South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 2nd day December 17, 2010

Disappointed Dravid confident of saving the game

85

Rahul Dravid is not a man for false bravado. At the end of the second day, with India 230 runs behind, with three days to go and eight South African wickets still standing, Dravid didn't promise to show "what batting actually means", but said that the team believed they could get out of this rut.

"We are way behind in the game, that's pretty obvious," Dravid said. "We are far behind. But yeah we have got to bat well in the second innings. Yeah, it's going to be tough, but we have got some quality there. We have shown some fighting spirit in the last couple of years. We have got to believe that we have got that and we are going to have to play well."

Dravid is not alien to India's slow starts on important tours, but was distraught the team went back to old ways. "I thought we had come a long way over the last few years to correct that," he said. "Over the last decade we have tried to correct that. We sometimes do tend to start off slowly, and in a three-match series you cannot afford that sort of thing."

Dravid, though, can't do anything about one of the reasons behind this particular slow start. "In an ideal world, you know, you would play a warm-up game or a couple of warm-up games before a tour like this," he said. "But we don't live in a Utopian world, we don't live in a perfect world, you have got to make do with what you have. We tried to do the best we could, we came here as early as possible - some of us - and practised a bit. The conditions yesterday were a bit different from what we have practised on also, but having said that, there's still a lot of cricket left in this series. We have got to keep our heads up, and we have got to show some fighting spirit with the ball tomorrow and later with the bat."

Despite the weather leading into the match, South Africa are not looking for an adventurous declaration just as yet, which could mean India will begin their second innings some time after tea on day three - weather permitting and assuming South Africa won't collapse against the run of play. That would leave India more than two days to bat, facing a deficit of around 450.

"We just can't think about how many runs behind we are, and how much time is left," Dravid said. "We have got to play ball by ball, hour by hour, session by session, we have to bat for long periods of time. We can't afford to look too far ahead, we are so far behind in the game."

That the pitch has eased out considerably does give Dravid hope. "We saw today that it did get a lot better. It will be interesting to see how it plays as the game goes on. We have got to still bat really well, with us so many runs behind on the fourth and the fifth day. It's a good test, it's going to be a great challenge."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A.Afker on December 20, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    @All Indian Fans- All you are questining why other teams players can not score in Indian pitches?...Who can say that others not scored in IND. For example take IND last home series with NZ. Almost most of the NZ scored centuries in IND,out of which few of them made there best ever test innings in those innings (like Mccalum,Kane William etc), These are few batsmans who scored Double ton in IND (Andy Flower,Amla,Devilliers,Mahela,Macculum etc).These batsmans are not Indians.So your arguments was wrong.Whereas IND are really Flat track bullies unlike others.

  • KarachiKid on December 18, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Apart from Dravid and Sachin, most of the Indian batsmen are different versions of "flat track bullies". And barring Zaheer Khan, they dont have any world class place bowler. Harbajan can be handful on spinning tracks.

    The main culprit are the flat tracks prevalent in the Sub-Continnent. Thats the reason why any Sub-Continental team would find it hard to main number 1 or 2 spot for longer periods of time. Pakistan is a bit different than other Sub-Continental teams who home and away record was even from late 80's to mid 2000's. Last five years, there have not been many home series for Pakistan, otehrwise, Younis, Yousuf, Butt might have been able to add another 5 points to their test averages.

  • on December 18, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    I agree with you Ganesh ... Our folks r reacting like KinderGarden Kids...

    Its not a Hindi Movie folks but its real time cricket.

  • sweetspot on December 18, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    HELLOOOOO!!!! India did not invent the ranking system. Nothing wrong with making the best use of it, though. Win or lose this series, all you India bashers eat this - India will still be #1. I could not care either way, with the WC and IPL4 being much more exciting affairs.

  • Veera86 on December 18, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    I don't understand why there are lots of criticism on the indian pitches and india playing lot of matches at home... When Indians can score lots of runs in these pitches, why cant other teams who compete for no.1 score on the same pitches.. When SA can demnad for bouncy pitches when they play on their home turf why cant india demand for pitches that suits them when they play on their home soil... And the real fun will be where people who criticize now will keep their face when SA and other teams compete for the WC in the Sub continent.. Not far away guys soon India's time will come... And we dont have a captain who retires from test cricket just after losing one test match away..lol.. We have a captain who analyzes on the team's weakness and takes necessary steps to improve the performance in the next game...

  • Test_Match_Fan on December 18, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Gambhir Dravid and Laxman will pull off another Napier. Don't expect much from Tendulkar, he will choke as usual in match saving situations

  • Sam_Patel_US on December 18, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    Leave indian team alone....specially those ones who r trying to judge indian team's no 1 ranking status....i bet majority of them never even hold a cricket bat in their lives and trying to comment on national teams. what knowledge do they have to make such comments. If indians pitches r falttrack and batsman's paradise then why only indian batsman can score on those wickets and not foreign batsman...only bowler's from both teams should struggle on flat tracks...excuses...excuses all the time for failure...southafrica is playing better cricket in this game than india...and which is the reason indian team has got lot to catch up in this game. Don't try to writeoff indian team...to under-estimate any international team and start thinking u r better than others...that's the biggest mistake u can do. Well done southafrica for playing good cricket for last three days...and good luck to team india to get thru the challenge posed by southafrica....Please have respect for both teams...

