India in South Africa 2013-14 December 24, 2013

'We have more positives than them' - Pujara

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India and South Africa know it will be important to put the last draw behind them and start afresh for Durban - which might be difficult with only three days' gap in between - but India continued to try to claim psychological advantage after they pushed the No. 1 side to the brink in their backyard. Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 153 in the second innings in Johannesburg and was part of the highest partnership of the match, said South Africa had more reason to be disappointed after Wanderers.

"If we look at the last game, we have more positives than them because when we batted first the ball was doing a bit," Pujara said. "We batted well and when they batted in the first innings there wasn't much help for the bowlers so the kind of comeback we made in [their] first innings. On the last day we were expecting more movement from the cracks but it didn't happen. So I think they had the opportunity to bat well when the wicket was better and when we batted - even in the second innings - the ball was doing a bit. When they batted, at times there was a little bit of movement but they were lucky enough to survive."

In pushing South Africa to the edge, India also had to bowl their bowlers for longer than they would have liked considering the next Test starts in three days' time. Two days after the match, Zaheer Khan - he bowled more than he has ever done in a Test - and Ishant Sharma gave the optional training session a miss. Pujara reassured that recovery should not be a problem.

"Such close matches you expect in Test format," Pujara said. "It was a very exciting Test. Don't think there is any problem with the recovery. We are training a lot so we are fit enough to prepare for the next game, and there were a lot of positives for us to go ahead with a positive frame of mind in this match."

Emotional and mental recovery, though, might be a different issue. "It was difficult because we felt that we had a very good chance to win the match but just one partnership in one particular session didn't go our way," Pujara said. "So emotionally and mentally coming out [of it] and playing this match will be important. We have to forget what happened and focus on our plans after looking at the wicket tomorrow and work accordingly."

From what he has seen of South Africa's batting, Pujara believes India can bowl them out twice. "The kind of batting line-up they have we have got a very good chance to bowl them out," Pujara said. "Just AB [de Villiers] and Faf [du Plessis] were able to score big runs. Apart from them no one got big runs. So it's a positive sign for us. We also believe that we can get them out. Also if you look at the last session, they were cautious about not going for the target so they are worried about their tail-enders not batting through. So it's a positive sign for us."

India will take heart from the fact that Dale Steyn returned his worst figures in a Test, but will also be wary that Steyn, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis are all unlikely to fail in back-to-back Tests. Pujara was not getting drawn into any complacence regarding Steyn. "It's a good thing for us that he didn't get any wickets," Pujara said, "but he is a good bowler so we don't want to underestimate him. And we have to be careful against him even in this match so as a team we can't take him lightly. It's just that we had very good success, and we will try and continue the same thing in this match."

South Africa's spinner, though, is a different story. "Think [Imran] Tahir didn't bowl well," Pujara said. "Kind of expectations South Africa had of him, he didn't bowl well enough and they also knew that they would have to bowl [JP] Duminy and him because Morne Morkel was injured in the second innings so we took the advantage and wanted to capitalise when they were on and we were successful. On that wicket there wasn't much help for the spinners so I don't want to rate anybody but I think we batted well and Indians are known to bat well against spinners."

South Africa look more positive about Morkel's fitness than they did during the last Test. Pujara was not praying for his recovery, though. "It will make a huge difference for them because the kind of bounce he gets from the wicket it's difficult to score runs against," Pujara said. "They will have to bring in a new fast bowler, so whoever comes in hasn't been playing for them. Even when they played in Abu Dhabi I don't think he played that match. It's a new guy coming in and now they have to think about their bowling line-up. Steyn and Morkel are used to bowling in partnership so it will make a huge difference."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • abhinavpraneet on December 24, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    While India might take positives from an underdog perspective prior to the start of the match, in the match itself they had plenty of opportunities to win the match, but lack of aggression in certain periods of batting and bowling cost India a famous win. With 450+ to defend in 4th innings and more than 120 overs to bowl, you would favor your chances more than the opposition. While India would not be dispirited, they certainly would be ruminating their missed chances!

  • on December 24, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    Another one of the major positives for India from the first test has been Murali Vijay's performance. He succesfully stone walled the new ball attack. He literally took the mickey out of the attack and made the bowlers tired, especially in the second innings, which helped the later batsmen to attack. He was actually looking good for a big score in the second innings before being unlucky to get caught down the leg side. Here's hoping he further inflicts wounds on the so called "world's best attack".

  • Nampally on December 26, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    I would say to Pujara that real positive now is Vijay's batting on Day 1 of second Test. Of course Pujara's 50 is another expected positive. Pujara is the best disciplined batsmen that India had over the last decade or more. I have said this before- he has the patience of Vijay Hazare, technique of Gavaskar & defence of Jaisimha -3 past greats rolled into ONE. Now if India converts this to the 2007 Oval Test match Total > 600, then that is "real positive" for the team India. What eventually matters is the result & to be honest India set a winnable target of over 450 in the 4th innings to SA. Only the brain cramp of Steyn & Philander helped India to a draw. The real Negative for India not winning was playing with 4 bowlers. India had a chance to correct this but they have persisted with the 4 bowler attack again. Unless India hang on to every catch & is brilliant on the field, it is tough to get 20 wkts. Team composition was the biggest Negative & it sadly still persists in Test 2!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @Saud Choudhry, showing respect doesn't mean bending over backwards or prostrating on their knees. These are men with pride, adrenaline, testosterone and a craft to boot. Looks like any Indian player should not have self-confidence and should not be assertive. Wonder why? We shouldn't say that we had more positives. We shouldn't say that we are confident and we can compete. We shouldn't think if you are good enough to play, then so are we on a world stage. I think Pujara should have said we are useless, we don't know how to hold bat and we are past due date. Well, did you expect Pujara to go there and say, no we didn't have any positives and only SA had positives? Or both of us had positives? You are right. Pujara is not a sportsperson. And he doesn't know what is meant by taking more positives from a game. A pauper that he is in batting, how would he know as much as you do about positives? Yeah, right!! Amla is a giant and Pujara is no slouch! And neither is Kohli!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    Legitimate mode of dismissals that the opposition can claim against India:

    #1 Indian batsmen shall attempt a run if and only if they hit the ball straight to the fielder at a comfortable speed for the fielder to grab the ball without any risk of injury or emotional trauma or mental stress and then be able to throw it without any hurry. If Indian batsmen attempt a run failing to meet any of those conditions, then they will be given run-out legitimately.

    #2 Indian batsmen must hit a boundary not from in between the fielders but through the fielders' body (but how?). The gaps between the fielders are for allowing the air to flow freely on the ground. Indian batsmen shall not illegitimately hit between the fielders. If they do, then they are out, legitimately.

    #3 Indian batsmen shall be declared out if the ball goes in the air away from the fielders. Remember, Indian batsmen were already told the rules that they should always hit only to the fielders in air or along the ground.

    Truly..

