Durban: India face a daunting task to save the second Test by batting out the final day but fielding coach Trevor Penney was upbeat about eking out a draw, saying his batsmen know very well what is required of them.
India have eight wickets in hand and a full day to bat against a fiery South African pace battery. "The mood in the dressing room is just normal. Our batsmen know what their roles are and who the South African bowlers are. They have studied them and played against them. So we need to dig deep and fight the day out," Penney said.
"We have played good cricket over the last couple of weeks and the team is very upbeat about the possibility of trying to bat out tomorrow," he added.
India lost one more wicket than they would have wanted when Shikhar Dhawan was out caught by Faf du Plessis, with the fielder pulling off a stunning catch at short mid-wicket.
"At this particular stage, he wasn't very happy because the light was poor and they could have come off at any stage. I think he was pretty disappointed," said the coach, describing Dhawan's mood.
Earlier in the day, Jacques Kallis stroked his way to 45th Test hundred in his last match to put South Africa in a dominating position. India delayed the second new ball, bowling 146 overs with the first one, playing for time in this rain-curtailed match.
"It is a bit more variable with the old ball. We just wanted to test with reverse swing as well, that was the main reason. It didn't really allow the new batsmen to settle down, as we were relying on reverse swing and thought that was the best strategy," Penney said.
When asked specifically, if the pacers were tired after their outing in Johannesburg was a reason, he denied it.
"We batted a quite a long time in this match and then the rain began to show up in the first couple of days. So the bowlers have also had a break. It is just that the South Africans batted well in that middle period, especially Jacques who dug in for a lot of balls. He just defended and then scored off the loose balls," Penny replied.
India's stand-out bowler was Ravindra Jadeja who returned his best-ever figures in a Test innings, taking 6 for 138. Apparently, spin could be a factor on the final day if the weather opens up and the conditions are dry.
"Jadeja bowled a lot of overs and got his wickets. But it didn't really spin, not every ball. I think we have the batsmen to deal with that," said Penney.
"Normally, the seamers are South Africa's biggest threat, aren't they? We have to see them off in the morning and obviously when the reverse swing comes into play. So even if we start well, the guys need to watch out as the day goes on," he warned the Indian batsmen, ahead of an important final day of this short tour.
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