  • on December 18, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    This year's usual dialogue goes on...Blame it on Selectors...Srikanth why did you select Sachin,Dravid it must have been Uthappa..Irfan Pathan!!!!!!!!....Whenever India fails we can blame it easily on Selection issues...regional politics..poor indian tracks...no pacy pitches...I can go on copy pasting this post in every other article..most of the readers do the same without any sense

  • cricketclubber on December 18, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    yeah right!!!!...... we will loose on the 4th day. hahahahahahah.

  • rohit_rebel on December 18, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    I am confident that our team would bounce back... look at the amount of experience our team has in terms of the batsmen it has.. dont be awfull forgetting that these were the same guys who made us proud all these years...Go India Go... I would the curse our board for not giving a practice match on such an important tour and that too happening after 15 months of cricket at home.. Hope our board would be handled by some experienced cricketers but not by the unruly politicians..

  • A.Afker on December 20, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    @All Indian Fans- All you are questining why other teams players can not score in Indian pitches?...Who can say that others not scored in IND. For example take IND last home series with NZ. Almost most of the NZ scored centuries in IND,out of which few of them made there best ever test innings in those innings (like Mccalum,Kane William etc), These are few batsmans who scored Double ton in IND (Andy Flower,Amla,Devilliers,Mahela,Macculum etc).These batsmans are not Indians.So your arguments was wrong.Whereas IND are really Flat track bullies unlike others.

  • KarachiKid on December 18, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Apart from Dravid and Sachin, most of the Indian batsmen are different versions of "flat track bullies". And barring Zaheer Khan, they dont have any world class place bowler. Harbajan can be handful on spinning tracks.

    The main culprit are the flat tracks prevalent in the Sub-Continnent. Thats the reason why any Sub-Continental team would find it hard to main number 1 or 2 spot for longer periods of time. Pakistan is a bit different than other Sub-Continental teams who home and away record was even from late 80's to mid 2000's. Last five years, there have not been many home series for Pakistan, otehrwise, Younis, Yousuf, Butt might have been able to add another 5 points to their test averages.

  • on December 18, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    I agree with you Ganesh ... Our folks r reacting like KinderGarden Kids...

    Its not a Hindi Movie folks but its real time cricket.

  • sweetspot on December 18, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    HELLOOOOO!!!! India did not invent the ranking system. Nothing wrong with making the best use of it, though. Win or lose this series, all you India bashers eat this - India will still be #1. I could not care either way, with the WC and IPL4 being much more exciting affairs.

  • Veera86 on December 18, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    I don't understand why there are lots of criticism on the indian pitches and india playing lot of matches at home... When Indians can score lots of runs in these pitches, why cant other teams who compete for no.1 score on the same pitches.. When SA can demnad for bouncy pitches when they play on their home turf why cant india demand for pitches that suits them when they play on their home soil... And the real fun will be where people who criticize now will keep their face when SA and other teams compete for the WC in the Sub continent.. Not far away guys soon India's time will come... And we dont have a captain who retires from test cricket just after losing one test match away..lol.. We have a captain who analyzes on the team's weakness and takes necessary steps to improve the performance in the next game...

  • Test_Match_Fan on December 18, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Gambhir Dravid and Laxman will pull off another Napier. Don't expect much from Tendulkar, he will choke as usual in match saving situations

  • Sam_Patel_US on December 18, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    Leave indian team alone....specially those ones who r trying to judge indian team's no 1 ranking status....i bet majority of them never even hold a cricket bat in their lives and trying to comment on national teams. what knowledge do they have to make such comments. If indians pitches r falttrack and batsman's paradise then why only indian batsman can score on those wickets and not foreign batsman...only bowler's from both teams should struggle on flat tracks...excuses...excuses all the time for failure...southafrica is playing better cricket in this game than india...and which is the reason indian team has got lot to catch up in this game. Don't try to writeoff indian team...to under-estimate any international team and start thinking u r better than others...that's the biggest mistake u can do. Well done southafrica for playing good cricket for last three days...and good luck to team india to get thru the challenge posed by southafrica....Please have respect for both teams...

  • on December 18, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    This year's usual dialogue goes on...Blame it on Selectors...Srikanth why did you select Sachin,Dravid it must have been Uthappa..Irfan Pathan!!!!!!!!....Whenever India fails we can blame it easily on Selection issues...regional politics..poor indian tracks...no pacy pitches...I can go on copy pasting this post in every other article..most of the readers do the same without any sense

  • cricketclubber on December 18, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    yeah right!!!!...... we will loose on the 4th day. hahahahahahah.

  • rohit_rebel on December 18, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    I am confident that our team would bounce back... look at the amount of experience our team has in terms of the batsmen it has.. dont be awfull forgetting that these were the same guys who made us proud all these years...Go India Go... I would the curse our board for not giving a practice match on such an important tour and that too happening after 15 months of cricket at home.. Hope our board would be handled by some experienced cricketers but not by the unruly politicians..

  • spiritwithin on December 18, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    if playing in india is so easy how come other teams struggle in india??...the fact is india's last tour to every country reads(in aus1-2 ,in Sl 1-1,in nz 1-0,in WI 1-0,in SA 1-2 and pak 0-1) and this record is better than any subcontinent team at the moment away from from home...infact even better than eng...right now only the first tests is going on,lets we wait for the series to finish and only then we can judge how good this indian team is

  • cricology on December 18, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    @ chaltis u faggot...from where the hell a stupid like u have come...every team is expert in their home conditions...and the players name like shewag and dravid u r trying to demean is actually are fathers of the players whom u support...u idiot...better keep such insane comments to ur self...