  • on December 26, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    India played well. They dominated for the most part. But then SA came roaring back and to chase a total like that speaks volumes about their depth and talent. If Amala hadn't made the same dumb mistake twice, if Kallis wasn't given out mistakenly, if...... and that's a lot of ifs, who knows what the final outcome would have been. Pujara played very well. But to speak of the South Africans in the dismissive manner that he did, does not do justice to the world's best teams. Steyn is still the world's best quick; Amal is the best batsman on the planet. If Pujara aspires to reach their heights, he should learn to show more respect for these giants of the game.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    So, as per some fans' knowledgeable inputs and insights into cricket, the following shall be implemented with immediate effect in all matches that India plays.

    #1 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian player threatens to run-out an opponent. This will completely remove the chance of Indians indulging in any illegitimate run-outs.

    #2 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian bowler, pacer/spinner/part-timer, appeals for any inside edge bowled. This will completely remove the chance of Indian bowlers claiming a wicket for the above described incidents, should they occur.

    #3 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian fielder takes a running catch. The fielder was asked by the captain to stay in a certain place and so it is illegitimate for him to run and take a catch. As a punishment 5 runs shall be awarded to the opponents per over for the whole day. This will deter the Indian fielders from taking illegitimate running catches.

    Yours truly, Sweet-Grape Cricket Pundits.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @Harmony111, mate runouts are legitimate if and only if Jonty, Warner, Steyn, Ponting get direct hits. It is illegitimate if Azhar, Ajay Jadeja, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane, Kohli, Dhawan get direct hits. You see my point? That's called cricketing sense and not straw-man's argument. Next, getting bowled off inside edge is legitimate if and only if Mitch, Anderson, Siddle, Steyn, Broad, Philander, Morkel get them. It should be outlawed as illegitimate if Zaheer, Kapil, Shami, Yadav, BK, Srinath get them. Same again - cricketing sense and not straw-man's argument. Chris_P is just getting desperate. Leave him at that. Next, mate a side that is supposed to roll over and pretend dead gave SA a run for their money. Next, a side that is supposed to beat us black and blue in under 3 days, in reality couldn't win even on 5th day. You see, that is a huge positive for SA. Again, that is cricketing sense and not sour-grapes. Learn mate how to analyse cricket. ;-) you see my point nah?!

  • on December 26, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I think pujara should not be exposed to media more often.... he is naturally shy, he speaks straight to the point, and that is dangerous.... ashwin is the best speaker in this Indian team, and let him do all the press conferences.... ashwin is mature and knows how to speak according to situation.... none of the Indian team players can speak as ashwin does.... no offence to pujara, but he should not be exposed to media this early in his career. ....

  • kumarcoolbuddy on December 26, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    @blogossip, you said "SA didn't win because overs were completed" and for me this reason sounds very funny. First of all India was supposed to win and then turned to SA's side and finally drawn. Looking at SA's approach India could have easily won the match if Dhoini had approach aggressively on 5th day. SA really can't take pressure and it was proven in last hours on 5th day.

  • abhinavpraneet on December 24, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    While India might take positives from an underdog perspective prior to the start of the match, in the match itself they had plenty of opportunities to win the match, but lack of aggression in certain periods of batting and bowling cost India a famous win. With 450+ to defend in 4th innings and more than 120 overs to bowl, you would favor your chances more than the opposition. While India would not be dispirited, they certainly would be ruminating their missed chances!

  • on December 24, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    Another one of the major positives for India from the first test has been Murali Vijay's performance. He succesfully stone walled the new ball attack. He literally took the mickey out of the attack and made the bowlers tired, especially in the second innings, which helped the later batsmen to attack. He was actually looking good for a big score in the second innings before being unlucky to get caught down the leg side. Here's hoping he further inflicts wounds on the so called "world's best attack".

  • Nampally on December 26, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    I would say to Pujara that real positive now is Vijay's batting on Day 1 of second Test. Of course Pujara's 50 is another expected positive. Pujara is the best disciplined batsmen that India had over the last decade or more. I have said this before- he has the patience of Vijay Hazare, technique of Gavaskar & defence of Jaisimha -3 past greats rolled into ONE. Now if India converts this to the 2007 Oval Test match Total > 600, then that is "real positive" for the team India. What eventually matters is the result & to be honest India set a winnable target of over 450 in the 4th innings to SA. Only the brain cramp of Steyn & Philander helped India to a draw. The real Negative for India not winning was playing with 4 bowlers. India had a chance to correct this but they have persisted with the 4 bowler attack again. Unless India hang on to every catch & is brilliant on the field, it is tough to get 20 wkts. Team composition was the biggest Negative & it sadly still persists in Test 2!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @Saud Choudhry, showing respect doesn't mean bending over backwards or prostrating on their knees. These are men with pride, adrenaline, testosterone and a craft to boot. Looks like any Indian player should not have self-confidence and should not be assertive. Wonder why? We shouldn't say that we had more positives. We shouldn't say that we are confident and we can compete. We shouldn't think if you are good enough to play, then so are we on a world stage. I think Pujara should have said we are useless, we don't know how to hold bat and we are past due date. Well, did you expect Pujara to go there and say, no we didn't have any positives and only SA had positives? Or both of us had positives? You are right. Pujara is not a sportsperson. And he doesn't know what is meant by taking more positives from a game. A pauper that he is in batting, how would he know as much as you do about positives? Yeah, right!! Amla is a giant and Pujara is no slouch! And neither is Kohli!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    Legitimate mode of dismissals that the opposition can claim against India:

    #1 Indian batsmen shall attempt a run if and only if they hit the ball straight to the fielder at a comfortable speed for the fielder to grab the ball without any risk of injury or emotional trauma or mental stress and then be able to throw it without any hurry. If Indian batsmen attempt a run failing to meet any of those conditions, then they will be given run-out legitimately.

    #2 Indian batsmen must hit a boundary not from in between the fielders but through the fielders' body (but how?). The gaps between the fielders are for allowing the air to flow freely on the ground. Indian batsmen shall not illegitimately hit between the fielders. If they do, then they are out, legitimately.

    #3 Indian batsmen shall be declared out if the ball goes in the air away from the fielders. Remember, Indian batsmen were already told the rules that they should always hit only to the fielders in air or along the ground.

    Truly..

  • on December 26, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    India played well. They dominated for the most part. But then SA came roaring back and to chase a total like that speaks volumes about their depth and talent. If Amala hadn't made the same dumb mistake twice, if Kallis wasn't given out mistakenly, if...... and that's a lot of ifs, who knows what the final outcome would have been. Pujara played very well. But to speak of the South Africans in the dismissive manner that he did, does not do justice to the world's best teams. Steyn is still the world's best quick; Amal is the best batsman on the planet. If Pujara aspires to reach their heights, he should learn to show more respect for these giants of the game.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    So, as per some fans' knowledgeable inputs and insights into cricket, the following shall be implemented with immediate effect in all matches that India plays.

    #1 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian player threatens to run-out an opponent. This will completely remove the chance of Indians indulging in any illegitimate run-outs.

