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

Disappointed Dravid confident of saving the game

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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.

  • dummy4fb 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...

  • dummy4fb 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..

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