  • cooljack_143 on December 18, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    spare a thought for this Indian team who are fighting hard in this SA heat.You can easily comment sitting at homes under those warm heaters.Just think of being there in th eplace of players.And dont comment against India again.

  • Chaltis on December 18, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Indians have shown their color and ability! They love malodrama,that's why they dramtize their cheap victories at home soil, where rugby players (where no feet movement is necessary) like Shewag just bangs his bat on the straight balls and 'the wall' Dravid digests all the handbombs behind the shield and the Indians scream together what a player! what a player! How they manage to play so many matches on their soil, I wonder! On a neutral vanue they were blown away by Bangladesh and I think that would happen repeatedly! If SA declares on the eve of the second day the Indians would be bundled out on the third day! I think it is time to re-think India's test status! Ooops! they earn so much money for ICC! Let them play test cricket anyway! ICC needs their money. He-he!

  • Shripathi on December 18, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    This match will end shortly after tea on Day 4. RSA to win by an innings and 69 runs

  • Hraig on December 18, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Since comeback SA has never been no. 1 and they can never be, they are losers at big stages. India is No.1 rating saya that, lets first India slip to no.2 spot then we will discuss. Even if India loses 3-0 they stilll be no.1. As no other team match Indian team not Australia, England, Sri Lanka or even CHOCKERS ( SA ). If we can`t blame weather here in Ceturion then we can``t blame weather for 1992 semifinal and even not for 2003 world cup debacle.

    Now not a single team is dominant so there will be close race for at least 2-3 years about no. 1 also this good for cricket the end of one teams domination and all teams now equal, now condition is India, SA, Australia and England are at equal level, the team who play well on a given day will win.

  • coolbunny200 on December 18, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    @ Rahul Bhandari - Yo Rahul...Dude..its not about SA winning a series with Australia at home...Its about playing against your so called no 1 team and white wash them in the series.You guys just dont give up..dont you?

  • on December 18, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    guys chill....hw cn u expect indians 2 do well without any practice match...i knw dis is nt excuse bt jst Wait n Watch....indians wil surely cum hard....den v wl discuss abt no.1 ranking...

  • cooljack_143 on December 18, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    All you Indian fans who are against the team SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!! How can you COMMENT SO BRUTALLY on the BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD.YOu are all so unpredictable.YOU PRAISE AND YOU BACK STAB.I feel so sorry for you.India not doing good on bouncy tracks doesnt mean it sunfit to be No 1.The top position can never be judged based upon a single performance.Just think what would have happend if we would have won the toss and put SA to bat, DEFINITELY sreesanth and co would have taken early wickets well might be not like Steyn and Morkel did, but atlease 3-4, and would have made scoring incredibly difficult for the proteas.Let this bowling team play their game,dont put pressure on them.Well what can they do when the batsmen fail.Iam sure the same thing would have happend with SA bowlers if they would have had similar score of 136 to defend.So STOP CRITICIZING and ENJOY THE GAME.If you cant then please don watch crricketat all.You are all so pessimists and there is no room to comment for u here

  • rising_phoenix on December 18, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    Ok, India always starts badly whenever they are playing in AUS, SA, Eng, NZ. But I seriously don't understand how these comments of "flat track bullies" and "powdery 5th day spin tracks"! Seriously, who decides whether flat tracks or bouncy pitches are the benchmark??? The same goes for all these white countries, doesn't it?? They seem to have no clue on "flat tracks" or "spinner-friendly ones". True test cricketers don't complain abt different conditions. Probably it can be disputed which country between Ind or SA is truly no.1. But Australia???? Seriously, take a look at your team again..lol. If you are so good, why did you lose 2-0 recently? Atleast you could have drawn the series like India did in Australia. The least we can say is at least India loses gracefully. Not like Aussies (Hayden, remember?) complaining about "third world facilities" in India or the English complaining about "stars not being on their side" (1993 :3-0 whitewash)

  • rjansen on December 18, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    The Indians are not unbeatable at home either. They barely escaped with a drawn series by winning the last test in the last TWO series South Africa toured there.

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    INDIA IS GOING TO DRAW THIS TESH.........REMEMBER THE TEST AGAINST NEWZELAND...ITS HOME OR AWAY IT DOESNOT MATTER..INDIANS ARE LIONS ALL OTHERSS ARE LAMBS......ROCK INDIA

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Nothing to worry BCCI can organize a tour with another country suddenly to maintain (domestic) number one position. Few ingredients are there like influential umpires and no review system, distance traveling to foreign team etc. India should try to avoid all the foreign tours immediately and should concentrate on domestic tours and should enforced ICC to place all the future world cups in the country. As a next step to maintain No 1 (which also linked to Sachine's no of centuries and Dhoni's captaincy) oppose to neutral umpires and also mach referee (all should be appointed by BCCI). But as emergency try to find a way to boycott SA toure without any more matches.

  • Nadeem1976 on December 18, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    I hope india improves and hope they give some fight to SA this time around may be not in this match but still two more matches to go. Who knows. I hope #1 team may try to prove some point in this series if not then its ok.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on December 18, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    Two bad days at the office and the neighbours come running over to dance on the grave of the numero uno...Very sad sight indeed. sit back and enjoy Morkel at his Ambrose-esque best instead of running around proclaiming that these are faux no.1s. No batting lineup wouldve withstood that assault from Steyn and Morkel, including the great Aussie lineup of the last decade, the Indian lineup of the early part of this decade, Inzi-MoYo-Younis or Sanga-Mahela-De Silva-Dilshan.