    #2 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian bowler, pacer/spinner/part-timer, appeals for any inside edge bowled. This will completely remove the chance of Indian bowlers claiming a wicket for the above described incidents, should they occur.

    #3 It shall be called illegitimate if any Indian fielder takes a running catch. The fielder was asked by the captain to stay in a certain place and so it is illegitimate for him to run and take a catch. As a punishment 5 runs shall be awarded to the opponents per over for the whole day. This will deter the Indian fielders from taking illegitimate running catches.

    Yours truly, Sweet-Grape Cricket Pundits.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    @Harmony111, mate runouts are legitimate if and only if Jonty, Warner, Steyn, Ponting get direct hits. It is illegitimate if Azhar, Ajay Jadeja, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane, Kohli, Dhawan get direct hits. You see my point? That's called cricketing sense and not straw-man's argument. Next, getting bowled off inside edge is legitimate if and only if Mitch, Anderson, Siddle, Steyn, Broad, Philander, Morkel get them. It should be outlawed as illegitimate if Zaheer, Kapil, Shami, Yadav, BK, Srinath get them. Same again - cricketing sense and not straw-man's argument. Chris_P is just getting desperate. Leave him at that. Next, mate a side that is supposed to roll over and pretend dead gave SA a run for their money. Next, a side that is supposed to beat us black and blue in under 3 days, in reality couldn't win even on 5th day. You see, that is a huge positive for SA. Again, that is cricketing sense and not sour-grapes. Learn mate how to analyse cricket. ;-) you see my point nah?!

  • on December 26, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I think pujara should not be exposed to media more often.... he is naturally shy, he speaks straight to the point, and that is dangerous.... ashwin is the best speaker in this Indian team, and let him do all the press conferences.... ashwin is mature and knows how to speak according to situation.... none of the Indian team players can speak as ashwin does.... no offence to pujara, but he should not be exposed to media this early in his career. ....

  • kumarcoolbuddy on December 26, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    @blogossip, you said "SA didn't win because overs were completed" and for me this reason sounds very funny. First of all India was supposed to win and then turned to SA's side and finally drawn. Looking at SA's approach India could have easily won the match if Dhoini had approach aggressively on 5th day. SA really can't take pressure and it was proven in last hours on 5th day.

  • SRAM20 on December 26, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    "IND w/o Pujara is totally finished"????? WTH????? Were you blind enough to not notice Kohli, Rahane and Viijay's contributions in that first test? Kohli scored 119 and 96, Rahane scored 49 in the 1st innings, Vijay scored 39 in the 2nd innings. Kohli and Pujara did the bulk of the scoring, but everyone (barring Dhawan and Rohit) chipped in with cameo efforts at some point in the first test.

    SA should worry more since the wicket for the 2nd test is a dry one helping spinners. India are mighty dangerous on such wickets. Its bread and butter for them. If the wicket stays the same, I expect India to stun SA and pocket a series win.

  • Nampally on December 26, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    Pujara, India cannot play a 5 day Test match with just 4 Bowlers. No body in their right senses will dare to do so after stretching ZAK to almost his breaking point & asking him to go at it with just 3 days rest. It is sheer lunacy if India do not include another seamer who has fresh legs. Even a young man like Morkel broke down in the last test. India was lucky to escape with no injuries. Having said that, do not temp fate! If India cannot take 20 wkts. they do not win. SA has at least 6 good bowlers & given half a chance they will get thru' Indian batting. They also have batting till #8. India has 4 Bowlers + just 4 consistent batsmen. Talking positives from past is futile when India drew a winnable test. Go forward & see what needs to be done to stay competitive. Right now India needs additional fresh legs. Don't bury your head in the sand & accept the deficiency with corrective action. It is better to Walk the Talk. Real action needed is a fresh seamer to fill the need of the Hour

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 26, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    @Greatest_Game stats do not tell the real story here and yes except dhawan no other indian batsman looked in much trouble. you are wrong doing that, here are some batting averages for you, Amla 20, kallis 17, duminy 3.5, morkel 7, steyn 16 did amla looked in trouble? or kallis? no or duminy? yes :). but the fact is if your batsmen can score 3 centuries in a match your batting has done pretty well, so both teams did well while batting in the first game. if you really follow cricket you would know that not all batsman can score runs in all the games and not all bowlers take wickets because its played by humans :D.

  • Harmony111 on December 25, 2013, 20:13 GMT

    @Greatest_Game:

    Yawn GG, you have tried to play this stat game with me many times in the past & each time I have ripped your attempts, then you stop replying & run away only to come back on some other article to repeat your dud tricks.

    You are using avg as a measure of looking or not looking threatening. A batsman could score 24 runs in 6 balls then get out & you would say look, he avgd only 24 so he must not have been threatening. You would also have gone on to say that he must have been in real trouble cos his avg is so low.

    I agree scoring runs is imp but what is equally or more imp is how you score them. This is why Kallis was never called a great batsman cos his run scoring style is ultra-boring, yawn inducing. Murali/Rahane scored few runs but faced Steyn & co with no real trouble (ignoring a few misses as that is bound to happen in a test).

    Rohit got out when a ball kept low, you call that trouble?

    Btw, Kallis avgd 17 & what about Steyn's avg? SA shud worry about them.

  • Harmony111 on December 25, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Chris_P:

    Ref -----"You talk about taking 20 wickets when your bowlers legitimately took 2 on the last day? Interesting. I'll see what he says after the next test. "---

    Now you are totally confused. You see, an innings has only 10 wickets and not 20. A test has two innings fyi.

    What this 'legitimately' thing? Are run-outs illegitimate huh? Was ABD's dismissal not proper? The only wrong decision was that of Kallis. You want to stretch that wrongness to cover other dismissals too? Isn't this desperation?

    What do you mean by 'after the next test'? If India lose so what? They were expected to lose anyways. India got batsmen who have played 4, 2, 3 tests, a bowler who has played 3 tests, a 35 year old bowler coming back & a bowler who refuses to grow (except his hair). Our best batsmen have played 19-20 tests only.

    India's #2 rank notwithstanding, this is a battle of unequals. This 'next test next test' refrain can go on for ever. Something will happen on some 'next test' some day.

  • m_ilind on December 25, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    Indian players now seem to have more cocky attitude than other sub-continental teams. Where has all the humility gone? I hope we are not adopting the Aussie style? India would do well to realize that they could have lost this game, but for some twist at the end.

  • Harmony111 on December 25, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    @Chris_P:

    I agree largely with you that SA showed immense resolve to first draw the game then come so close to win it then draw it again. But know what? Such things have happened. Teams have batted for 2 days to draw matches, even against far far stronger bowling units.

    What has hardly ever happened is that a team that was dismissed so completely before the series started, that was said to be scared of the #1 team & facing Steyn, that was said to dislike tests altogether, that was said to made up of flat track bullies, that was predicted to get 50 a.o. --- that same team took a lead, scored 400+ runs, made Steyn look largely toothless & came within 2.5 wickets of winning the match.

