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Medini Mangala: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk. As always I have with me former South African batsman Daryll Cullinan to look back on the second day of the second Test in Ahmedabad.
Daryll, AB de Villiers made his first double-century. What did you make of his knock and the way he played the spinners, especially Anil Kumble?
Daryll Cullinan: Well, it was a sensational innings by de Villiers. We have known all along that he is a special talent. He had got some big hundreds for South Africa but I believe in terms of his career, it [this double-century] is a breakthrough knock under the conditions - away from home and with South Africa really looking to win the series by winning this Test.
The fact that he had batted for a good part of the day with Jacques Kallis would have had a big influence on how he played. But his confidence and his ability to rise to the occasion makes him a really special player. Let us hope that he will pick up from the likes of Kallis when they are gone and will become South Africa's premier batsman and one of the best around the world.
MM: Kallis shrugged off form concerns with a hard-fought century. He came in when South Africa had lost three quick wickets. How crucial was his knock and his partnership with de Villiers?
DC: Critical because de Villiers would have fed off Kallis in terms of how to handle [Anil] Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. The pace bowlers would never have posed a problem for South Africa under those conditions.
I had said after the first Test that Kallis is just too good a player, too classy a player and too hungry a player to miss out when conditions are this good and that is exactly what he did. [It was] a masterful innings. Kallis, we have to admit is really, truly one of the great players and when his career is done and dusted, [he] will go down as one of the greatest of all. It must be a great privilege for the likes of de Villiers to bat around such a class player.
MM: Agreed the pitch had flattened out but what do you think the Indian bowlers, particularly the pacemen, could have done on this pitch?
DC: I think the problem is when you have 76 on board, you have to get wickets and try and knock over the opposition to make some sort of a game of it. So it is very difficult to be patient and consistent. India only have themselves to blame. They batted badly and they are now asking their bowlers to perform the impossible. There wasn't a lot I thought they could have done, but they perhaps could have been a lot more patient and clearer about what they were trying to achieve.
For India the match was over on the first morning and that goes back in terms of their preparation - where is their focus at the moment and what are they hoping to achieve? They have been distracted by the IPL [Indian Premier League] and they are still living off their success in Australia. The problem with India is not the cricket they have played but how they came into this match. That is what they will have to address seriously to try and pull the series back from South Africa.
MM: South Africa lead by 418 runs and there are three days of play left. Do you see them declaring or will they bat it out? What do you think they should do?
DC: I think they will look to bat in the morning - get at least 500 ahead - and then say to India: "Come". It is clear to India that they will have to try and bat out two-and-a-half days.
They [South Africa] need to be bold. This is a great opportunity to win a Test and secure the series - make sure they cannot lose it. So they have to be bold now and they cannot just look to bat on. They should believe that with [a lead of] 500 on board and two days left - if they can't bowl India out in two days, then sadly I don't think they can do it in two-and-a-half days.
MM: Thank you so much for your views Daryll. We'll hear from you again tomorrow.