  • HenryFonda on December 18, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    rahul bhandari.... i am an indian....south africa could have easily won the last series 3-1 if collingwood, onions had been better batsmen...bear that in mind....thank your stars...it could have been worse for india if instead of tsotsobe, friedel de wet had been playing

  • Jeyganesh on December 18, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    @LoftedShot.Do you think playing only seem bowling makes you good team.Remember SA crumbling to spin last time in India.To be a great team you need to play on all surfaces.The same applies for SA, you cannot say they are the best team playing only in SA conditions, chase a score of 150+ is ragging indian turners and everyone accepts SA is No.1.

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    @shovwar

    yes india are good at home but same cannot be said for sa they have manged easy wins against sub continenet teams but they have never won a series against australia in last 5 years at home .. same with england they never won agianst england ta home in the last two series

  • LoftedShot on December 18, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    Hehe...World No.1 team! haha. Flat track bullies pounding runs at home and then spinners taking 10 wickets on a powdery, 5th day pitch is one thing and standing up in front of seaming deliveries on true bounce pitches altogether another matter.

    After West Indies in 80s, it was only Australians who deserve to be ranked No.1 in 90s and early 2000s. Rest are all clowns, heroes at home, zeroes away. Hashim Amla and Kallis bat better on true bounce pitches where bowlers bowl at pace and seam than so called greats like Tendulkar, Dravid, LAX man etc. Bitter? Yes...but true.

  • rdx155 on December 18, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    In my views, i think many times indian team started a series well by performing & winning the first match & they lose or draw remaining & VIZ. If india failed to start off well by losing a match, they fought back strongly in remaining matches & won the series. Experienced players take out their best under pressure situation & indian players have proven this since last decade. e.g. In ODI's, india reached many finals of Tri-series or world cup & lost. Ofcourse this is a different ball game, but indian team have proved many times by performing under pressure situations. SA may win the first match or Draw, India gonna reply back strongly, that's for sure.. Beware SA ;-P

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    @shovwar its true australia plays better in india than india play in sa... but tell me one thing when did SA beat australia in SA last time.. they have always been beaten by australia at home..and comprehensively They were not able to beat engalnd in the last two series in SA..

    SO even though they have good away record u wud expect such a team to have a better home record and they have by far now managed to beat subcontinent teams at home comprehensively but sussies and england who has decent pace attack which help their bowlers.... So even sa is not perfect

  • devilzone-3 on December 18, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    Finally the bubble has burst and all the Indians can come out and see their true reflections in South African mirrors. I have always been a firm believer that Indian team has never been a genuine No.1 team in the world. They are so scared to lose this status that they don't even like implementing the UDRS System, because they know more loopholes will be highlighted in their performances. They have attained this status of being No.1 by chance and chances don't hold on longer.

  • GRVJPR on December 18, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    Come on India and It's Fans. It's easy to be with team when things are going well. It's when they are going against you , all support is needed.Don't doubt the abilities of our heroes.Look what great moments thay have given to us over the years. India will always comeback and break the backbone of proteas.( Recent examples: 1-0 behind AUS in 2008 came back and win at Perth(bounciest track in world where SA can't win),( then Recentli in Srilanka 1-0 down but came bak to win the last test without harbhajan and zaheer) (102-8 against australia recently VVS stood Up on a square turner and variable bouncing 5 day track to win the match and series), (VVS laxman 281 following on against might Aussies at full strength turned the series on its Head) (Guautam gambhir in NZ double hundred to save the game and win the series for INDIA). Other teams can only dream of such performanes

  • drake1234 on December 18, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Its quite ridiculous with some of us fans are quite contended with indian team doing well in india, when the true test came they fell miserably .This team lacks the ruthlessness, teath of a strong no 1 side and they played like bullies.Indian batting has dig a hole for itself in the first innings and now they could only rest in peace from here "NO WAY OUT "from this . Team members are big on words look at BHAJJi ,GAUTI AND MSD interviews and kittens when it came to action .. REALITY CHECK for so called no 1 ,which shoukd have happen before .. our bowling attack is useless it can't win us matches

  • on December 18, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    If you look at the legends of today's game they had a lot of first class cricket including games at other county cricket etc., Players whose temperament more suits the long grinding format should be encouraged to play more such matches & thereby shape their mental reflexes to suit themselves to the long format. Getting a few kids who have some T20 exploits playing at the big level will not produce any more SRT, RD, VVS, Punter or Kallis. I remember Zaheer reinventing his form esp his swing after being dropped from India squad & playing a season in English County! Asking for the heads of senior players without having the right replacements is stupidity! Succession planning is a management strategy in big corporates & it is not any different in sport

  • on December 18, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Indian team missing a bowler of Kumble standard... No mentor is available for bowlers apart from Zaheer... Ishant, sree and udankat lost their confidence and rhythm after few overs... Only bajji cud get some half-chances...Better we can play with 10 batsmen and Zaheer (considering bajji as a batsman).... These bowlers look much like part-timers... Best way to eradicate this is to exchange few pakistan bowlers for Indian batsmen or can hire sum South Afircan bowlers.. If their batsmen can play for england, why cant their bowler play for India...