    You need 2 balls to score 8 runs, you need 3 balls to take 2.5 wickets. Much difference there?

    What SA did was expected of them. What India did was totally unexpected.

    This is not about emotion or bias btw. Yup India lost a great chance to win & shud have won but not for nothing are SA #1.

  • blogossip on December 25, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    Pujara needs to go through details of match properly before commenting. Petersen got 76, and 2 SA baters were run out plus Kallis got a howler. 450 + targets on 5th day pitches always are in favor of bowling side but SA didnt win as overs ran out.

    very few people had given SA chance of saving the match, forget winning.

    imo SA must be more happy with overall outcome than India!

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    @ Ali_Eorse : IND w/o Pujara is totally finished, its really funny how you are able to make comments like that.. okay, consider this: SA w/o steyn and philander are totally finished. SA in Indian pitches are totally finished. SA w/o amla are totally finished etc. etc.

    @ Greatest_Game : Smith was also dropped on the first ball of zaheer. Fact is smith is zaheer's bunny for a long time now.

  • Chris_P on December 25, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    @Srini_Chennai . Unlike you, my friend, I can post here without emotion. Having seen SA bat the 4th innings of a test to save a game before I think I can vouch who can take away more positives. The ball Amla got out to was a direct result of a variable bounce. Yes you're right, the same Indian team beaten by England at home no less is now currently being touched up in AUstralia, that is what you mean, right? 36 runs, unless in a low scoring game, which the first test was not, is NOT a diminating lead. India was 8 runs from being beaten by the highest 4th innings run chase in the history of the game, that is the reason why India shouldn't take more positives out of the game IMHO.

  • Greatest_Game on December 25, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    @ Dishant Bhatt believes that "last time we toured SA,we dominated them apart from the first test and almost won the series."

    Yeah right! Did you know that yesterday I nearly won the lottery? I nearly won it last week too. And the week before. But I'm still broke.

    India did not "nearly win the series," and likewise nor did South Africa. In the final test the teams scored 362, 364 and 341 in the completed innings. India were batting last, & Tendulkar scored 14 off 91 balls - SR 15.38. He was playing for the draw - no question about that. Sewag batted at SR 27.5. The man had a career SR of 82.23!!! He was playing for the draw. Dravid's SR was 26.87, Ghambir's was 34.78. Either they were useless, or playing for the draw. We KNOW they were great batsmen, so that truth is self evident. THEY WERE PLAYING FOR THE DRAW!!! They did not "nearly" win anything.

    India has a proud history. You do not need to re-invent history to support your team. However, the truth is ALWAYS expected & required!

  • Greatest_Game on December 25, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    @ yuvi_gladiator wrote "the experience and fighting spirit shown on these doctored wickets will help india them in long run"

    Your understanding of the term "doctored wicket" needs re-orientation. A doctored wicket is one that has been specially prepared to give advantage, or disadvantage, to a particular team. For example, the wickets prepared for England's tour of India a year ago were prepared to take spin from ball 1.

    The Wanderers wicket was a bit slower than a usual Wanderers wicket, and aided India more than SA. To suggest that SA has 'doctored' wickets to give the Proteas an advantage is not only untrue, but is insulting! We do not deserve this from our (usually respectful) Indian friends

  • Greatest_Game on December 25, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @ Harmony111. Did you really write this? "...barring Dhawan in the 1st innings, no Indian batsman looked in any real trouble facing Steyn & co."

    Pujara & Kohli batted really well. We all know that, but here are the rest of the Indian batting averages: Rahane 31, Zaheer 29, Dhoni 24, Vijay 22.5, Ashwin 18, Dhawan 14, Rohit 10, Shami 2, Ishant 2. If they did not look in trouble, and THOSE are their averages, they must be pretty useless. Zaheer is the 4th best batsman? No-hit averaged 10, and you say he was not in real trouble? He was WORSE than Dhawan!

    Barring Pujara & Kholi, no Indian batsman looked at ease, or in the slightest bit threatening. And no-one is worried about Steyn. Yes, that was his worst bowling ever, but considering he's been the best in the world for 5 years, 1 bad show is not worrying. Besides, look at Zaheer's 2nd inngs - 0 for 135! (He did not dismiss Kallis - Kallis was not out!) After 1 innings back, Zaheer bowled WORSE than Steyn.

    Dude - get real!

  • Ali_Eorse on December 25, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    IND w/o Pujara is totally finished. With Pujara, IND has a chance. But, barely. I believe that SA will go after him in the 2nd test. Then IND will lose. The openers are easy to clean bowl. The same for the middle order and the tail. My advice to Steyn and Philander: Get Pujara and you will give Kallis a present. SA can win easily by just focusing on Pujara. Forget others. They will all crash and burn.

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 25, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    @Harmony111 agreed that young indian side has nothing to loose from this test, whereas SA will be humilated if they loose. so pressure is on them. the experience and fighting spirit shown on these doctored wickets will help india them in long run

  • on December 25, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Our bowling needs a bit extra bite and boost.Spin bowling is a bit weak with only Ashwin who despite taking 100 wickets in lesser tests still cannot be considered penetrative like either Prasanna or Harbhajan .also without supporting spinner at the other end spin bowling lacks the incisiveness that is much needed for vital breakthroughs at international levels. As far as batting is concerned although Kohli and Pujara and to some extent Murali Vijay and Rahane with all their gutsiness have displayed their batting abilities the rest including Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have to genuinely prove themselves against S African world class pacers . It would be a good idea to draft in Jadeja in place of Shikhar Dhawan or Rahane. In other words have a bowling allrounder in place of a batsman who is less performing.

  • Harmony111 on December 25, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    @Johnny_129:

    We might agree to disagree over this cos I would say barring Dhawan in the 1st innings, no Indian batsman looked in any real trouble facing Steyn & co. And mind you Dhawan was playing his 1st test away & 4th overall so he deserves some slack when facing the same attack Aus, the fast-bowling-bouncy-pitch experts can get bowled out for 47. You may point Rohit out but this was only his 3rd test & he got out to a poor shot in the 1st innings & a low ball in the 2nd innings. Kohli & Pujara were awesome while Murali, Rahane did reasonably well without making it bigger.

    If I was a Saffa, I would be more worried about Steyn. He looked very ordinary in the 2nd innings.

    If India lose in Durban, that was expected. In fact 2-0 was expected. But where will SA hide if India win or draw again? If a 0-0 or 0-1 is what #1 team manages AT HOME vs Unprepared Flat Track Bullies with Weakest Bowling then what light would it show SA under?

  • on December 25, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    @Saeed Iqbal: Past history didn't have Pujara in it! So, while criticising Pujara, what history you are talking about? Take a dose of your own medicine first (to quote you, "look at history & stats, and then talk"), before you write prescriptions to others.

