Dravid still bullish
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 1st January 2007
Indian captain Rahul Dravid said he believed his team could compete
with South Africa despite a 174-run defeat on the fifth day of the
second Test at Kingsmead on Saturday.
Dravid admitted he was disappointed that his team were bowled out for
179 after most of the morning's play was lost to bad light. South
African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini took five for 48. But Dravid said he
was confident about his team's prospects in the series-deciding third
Test starting Tuesday in Cape Town.
"We would like to come back and fight really hard," he said. "The good
thing is that we only have a couple of days between this and the next
Test match. There's not really much time to think or brood over it.
We've got to pick ourselves up. We've been competitive with them for
long periods in this series. We've won a Test match and we're close to
them. It's just a case of maintaining that performance and trying to
do a bit better than today."
Dravid said India's batting in the first innings, when they conceded an
88-run lead, had been a big setback. "If you go behind in these
conditions it's not easy, especially if you bat last," he said. "We
could have played a lot better in the first innings, especially on the
third morning when we lost a few wickets in quick succession."
South African captain Graeme Smith said it had been one of the best
Test wins of his career, following harsh criticism of the team's
performance after they lost the first Test in Johannesburg by 123 runs.
"We were honest with ourselves and that really helps in turning things
around," he said. "Every guy put up their hands. We had some good chats
in Durban and in the five days we showed a lot of character." He
singled out Ntini's bowling in the final innings after the fast bowler
had struggled to find his best form in the first Test. "I know Makky's
been searching for a few things. It's the hallmark of a really good
cricketer that when your team needs, you stand up. He did that today
and he was backed up by the rest of the guys."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided a lone highlight in a poor Indian batting
display. He made 47 before he was eighth man out, caught behind in the
last over before tea after adding 59 for the eighth wicket with Zaheer
Khan. After only 4.3 overs of play were possible before lunch, the sun
came out in the afternoon to give South Africa the opportunity to hit
back after the first Test loss. There were still some anxious moments
for South Africa before victory was sealed, however, as the light
started to fade after tea. The umpires checked their light meters
before the last two wickets fell in the space of three balls after tea.
India limped to 47 for four at lunch after Ntini dismissed both
overnight batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer. India, resuming
on 38 for two, lost Tendulkar to the fifth delivery of the day. Ntini
produced a virtually unplayable ball that cut back sharply and kept low
to trap India's star batsman leg before for nought. Jaffer followed
nine balls later when he played an injudicious pull shot that looped
gently to Andre Nel at mid-on. He made 28.
VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly kept the South Africans at bay after
lunch, putting on 38 for the fifth wicket. At that stage India were 85
for six. Dhoni and Anil Kumble resisted for 41 minutes. Andrew Hall,
the fifth bowler to be used, made a breakthrough with his first ball
when Kumble fended a lifting ball to Hashim Amla at short leg. Khan
and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth added 19 runs after tea before the former
was caught at third slip off Nel and Sreesanth was given out behind off
Hall two balls later.