  • sunil_just_loves_test_cricket on December 18, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    @kishorecv where your fiery Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel wanders when aussies and english boys thrash you. Steve waugh invincible s did again and again sometime 3-0 LOL where you fiery Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel wander that time leave aussies even poms kick you everytime when they come to SA forget overseas. They are just two ordinary bowlers who can bowl only and only in fast bouncy rain damed pitches not even in some good bowling pitches.......And remember against these two fiery bowlers Sehwag scored 300 LOL

    @Swine_Tom I appreciate your point of view this is Test Cricket

  • on December 18, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    What a shame for india the facts have proved indias is only good on there home ground. People are talking about Zaheer khan what will he do??

    Keep it SA

  • hypocrite on December 18, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    @shovrar,,don't you remember?The same Australian team defeated Saffers at their own backyard,,i.e.,in South Africa 2-1....what's the use when they can't win at home? South Africans can't handle pressure in crunch situations,they were expected to thrash Aussies then rofl ...So please get your facts right when you're commenting...

  • Boonidge on December 18, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Dravid doesn't seem to believe his own words. His own place in the team should is doubtful. You can't respect a guy who only has a strike rate of 42 in test cricket in batting no 3.

  • Dilbar786 on December 18, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    somone really needs a brain replacement....its already over dravid...ur not playing in india wher u can bat 5 days...

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    No point getting upset. Without a single warm up match leading to such an important series is a big folly. Such a stupid planning and don't expect miracles from these guys to go and perform in totally alien conditions. Just look at how much warmup games England played before and during Ashes. That's the way it should be for a level playing field. Having said that, losing the toss added to the woes. Nothing going right for the Indians. Just pity them, don't be so harsh. Accept it and hope they improve as the tour goes on.

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    @Rjindal

    Dear Sir,

    Currently, the situation with India's aging players and the need to find suitable replacements is reminding me of Australia's quest for the next Warne and McGrath. With Steve Smith, earmarked as the new Warne, Australia have failed miserably and although I am a big Murali Vijay fan, I struggle to see anyone- let alone Vijay, replacing Sehwag or Pujara replacing Tendulkar. Pujara is not a shadow of SRT and India could soon find themselves in a difficult position.

    I am also unsure of India's true status as Number 1, as they have always been the world's best team when playing in their own conditions. The last few years they have only played outside the sub-continent once- against New Zealand, and so I believe the main difference between India now and India 3 years ago is that they used to go and lose overseas.

    Hopefully India can come back and make it a tight series. Laxman will thrive off the "backs against the wall" situation in the 2nd innings.

  • dibbu on December 18, 2010, 3:50 GMT

    1. Not sure why everyone complains about Indian team not doing well abroad! How many teams visiting India do well? (that's abroad for them!). Every team would try to take advantage of home conditions. It's not rocket science! 2. If it is soooooooooooo easy to play on Indian pitches, how come visitors struggle, while Indians don't!?! 3. People need to take a chill pill instead of jumping the gun at the drop of a hat! It's a game. You win some, you lose some.

  • Legionnaire on December 18, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    Being Indian, I don't mind watching Indian batting performance such as this, if we have surfaces like these. Its better than watching them score heavily on flat tracks back at home, which is a yawning sight. Also it puts in perspective some of these inflated averages.

  • suddyv on December 18, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    All teams will have bad days like this. But good team is one which comeback strongly to their strength. I hope Indian team comeback with bat and bat like a number one team. This team is determined and eager for success. Yesterday indian bowlers looked toothless, no plan against batsman just waited for things to happen. Field was spread all around, not attacking neither off nor on-side. Aussies cricketers are good in planing things outs, That is why they have been number one for a long time. I certainly feel in this series it is lacking. Lack of bowling spearhead too may be a concern. I looking forward for an Indian comeback. Certainly south african had weather in their hand.

  • shovwar on December 18, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    THIS IS FOR ALL THE INDIAN FANS OUT THERE: 1. India is a great Team at home and they proved it.They played more test in the current period than SA and most of them at home and went ahead in the rankings. They Beat Aus at home, great, but not the same strong Aus that was beaten by SA in Aus in 2008. India had there chance to beat SA in India twice in the last 2 years but end up Drawing...That tells u the strenght of SA...They can play in India's spin friendly wicket better than India plays in the SA fast wickets. India never beat SA in a series in SA..won only 1 game out of 12. Where SA won more game in India and even won a series 2-0 under Cronje. But lets talk about presnt...India 139 all out...Excuses: 1. No Zak 2. Deadly pitch. Zak has nothing to do with 139 all out..he wud not scored a century.And the pitch...no.1 team should play good in all pitches. Austalia in their prime lost to India but did come back and won series in India later. SA innings: Give the SA Batters some credit!

  • abhi_cricinfo on December 18, 2010, 2:45 GMT

    Was the pitch rolled before day 2 ? I mean , Dravid said "We saw today that it did get a lot better". Its Flat now !

  • srini_jana on December 18, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    I am not sure how come Dhoni lose all of the important tosses...

  • Rahulbose on December 18, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Looks a sorry figure, poor Dravid left to defend the team. Words say we have to believe and fight , body language says something else.