  • on December 25, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    It may be true that the wicket was doing much more when India was batting, but you can also say that the SA were bowling better in the first innings and so did India in the first innings. Talking about fielding India did not do their catching right and suffered and so did SA. So all in all the match was perfectly balanced and the result is the proof. India definitely did better compared to SA and will do so in the Durban match. For India its batting has to click and for SA their bowling !

  • on December 25, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Well I see same arrogance and overconfidence from SA fans as it was before the first match.Talking about records,last time we toured SA,we dominated them apart from the first test and almost won the series.And i dont remember when was last time SA won series in India.So lets face it,both teams have a chance and ofcourse being a home side,SA has the edge.

  • on December 25, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    While we as fans sit here and criticize the players out there, it is them who put their heart ad soul into the games. Obviously each of them our there wants to win everytime and everyone did try their best from both teams. Its easy to blame Dhoni, but it is not him who is bowling or fielding. It was a great of Test Cricket, the 1st Test, and I would obviously love it if India wins the next one, but if its a close game and a great test match to be played, then no matter who wins, its cricket which wins finally. Just wish Dhoni and team the Best of Luck for the next game !!! Just push yourselves a little more team, and I'm sure the performances will be even better. After all, its not called TEST Cricket for nothing !!!

  • Johnny_129 on December 25, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    There are a lot of people who have very simplistic minds suggesting dropping Ashwin for Jadeja! Have these people lost their minds - One decent showing by India and suddenly the fans are getting carried away. Let's put things in perspective - Besides Kohli and Pujara, no other Indian batsman looked entirely convincing even if Rehane looked promising. This is a major concern for India. Secondly, and more importantly, India's bowling needs to be strengthened - If the pitch is responsive Ashwin can be a match winner, more than any other bowler. Jadeja is not a front line spinner despite some recent successes at home. However, Jadeja can be a support bowler as India does not have the likes of Sehwag or SRT to take pressure off the front line bowlers. Ashwin also looks like a secure lower order bat. My suggestion is replacing Rohit with Jadeja.

  • rajcl on December 25, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    all are saying, if styen & co's day its all over, why can we look for that day ,why they cant do in all day, its silly ,guys look at match indian bowlers better than styen & co ( exept last 2 session ) 4.5 days for india & 0.5 days for saffers who is better ( if u want compare figurs on that day , kumble is the best bowler because he has taken 10 wkts in an innings no one did at international ), possitive is our bowlers did a better job in overses, best yet come, we are not best in tests but we are better to beat.... plzzzzz publish

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa : Pls correct my earlier statement and read it as "About the morkel injury, I am sure u wud have said something on a similar note if steyn had been injured of morkel but see how India has treated steyn. When you assume that he alone wud have India all out for 200 or less there are also chances he would have leaked runs at 7 RPO"

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 25, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    yes ind did well in the first test but the fielding needs to improve. there is a mismatch between the two sides when it comes to fielding. ind had to convince themselves that they could even compete in the first test and they did more than that so big positives for us. india will need all the determination that they can gather to do the same in the second test

  • on December 25, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    I think ashwin to be replaced by Umesh / Amit mishra

  • on December 25, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    I'm sure Pujara was dropped early in his innings. He won't have that luck again. Just look at the history and the stats between SA and India then talk.

  • loks07 on December 25, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    I only wish Rohit is replaced by Jadeja, Ashwin by Amit Mishra/Rasool and Ishant by Bhuvi/Rishi Dhawan. And Dhoni's mind by Ganguly's :)

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 25, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @Chris_P anybody who understands cricket will know that the way the pitch was playing on the first and 2nd day even 36 was like a 200 runs lead (even i with my limited 20 years knowledge of playing and watching cricket can tell that), surprisingly the pitch slowed down and batting was easy for both teams in second innings. india won 8 sessions in first 4 days and that with rookie fast bowlers. my condolences for you but maybe you have been following the wrong game buddy for all these years, so show some perspective and think before blabbering trash against fellow fans.

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    I am not sure about the rankings, I am not sure about the performance history and maybe even more facts. One thing I can definitely conclude by reading the comments here ''Morne Morkel is the greatest bowler the world has ever produced".

  • cricprof12 on December 25, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    India is obviously the team that will dominate world cricket for the next decade. Time to give trundler Steyn and co a reality check. The ageing players are gone, this new gen is here to dominate world cricket. Pujara is good enough to walk the talk. He will deliver the knockout blow in Durban. You read it here first.

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @ SA_FAN315 : morkel injury... morkel injury... morkel injury... SA was lucky that morkel did not bowl in the second innings, he wud have been taken to the cleaner at minimum 6 RPO. About the wickets of JPD, he got those wickets when India started to accelerate.. If he is that great a bowler, why dint SA bowl him much in the first innings, was it because his 5 overs went for 30 runs?

  • on December 25, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    In my Opinion Jadeja should be played ahead of Ashwin because Ashwin is not performing with the ball & Jadeja can hit the same line length throughout the match and his arm ball is surprising for most of the batsman. with the odd ball turning in the 2 innings he would be very dangerous to play.

    My team for 2nd Tet would be:::Vijay,Dhawan,Pujara,Kohli,Rohit,Dhoni,Rahane,Jadeja/Bhuvneshwar,Shami,Zaheer,Ishant

  • Fijicricket on December 25, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    TommytuckerSaffa on (December 25, 2013, 10:14 GMT) Lots of straw clutching going on here. What positives? Scaring the world champions to retreat and look for a draw even though win was within reach! The home team scared stiff that India will bowl them out! Leading the SA team in their own doctored pitch for 4 days out of five. If boxing rules were applied the article would have read INDIA wins on a unanimous points decision! Home team bowlers thought India would be scared (hahaha) and the baseless excuse of an injury although the injured bowler is not world rated like fellow bowlers! ! India was still well ahead before injury to Morkel so positives here also - baseless excuse ! and the positive that India scored easily to a world record chase for the hosts that had their tails between tier leg! .And the best positive of all- guess who is scared coming to the next match?? Lol India or so called world champions who cant even win at home against the Indians? Reality seems an illusion

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa : Its not an illusion, Postive is not letting them win inspite of them having in a clearly winning postion. Even if it is a illusion, him having the mere thought of illusion seems to be troubling SA a lot, lol.. About the morkel injury, I am sure u wud have said something on a similar note and see how India has treated him. When you assume that he alone wud have India all out for 200 or less there are also chances he would have leaked runs at 7 RPO.

  • SA_FAN315 on December 25, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    This is silly and quite amusing 1) Pujra is blaming the weather and the pitch for the lack of ability of the Indian bowlers to swing the ball. that's making excuses

    2) Smith,Alvero,AB,Faf,Philander scored more than 50 runs in a single innings... kallis was wrongly give out while closing in on another half century....only two indian batsmen scored more that 50 runs in a single innigs

    3) SA taking 20 wickets with one of their main bowlers down in the second innings..Pujar not rating the spinner cause he can't hide the fact that JP bowled better than Ashwin

    We don't have to wait any longer now because the Durban is almost upon us and that will prove which is the better side....and don't forget Quinton de kock and SA THRASED IND in the odi's

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa : I really dunno what was so funny about it. Its not arrogance, its called perception/confidence. Talking about being dropped on 51, had India held all the catches that came their way, u very well know Pujara's 51 might have been enough.

