India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 3rd day November 30, 2004

'They made us work hard for runs' - Dravid

Rahul Dravid hopes to extend India's lead © Getty Images
Ray Jennings threw a few punches at the post-day press conference on day three, in a move that may soon come to be known as the Jennings counterattack. Irked yesterday by remarks that South Africa had batted too defensively and looked like they were playing for a draw, Jennings remarked, "I didn't see too much attacking cricket from the Indians today. Basically there's been one batsman who's batted really differently in this Test match. That's Virender Sehwag, who played a lot of one-day cricket out there. The rest of the Indian batsmen looked like they had fallen asleep. We've put a stop on the momentum they had yesterday."

Jennings said that South Africa had decided not to take the new ball because the old one was reverse-swinging (the South Africans have used just the one ball for an innings that is now 125 overs old). "We felt the new ball would go off the bat quicker, while the old one was reverse swinging and was also harder to hit because it was softer. We might take the new ball tomorrow morning."

Jennings also gave an optimistic take on his team's prospects in the match, saying the wicket was getting harder to bat on, and India would have to bat last on it. "I'm looking forward to seeing India bat on the fifth day chasing around 250."

Rahul Dravid said that India would like to extend their lead, 54 overnight, to about 120 or 130 on the morrow. "With a lead like that we could really put them under pressure. Ideally we'd have liked to make another 40 runs in the day, but they made us work hard for their runs." He defended Sachin Tendulkar, who made another low score today, saying that people needed to remember that Tendulkar had been out of cricket for several months early in the season and was only just recovering his touch. "I've seen Sachin struggle before and he's always come back strongly. I expect the same this time."

Chandrahas Choudhury is a staff writer on Wisden Asia Cricket magazine