  • phoenixsteve on December 18, 2010, 1:51 GMT

    @Vickgower Wow I know that the Indian team is oveerflowing with old men but had no idea that Dravid was in his eighties! (Octogenarian) He doesn't look or play like he's a day over 70....... ;~)

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    @CricketFan1980: Enjoy your delusions, mate. I'm not bashing India's #1 status, but let's face reality. In the past few years, SA has beaten every other Test team away from home in a series except India, where SA drew two series (better than all other teams except Aus at its peak). Yeah, we lost to Aus at home, gotta cop that, but let's look at India's record. When's the last time India beat Aus in Aus? Oh, right, never. And even forgetting Aus, let's remember that India has only ever won one single Test (one!) in South Africa, EVER. They haven't even come close to winning a series there, and they certainly haven't drawn one. This current series is certainly still far from over, and I expect India to fight back well, but let's not pretend like India's ranking isn't flattered by the fact that it plays most of its Tests at home in friendly conditions.

  • slowstraightbreak on December 18, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    Until India overcome their limitations in adapting to foreign conditions they will never be considered the undisputed no.1. All they have proved up until now is that they have mastered the art of being flat track bullies. As for the fielding.....it is still light years behind the likes of SA and Aus.

  • SnowSnake on December 18, 2010, 1:35 GMT

    While I have a lot of respect for rankings, I think India has to admit that its fast bowling, in particular, is really weak. I used to think that Indian fast bowling is not that bad, but I changed my mind today. Unless pitch changed between day 1 and day 2, what I saw on day 1 and day 2 was something totally different. If bowling on day 1 is true representation of SA capability and bowling on day 2 is true representation of Indian bowling then SA will win this series 3-0. Sorry, India, you might be #1 but you can't guard your keep.

  • Nampally on December 18, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    It is good to see Dravid's positive mental attitude even after poor batting and attrocious bowling.Why does the Indian team keeps giving excuses to Zaheer's injury for their poor bowling? India had full strength in batting but failed badly.India may have done better with Zaheer but then he alone could not have got the side out.The other 3 bowlers are still in the team. What happened to their bowling? India leaked away over 350 runs in less than a day to an average SA team after giving SA a big boost by collapsing for 136. However slow a team starts, 136 in a test match by a team with top 5 batsmen in the world is simply inexcusable. India rely heavily on Sehwag. India's only hope is for Sehwag to stay at the crease for at least 2 sessions and every batsman contributes. Raina & Ponting seem to have one common failure factor. SA will bat on day 3 and pile up 700 runs with sub par Indian bowling. Can India bat for 2 days? I think India need at least one day washed out by rain to survive.

  • cricket_for_all on December 18, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    I totally agree that any good team can collapse in a bad day. But the bowling is below par(I would say the weakest among the test teams). Please Indian fans; Instead defending your team just press BCCI to make lively pitches. Train good quicks; The new guy (fast bowler) can not even reach 130 km/h (At young age you should be able to reach 140km/h+ ). Look at Pakistan even though they are so weak their bowling is still one of the best in the world. Unless you don't prepaire lively pitches in India you will never be able to produce genuine fast bowlers period!!.

  • on December 18, 2010, 0:59 GMT

    i would say india hve a busy schedule only coz they like playin sri lanka every yr,dey cnt play abroad outside asia coz dey no der batsmen r only gud on flat plitches

  • AvidCricFan on December 18, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    By all measures, this game has slipped out of India's hand. With three days left, only rain can save the game. By the end of the day, SA lead will be over 500 runs and India will have to bat two days. India can give good fight, but not save the game.

  • on December 18, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Indians are not a dominant number One like windies of 80s and Ozs of 90s. They are statistically Number one, due to the decline in Oz firepower...

  • Stevo_ on December 17, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    @RJindal2010 "Best part with Indian team despite being number one they are not arrogant like aussies"

    I'm pretty sure you just made that up

  • akshay4india on December 17, 2010, 23:54 GMT

    After seeing the video, it does not seem like Dravid actually believes that a fightback is possible. It seems to me that he is forcing himself to sound positive. Having said that, I really hope that they will be able to save this test match.

  • Amar_bw on December 17, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    @sm77e - If India has flat pitches then why can't other teams win in India? In the modern cricket, India is number 1 because they at least don't lose at their home. These days, with such a busy schedule of cricket, I would think it is extremely difficult to perform consistently. I am sure India will bounce back and even win in SA.

  • CustomKid on December 17, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    @raunaq that is the most stupid thing I've read. It's like saying imagine Australia had to face Warne and McGrath not going to happen.

    I don't doubt India will fight to the end but SA showed how to bat and bowl in these type of conditions. A hundred on this track is a true hundred, not something made on a road that most pitches are these days.

    Amla is fast becoming one of my favorite players to watch (I'm an Aussie by the way) he is a very classy player and what more can you say about kailis.

    Either way SA have totally destroyed India with bat and ball which was to be expected especially given the lack of preparation. You cant beat test cricket in SA

  • phoenixsteve on December 17, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    How the hell can anyone be expecting a draw! Dravid must have a special rain dance because the Indians are being thoroughly THUMPED by South Africa and there is still 3 days to go! South Africa have probably already got more than enough runs - but whats the rush? Set India 750 with 4 sessions to go and then "unleash the hounds"..... Smith(ers). South Africa to win this one by an innings and at least 200/300/400/500 runs - depending on how much they bully these poor Indians!

  • CricketFan1980 on December 17, 2010, 23:07 GMT

    @BoonBoom - India #1 is not a fluke. This is just SA banter since they are hardly able to hold their own against England (draw 1-1) and Australia (2-1). India defeated England in England and white washed them all over the place in India (2-0 tests and 5-0 ODI) - mind you the overhyped Graeme Swann was playing in that series. If I remember correctly because of a green top, Sreeshanth bundled you guys out for 84 which is much lesser than 130 India managed on this test match. I wonder if the toss was won by Dhoni, where will those Indian bashers keep their faces. This test match is far from over and even if India lose this test match by an innings, they will come back strongly - they halted the unbeaten run of Australia two times, once in India and once in Australia at Perth just recently. It is foolish to count any of the top 5 teams out out contention only two days into a test series.