  • VKohlitheGreat on December 25, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    @ PrasPunter : You know very well how difficult it is to play on away conditions, Aus was thrashed on the last ashes tour to Eng and now you are making merry by beating them at home.. Atleast India as been able to pull off a draw..

  • Eclipse0990 on December 25, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Well guys. Say what you may. But India did get more positives out of the first match. Their bowling performed well in the first innings. Someone mentioned that Pujara failed in the first innings. Well, he was run out. And if you think Faf being run out was not a bowler's wicket, so is the case with Pujara. He didn't fail. He was run out. Anyway, In the starting of the series, there were people commenting that India will lose in 3 days with all top 6 batsmen hitting ton or double ton and bowlers demolishing India for under 50. However, Indians shocked SA into defensive mode. Even Domingo's press conference said that going into 5th day, they had draw as their foremost thought. Why would they think that if the Indians were not on the top atm? Something to think about eh?

  • on December 25, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Dale Steyn is an angry man. Beware India.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 25, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Lots of straw clutching going on here. Positives? What positives? What's positive about NOT being able to bowl a team out in 140 overs? What's positive about still drawing a test after dominating it for 4 days? What's positive about NOT beating a team who were a strike bowler short due to injury. What's positive about bowling all your steamers into the ground and then asking them to bowl in 3 days time. Reality seems to be an illusion.

  • the_blue_android on December 25, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @Chris_P - SA is ranked # 1. Their top 5 have played close to 400 test matches. Scored close to 30K test runs. Their bowlers are ranked # 1 and # 2. They are expected to play as such. The Indian top 6 has played a total of 30 test matches. They were expected to roll over and everybody thought SA were gonna win inside 3 days. If India lose this series, they have nothing to lose. If SA lose, they would have been beaten by a bunch of 25 year old kids in their own backyard and they will be embarrassed to be holding the # 1 tag. Do you see why more positives for India than SA after the first test?

  • gdevilliars on December 25, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Kallis should be pushed down to no 6 in the next match and his bowling can replace Morkel because he will have less weight on his batting role. Then bring in a specialist batsmen to add more depth, 7 batsmen 2 allrounders and 2 quicks.

  • Srini_Indian on December 25, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @tokoloshe: Best attack also includes spinners. Any third grade club level in India has better spinner than SA. SA will be completely exposed in India and SL. Will love to see Philander's performance in unresponsive pitches. So far, he had it easy. Can't wait to see the medium pace of 125-130 kph from Philander in Asia.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 25, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Hahaha. What arrogance from pujara. Failed in the first innings and then dropped by tahir on 51. Can't wait for tomorrow. SA will be coming on strong after denying India victory.

  • on December 25, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Chateshwar Pujara is India's new batting star. His wicket has been most difficult in Indian conditions and now he has shown his mettle even in South African conditions with every body in India and even south Africa claiming Indians will collapse in a heap against pace and bounce. That did not happen and on the contrary both the young Turks Kohli and Pujara faced the formidable pace attack on a very difficult wicket flogging them to all parts of the ground. While SA talked big before the match, now it is they who are becoming defensive of their game. The way forward for India is to strengthen the pace attack with Umesh Yadav, the fastest Indian bowler in place of Ashwin and bring in R.Jadeja in place of Rohit Sharma as a spinning all rounder. Ashwin is to be dropped only to have a better chance of winning the Durban test for the series win. However 2 test series is not a true measure of strengths and skills of the world's No. 1 & no. 2 test sides.

  • on December 25, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    South Africa's big mistake was the line they bowled on the first day, allowing the Indian batsmen to leave frequently on a day relatively conducive to the seamers. Pujara is speaking a lot of trash if he really believes that conditions were good for batting on the second day. By the time India batted again, overhead conditions improved significantly and continued to be good for the rest of the Test. This was India's Test for the taking but without favourable overhead conditions, their seamers failed to be as effective as they were in the Saffer's first innings. Ashwin has been getting a lot of flak but I felt he did an excellent containing job on a pitch that had no help for him whatsoever.

  • Vnott on December 25, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Beginning of test, If India were offered this result, it was clearly a great result for India who were expected to be wiped out. Going into the 5th day, anything other than an Indian win was a bad result for India. Given the way Du Plessis and ABD played on the 5th day they had taken it almost beyond the possibility of any result other than a SA win. Given that ABs wicket came too late in the day, Dhoni could possibly not go on a total attack and from there to secure a draw was creditable for India. Fair result in the end. India wud have been relieved by the result to be honest. would have been heart breaking to lose it. Nevertheless India will take more positives from the game but whether they can convert it into a win in the next test is something altogether different. They have to take all catches which come their way (Cant afford drops -Ashwin, Rohit in the first and a half chance by Pujara in the 2nd) and be very very patient. Only tragedy it is a 2 game series.

  • tokoloshe on December 25, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Pujara said. "Just AB [de Villiers] and Faf [du Plessis] were able to score big runs. Apart from them no one got big runs....... How many Indians got big runs? What a mug, he keeps mentioning that only De Villiers and Du Plessis got runs. On their side only Pujara and Kohli got runs. SA are still a better side and when the bowling comes right, it will be a different story. Lots being said by the Indian fans about the "so called best bowling attack". Who would be the best bowling attack them? Philander and Steyn 1&2 and Morkel not a bad third bowler. The old Indian attack doesnt have much more fuel in the tanks. Cant wait for the game. Good luck to both sides.... just a little more to SA.

  • ravi_hari on December 25, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    Its better Pujara, Kohli, speak with the bat. I dont think any team should drag it too long. The immediate reaction after the match is ok, but not every day and every opportunity. Just look back India. You had everything going by day3 end. SA had only 2 bowlers and a below par Kallis. Yet you wasted so much of time and overs to get a 450+lead. Then failed to pick a wkt until third session. Did not pick wkts in the second session on day 5. Your over rated spinner went wicketless. You mocked the situation by making Dhoni bowl. Is it not being desparate. You are World No.2 dont forget. Any team having 130 overs would have won this test on a day5 pitch. India is using its successful batters to cover up the non-performance of bowlers and captain. I think SA were the real gainers. Show me how many teams scored 450 in the 4th innings to win. SA showed rare character and little bit of luck or DRS would have given them an easy win. Pull up socks India, show it by winning not by taking pot shots

  • on December 25, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    i thnk dat wll comeplety depend upon d conditions at durban chetnis :)

  • Fijicricket on December 25, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    @StaalBurgher on (December 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT)To play the worlds best bowling and batting side in their own backyard and leading them till the last 2 sessions, and scaring them into a defensive mode with a fear of losing! India takes a lot of positive! Right now guess who feels jittery? As the saying goes, you are entitled to your opinion that there are no positives!

