.

The bowlers included left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan, who missed the first Test because of a hamstring injury. Dhoni said Zaheer was almost certain to play in Durban.

Dhoni said the first two sessions, when India collapsed to South Africa's pace attack after being sent in, had been crucial, but he refused to blame losing the toss for the scale of the defeat.

"Winning the toss is only the job half done," he said. "South Africa bowled really well. Once they got us out, they got a good wicket to bat on but they needed to bat well."

Dhoni said India's spirited performance in the second innings, in which they scored 459, was a positive to take to the second Test, which he said India were determined to win.

South African captain Graeme Smith, though, said his team wanted to put more pressure on the tourists, who are defending their number one ranking in Test cricket, after what he described as "a pretty dominant performance."

"We really want to build on this now," he said. "We're a very motivated team. We want to go Durban, prepare well and play well."

Smith said India would be under extra pressure after losing the first Test.

"When you go one-nil down in a three-match series it always is extra pressure on you. The next Test match becomes crucial in terms of the decisions you make, how you train, the selections you make and how you handle those things within the group.

"I know the Indian team always plays under pressure but there were high expectations, they are the number one team in the world and people expected them to play well here. If we can go to Durban and put in a good first few days there we can build up that pressure."

Smith said that although the toss had been an important factor he felt the pitch had not been overly difficult for batting on the first day.

"I don't think the wicket actually did that much. I expected it to do more than it did. To my mind, India expected more from the wicket than actually happened. They were very tentative and were caught on the back foot quite a lot. Our bowlers bowled well."

Man of the match Jacques Kallis, who scored a maiden Test double century to earn an ovation "which will live with me for the rest of my life", chipped in with a further warning to India.

"Durban is known for the most bounce in South Africa and hopefully that will add to our home advantage."

It took South Africa 26 minutes and 35 balls to take the last two wickets on Monday. Fast bowlers Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn took a wicket apiece as Sachin Tendulkar was left stranded on 111 not out.

Tendulkar added four singles to his overnight score and did not attempt to shield tailenders Sree Sreesanth and Jaidev Unadkat from the fast bowlers.

"I was surprised he made life so easy for us this morning," said Smith.


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