  • on December 17, 2010, 23:00 GMT

    @BoonBoom there is no need to compare India with WI and Aus when they were # 1s, of-course those teams were commanding as evinced by the fact that they were on top for so many years. India has been on top for barely an year and will probably get knocked off its perch soon but they will stay in the top 3. This is an awful performance by our batters and bowlers alike ( not forgetting our wicket-keeper who put Amla down when he was less than 20) but maybe we can do better in the remaining 2 Tests.

  • RJindal2010 on December 17, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    These days I think its pretty even competition in test cricket, Best part with Indian team despite being number one they are not arrogant like aussies. BoonBoom every team has to go through development phase like WI & australia when there exp players retire. India got a good back up in kohli, pujara, vijay & few of them has already shown their talent in ODIs. Good luck to test cricket & hope to see better performance from Team India.

  • Agni_25 on December 17, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    Go n fight. If India manages to salvage a draw, it would be registered as a brave comeback........................ I still beleive India can do it .............

  • harishdixit on December 17, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    Terribly disappointed to see India perform so miserably. I don't see any way up for them from here, but only more agony. Dhoni had said that the SA series will be good preparation for the world cup. If India loose all the three matches with a huge margin, then I think it will have a serious impact on their psyche for the WC. And if they do win the world cup, this series loss will severely dent their achievement as it would go to prove that India is good only in its backyard. Champion teams have consistently done well abroad and India should keep that in mind. On a positive note, if India do well in this series, it will be a huge confidence booster for them. Perhaps a repeat performance of the Kolkata test from VVS and Dravid is what we need.

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    I don't understand why can't dhoni employ the 7 slip field for SA batsmen to slow down the scoring rate, have the bowlers only bowl the off stump line and let the Saffers score. Looks like Dhoni forgot to take a leaf out of his own book. He used that so effectively in one match against aussies in the last tour.

  • raunaq on December 17, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    India is facing a tough task against the only competition they have. South Africans can get all excited about this position but one thing they should remember is that they have played some tricks off the ground by preparing a pitch that is over prepared to suit them in a big way. I am sure if South Africa faced Steyn and Morkel one the first day they would have collapsed as well.So they have no reason to feel proud. Indian bowling is an obvious weekness,whoever was expecting good things from Sreesnath needs a reality check. Look at his record, he is a true mediocre bowler who bowls 4 bad deliveries in an over. You cant win test matches with him and Ishant is miserably out of form for over an year now. he needs a break and some serious coaching. Maybe people are just expecting too much out of him, over his abilities. I don't think India can save this match and they will have a hard time even in the next game in Durban one of the fastest pitches in SF but they will surely perform better

  • sm77e on December 17, 2010, 21:38 GMT

    Indian team is a tiger in its territory. However, it is a mouse outside its country. The secret to their ranking is boring flat Indian pitches. They play 70% of their games in India. It is a pity how bad they perform elsewhere.

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    what happened to the four hundred thousand balls that gary kirsten made each player play in net session...guess all that effort is shot to hell....one bad session....and it erased all the memories of last two years...only the miserable memories haunt back...

  • SFGoldenGate on December 17, 2010, 21:24 GMT

    @SnowsSnake, loved your comment. I know its disappointing for Indian fans but fans enthusiasm will not win them the test. The players have to play well whatever the condition is. Number 1 team should not show excuses. Hope for more fight.

  • BoonBoom on December 17, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    This is Test Cricket and NOT Book Cricket. I doubt India can save this Test. The are ranked number by fluke. They dont have, they never had and they shall never have the authority that WI and Aus had when they were number 1. The way they batted in the first innings, then within 2011, we will see India out of top three.

    I wonder what will happen when SRT, RD, VVXL will soon leave and the new generation will take over??

  • SnowSnake on December 17, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    This series is looking really great. SA has shown excellent performance on both days. India needs competition like that. If you are number 1, you will be challanged. So, it was a dose of reality for India. A necessary lesson for them. I doubt that India will be able to save this test, but that should not stop them from playing their best.

  • PureTom on December 17, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    The last line of this article says it all. This is Test Cricket. Even Steve Waughs Australians faced huge first innings deficits at times. What made that team great was that you might get them down, but they were by no means out. How India handles the current Test is a much better indication of their status as No 1 than if the situation was reversed, though I'm sure they wish it was. It's also worth remembering that in recent times these two teams have a history of beating each other by large margins. If India do go down by an innings it will have very little bearing on the Durban test no matter how much the words "pressure" and "momentum" are thrown around. This is Test Cricket, it's not meant to be easy. Anyone who thinks South Africa got into the position they're in 'easily' is dreaming, they've played awesomely and while they've had the better of the conditions those conditions cannot single-handedly account for the current scoreline. India need to stand up, here's hoping they do

  • amit_mangal30 on December 17, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    96 on debut at lords, what else can one expect from this man. That's the way he has been the last 15 years and that is the way he'll be always. Dravid is THE crisis man for India and it's time he salvages this game for us and fixes his fourth inning blues. Time to regain the title - The Wall. Behold SA!!!