  • on December 25, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    India should have won that test, but did not. Amla and Kallis were both unlucky to get out the way they did, and SA were a bowler short when India scored all their runs. Two of the SA wickets were runouts. Pujara scraping the barrel when he says he is sure his bowlers can knock SA over twice. Great batsman but his bowlers failed him on day 5.

  • on December 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    The traditional saying is; you can won matches by bowling. here south africa could loss because of their bad bowling show in the 3rd inning and india could win this game if they bowled well (line, length) so the conclusion is the week bowling not the strong batting. I do agree batting needs to be good but you can win matches even with the low scores by good bowling.

  • sailorsupreme on December 25, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @Hunbbel Meer Ok, Pujara may have batted for his team but Steyn of the 'I saw fear in their eyes' statement went wicket less. He will come harder, no doubt but without Morkel he was exposed, wasn't he? SA will try harder but in doing so there is the danger of playing into the hands of a tough young team who have made the necessary adjustments to negotiate the pace and bounce. SA does not seem to have any flexibility. The moment things become tough they tend to freeze. It was clear that Smith was unwilling to go for a possible win, as were the two batsmen Steyn and Philander. Yes, SA team will come harder but the initiative is with Pujara, Kohli and the rest. Let us see if Rohit raises his hand this time. That will make for a fantastic contest. The amazing fielding of Indians, particularly the run outs, was the real scene stealer. Ajinkya Rahane, and his run outs was the most significant contributor to the result of this match SA should have won but they did not and even you know why.

  • cricprof12 on December 25, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Pujara has found the correct medium between an ultra humble cricketer giving a press conference where they put on an act and not be themselves and a boxer who completely trash talks. Excellent press conference hope we have more like him.

    Not putting on an act, being himself, telling it as he sees it. And the comments might work as mind games too. Pujara and Kohli give best press conferences.

  • StaalBurgher on December 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Uhh... India won an important toss, SA were a bowler down and got a freebie crucial wicket in the form of Kallis, not to mention to very uncharacteristic runouts and still could not beat SA. I don't see the positive. The only positive is that they applied themselves with the bat, which really is the bare minimum that should be asked.

  • thunda.masala on December 25, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Someone please tell these teams that it is a BOXING DAY match not a Boxing Match.

  • thunda.masala on December 25, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Trash talk 101. Pujara is a good batsman but not a good spokesperson.

  • Pathiyal on December 25, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    why cant they keep quiet and do their jobs rather than be chatter boxes? he is exposing a whole lot of complacency here and claiming his side is not complacent. here, he thought he was smarter to utter baseless statements without realising the fact that he was just taken for a ride by the media!

  • arun_padmanabhan on December 25, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    In my opinion , both the teams take some positives from this match. South Africa again proved why they are the number 1 team. No other team could have come within the winning distance after being set 458 , regardless of the pitch and conditions and after being reduced to 10 members. This only shows the incredible belief that they have in themselves. Nobody , not even the Indian supporters , gave India much chance after they elected to bat under cloudy conditions. Regardless of what people say , Vijay's performance was crucial in both the innings. Kohli looks to be the most complete batsman of this era - he can slog, he can grind , he can show flamboyance or solidity depending on the circumstances , etc. To have lasted 5 days is a positive that India will take gladly. Most importantly, India broke their losing streak in the foreign soil and MSD will be relieved! Hopefully, this is just a beginning and we are served a thrilling climax in Durban!

  • Protears on December 25, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    I love how I have to read that the side batting last had the best conditions to bat on, if that was the case MS Dhoni and Smith for that matter would have bowled first, here are facts about the Wanderers, batting under sunlight and batting under cloud cover are night and day, the reason why we knocked India over on the second morning and why we collapsed is the effect cloud cover has on swing at high altitude. How many balls on day 4-5 miss behaved up or down, the reason why India didn't get wickets is because they bowled a wider channel, the balls that kept low were not going to hit the stumps so there was no danger unlike Kallis on the fourth morning bowling offstump line. As for India not having a new ball on the fifth morning, well if they batted faster and declared by lunch or just after they may have had a new ball again that is India's fault not ours. The Kallis decision was the major changer.r

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    "rest" Dhawan or rohit for a match..get Ashwin topen if dhawan and play jadeja if rohit is rested jadeja is a straight swap!

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 25, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    One of the many positives for India from the 1st test is that SA will not go for wins in tight situations.

    So, if India canbe as competitive as 1st match but at the same time push a little harder, they should be able to secure the win quite comprehensively.

  • Ibanezfan on December 25, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    This habit of teams taking potshots at each other before matches is silly. Just respect the opposition and play good cricket, fellas. South Africa mouthed off about India before the Joburg test, which was one reason they chose a face-saving draw (not losing) over possible embarrassment. Similarly, Pujara's barbs are hilarious when you consider that this test has also made clear, to me at least, that Dhoni is indeed petrified of losing another overseas test. He simply does not want to raise the spectre of the 2011 England and Oz tours again. Hence, better a draw than an aggressive attempt at winning. It was the same on a Windies tour sometime ago. For such teams, who are driven more by the fear of losing, to pretend being the alpha team is hilarious. Enough with the ad hominem barbs already. Cricinfo pls publish.

  • mritunjai on December 25, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Considering India was expected to lose both tests by an innings in 3 days, a draw is a very good result for this young side.

  • Srini_Indian on December 25, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @Chris_P: The lead of 36 was a significant one at that stage of the match when the pitch was very lively. Its not a flat pan cake like Adelaide. It lost its pace and became dead in final day. I don't know what game you were following but nothing really happened on final day. Our top 6 have played totally 59 test matches, that is nearly half the no of test matches played by Graeme Smith alone. We have 2 out of 4 bowlers bowling in SA for the 1st time. Not to mention, there were no practice matches. If an inexperienced under-prepared Indian side perform at this level, it is a positive for us. There is nothing wrong with that, perhaps you should comment on some team which was hopeless in India and England was looking for #1 after having won 3 home test matches against dismal England.

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    @Muhammad Nasir Siddique I think India bowled pretty decently including Ashwin(yes you heard that right!) barring a few spells like the one bowled by Zaheer after lunch and ones bowled by Ishant after Tea. The batsman had to ride their luck to score those runs. Many edges either didn't carry or went wide of fielders. It was more of a case of batsman playing brilliantly than bowlers bowling bad. They started to lose their line and length venom only towards the end of the day (which i attribute to fatigue).

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    I have the deepest respect of Pujara, as I believe he is the best batsman team India has - even more than Kohli - but that is seriously stupid statement from a mature cricketer like him.

    According to him, when India batted in the 1st innings, it was difficult and they "batted well". When SA batted in the 1st innings, it was easier to bat. Then again in India's 2nd innings it was difficult and India "batted well", while in the last innings, SA "got lucky". My friend, this is exactly what we call 'complacency'. How many teams can bat the entire 5th day on a pitch so misbehaving? You couldn't out FAF the entire 5 sessions. If it wasn't for that unfortunate run-out, he had won the game for SA. So as a matter of fact, it was India that got lucky, and they should appreciate the fact, because SA will come harder this time.