  • jupiterlaw on December 17, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    Although India are ranked #1 in the ICC rankings, they never seemed to rule with the authorith that West Indies and Australia had. India's hold on power always seemed tenuous and suspect. Now they are going to be deposed by South Africa in this series, due to the incompetence of their batsmen against quick bowling. The events unfolding at Centurion make India look like impostors. I can just imagine Lambert Simnel turning to Perkin Warbeck and saying "dude, what did WE do wrong".

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    First thing is not to give easy scoring oppurtunity to the SA. So field must be spread out on Day 3 to save boundaries and SA must be made to toil hard for quick runs. The more the SA spend the time, the less time India will have to bat.

  • srisri on December 17, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Go.. bat out of your skins. We would love to see that. Even to save the test India might have to post highest second innings total in history.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on December 17, 2010, 19:50 GMT

    I really hope rain stays away. It would be good to see Ind's toughness fully tested and SA don't deserve such a fine performance to be undermined by rain, they really have played at their best and has treated everyone to their full bag of tricks. I had my doubts about Alviro Peterson but the more I see of him, the classier he looks. SA will know that Ind haven't played at their best and hopefully won't meander through the 2nd inning thinking they have already won. Hoping for a good contest 2nd inning.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Always liked Rahul Dravid...no airs or graces, despite his achievements. When he, Sachin and Laxman call it quits, it'll be Old Mother Hubbard time for Dhoni and the team!

  • VickGower on December 17, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    Dravid: How I admire you for remaining so upbeat and optimistic (assuming you aren't beating your hotel room to pulp behind the scene). That is why you are a world class cricketer, and I am merely a fan. Good Luck, my lovable octogenarian. You will have to put up one helluva Wall to save this one!

  • kishorecv on December 17, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    I predict that India will be bundled out yet again for sub 200 and I wonder what blame is attributed to that. The 136 is attributed to the toss and damp conditions. It is obvious & clear that the Indian batting might does not have the skills to bat against a fiery Dale Steyn and Morne Morket.

    This series will be a 3-0 disaster and none of us will ever again talk about the No 1 spot.

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  • kishorecv on December 17, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    I predict that India will be bundled out yet again for sub 200 and I wonder what blame is attributed to that. The 136 is attributed to the toss and damp conditions. It is obvious & clear that the Indian batting might does not have the skills to bat against a fiery Dale Steyn and Morne Morket.

    This series will be a 3-0 disaster and none of us will ever again talk about the No 1 spot.

  • VickGower on December 17, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    Dravid: How I admire you for remaining so upbeat and optimistic (assuming you aren't beating your hotel room to pulp behind the scene). That is why you are a world class cricketer, and I am merely a fan. Good Luck, my lovable octogenarian. You will have to put up one helluva Wall to save this one!

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Always liked Rahul Dravid...no airs or graces, despite his achievements. When he, Sachin and Laxman call it quits, it'll be Old Mother Hubbard time for Dhoni and the team!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on December 17, 2010, 19:50 GMT

    I really hope rain stays away. It would be good to see Ind's toughness fully tested and SA don't deserve such a fine performance to be undermined by rain, they really have played at their best and has treated everyone to their full bag of tricks. I had my doubts about Alviro Peterson but the more I see of him, the classier he looks. SA will know that Ind haven't played at their best and hopefully won't meander through the 2nd inning thinking they have already won. Hoping for a good contest 2nd inning.

  • srisri on December 17, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Go.. bat out of your skins. We would love to see that. Even to save the test India might have to post highest second innings total in history.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    First thing is not to give easy scoring oppurtunity to the SA. So field must be spread out on Day 3 to save boundaries and SA must be made to toil hard for quick runs. The more the SA spend the time, the less time India will have to bat.

  • jupiterlaw on December 17, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    Although India are ranked #1 in the ICC rankings, they never seemed to rule with the authorith that West Indies and Australia had. India's hold on power always seemed tenuous and suspect. Now they are going to be deposed by South Africa in this series, due to the incompetence of their batsmen against quick bowling. The events unfolding at Centurion make India look like impostors. I can just imagine Lambert Simnel turning to Perkin Warbeck and saying "dude, what did WE do wrong".

  • amit_mangal30 on December 17, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    96 on debut at lords, what else can one expect from this man. That's the way he has been the last 15 years and that is the way he'll be always. Dravid is THE crisis man for India and it's time he salvages this game for us and fixes his fourth inning blues. Time to regain the title - The Wall. Behold SA!!!

  • PureTom on December 17, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    The last line of this article says it all. This is Test Cricket. Even Steve Waughs Australians faced huge first innings deficits at times. What made that team great was that you might get them down, but they were by no means out. How India handles the current Test is a much better indication of their status as No 1 than if the situation was reversed, though I'm sure they wish it was. It's also worth remembering that in recent times these two teams have a history of beating each other by large margins. If India do go down by an innings it will have very little bearing on the Durban test no matter how much the words "pressure" and "momentum" are thrown around. This is Test Cricket, it's not meant to be easy. Anyone who thinks South Africa got into the position they're in 'easily' is dreaming, they've played awesomely and while they've had the better of the conditions those conditions cannot single-handedly account for the current scoreline. India need to stand up, here's hoping they do

  • SnowSnake on December 17, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    This series is looking really great. SA has shown excellent performance on both days. India needs competition like that. If you are number 1, you will be challanged. So, it was a dose of reality for India. A necessary lesson for them. I doubt that India will be able to save this test, but that should not stop them from playing their best.