  • Srini_Indian on December 25, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    TBH, the wicket was completely dead in the last day. It neither spun nor did provide any assistance for seamers. ABdeV and Faf took advantage of it. When the pitch has something in it, Indian bowlers are as good as any in the world. It is on flat track our attack struggles. Even in 1st innings, when SA were 130/1 there were lots of edges, catch dropped and the collapse which was bound to happen, happened at 130/1. Overall, I would say India out-batted and out-bowled SA in 1st test match. Its just the 1 partnership between AB and Faf saved the day for SAF. Having said all that, if India doesn't start well in the next test, it could be all over before we knew. Hope India puts up a fight and make SA sweat.

  • on December 25, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Vijay should be dropped, Rahane should open. Jadeja should recalled. Best thing to do

  • gundapps on December 25, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    One can't help but feel that any other Test team bowling attack (except Zimbabwe perhaps) would have done a much better job against SA batting in the second innings given the pitch condition.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    @Saud Choudhry - Think whether seems good to you. But the fact is Pujara's technique, ability and temperament to leave Steyn and forced him to bowl on his pads exposed Steyn completely that he just have a lethal out-swinger and if you are prepare to leave him outside off you can attack him later on.

    To be honest, Pujara's technique and concentration made him look Mediocre.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    I suppose indian fans need to be patient with this team. u cant expect them to bulldoze opposition especially over seas. if a draw can prompt them to chop and change so much, I wonder what if india had lost first test. Players like ashwin, rohit, dhawan r here to stay & don't just pass judgements. It would b fare to judge them after atleast 10 overseas matches especially rohit & dhawan. I would always back these two to come good against any opposition given whatever little I have seen of them. Kohli is settled now & pujara has also tasted success abroad. I think this batting line-up is here to stay, especially the top five.

  • Cricfever_PM on December 25, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    India's positives from the 1st Test is Virat, Pujara, Zak, Ishanth & Shami!! We have plenty of positives to take but we should have win the match but unluckily we couldn't have made it, the Durban is always another home for Indians as the Durban pitch never disappointed us. With Seam bowlers are in good touch we can give the good performance again, hope Dhawan will not play silly cricket again and he has to concentrate on short balls!! Rohit & MS has to give contribution on bat which helps us to post good score..

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    All this talk of positives & moral victory r just mind games. in hind sight both the teams might b sulking for not having won the match. to me draw was not a fair result as most of them think, as both the teams had their moments to draw first blood esp in a short series. As for indian bowling they bowled well in first innings & were over aggressive in the 2nd, leaking too many runs. As for the saffers, steyn & co may be feeling low for not having knocked out the indian line-up after alleging to have scarred & scared them. In Durban the team winning the first session of their respective innings will win the match. as simple as that !

  • Chris_P on December 25, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @yuvi_gladiator, I'm sorry, I didn't realize a first innings lead of 36 runs was dominating? Wonder what game I have been playing & following all this time? Seriously, have you ever played a game of cricket in your life? South Africa scored 450 runs on a variable bouncing pitch in the 4th innings of a match, & you seriously think that is taking more positives than South Africa? Interesting take, on what is positive, but hey, your call.

  • Naresh28 on December 25, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    For India three players did not put up any show - ROHIT, DHAWAN, and ASHWIN. They need to buck up and contribute. Rahane always seems to contribute a 30-40-50 - he needs to get on and score a bigger one. Dhawan failed twice and is always looking for easy runs....it is not going to happen. The bowlers are fresh when he bats.

  • pull_shot on December 25, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    @ Protears Fact is India played 3 new balls in morning session which was difficult to bat ( 1st day, 3rd day after 10 overs SA innings and 4th day after 2 overs of indian batting) where as SA didn't bat against new ball at all in morning session that goes with bowlers performance and speaking of 5th day match i didn't c carry as so many edges drop short and what how many balls jumped of good length 3 or 4 thats why it's not too difficult to bat on but i will say if india need 458 surely we would have allout for 200 i admire SA resistance and skill

  • Johnny_129 on December 25, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    I don't think one should critize Pujara for his comments or read too much into what he has said. Players often play mind games to get the psychological advantage - None more so than Austtalia. I believe the strategy was made famous by the greatest sportsman of all - Muhammad Ali! So, what Pujara has said is totally fair - India has often idolised great opppsition players in the past (eg. Viv Richards) and such behaviour means half of the battle is lost even before a game begins! Complements and idolising is better left for after a series or even better, after the players retirement. Of course, fans and media can still discuss. I like the modern Indian attitude - Good luck to Pujara!

  • teo. on December 25, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Let's be honest, if the best possible Indian bowling attack can not take 20 wickets on a lively pitch, defending a massive (record) total, against the best team in the world... they have cause for concern!! If ever there was a chance to beat SA, that was it! Any team needs 20 wickets to win any match, regardless of batting lineup.

  • on December 25, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    India got great cricket soldier to have good battle.The main source of Indian weakness is faster bouncing bowler who can dominant when he want it,BCCI and Indian selection committee should take biggest step and tactics to solve the Indian cricket battle.All the best

  • DhairyBoghani on December 25, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Two reason of bad 4th Innings bowling. 1))Bad spin bowling as duminy-tahir both gone for 2-2 wickets each & aswin hadn't take least one. We can believe he hadn't bowled bad but true thing is that he couldn't find a wicket against not so well spin players. # Change him with Jadeja. Better batsman & better bowler according to condition. 2)) Bad use of new ball in both Innings. we produced only 1 wicket between early overs of all 3 new ball.Bad Zaheer who Leaked runs at 4.25/over in 2nd inning & taken only 1 wicket because of bad dicition. #change him with Bhuvi. He always use new ball batter than all others. Try him in atleast 1 away test. He just put out by 1 bad performene in 1st ODI.

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    let saf come to india and play on dust bowlsand draw a test match against ashwin jadeja ozha then talk about india this indianteam has shown alot of grit and as time goes by they will be hard to beat on any surface

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 25, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    @Chris_P... So to dominate a team which was supposed to win inside 3 days for more than 4 days with a scared and scarred batting line up as steyn said is not a positive. must have had been humiliating for me if i was SA to be fighting for a draw against a rookie team

  • CurrentPresident on December 25, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Thing to note is that only one team took 20 wickets in the last test match. And it was the one that was a bowler short. So reality check there.

  • Pavinasen on December 25, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Pujara with due respect is potraying the same mental capacity as Steyn,all talk

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    India seems to be over-confident after a draw. Wonder what would they be saying if they had won the Test. Pujara says Steyn is a 'good' bowler. The rest of us like to think he is the very best quick in the game today. Amal would also be 'good' according to Pujara; we like to think he is the very best.

  • PACERONE on December 25, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    If India came out of this game with more positives than S.A,I am afraid I don't see their positives.They could not bowl out a team in the 4th inning with a lead of 458.S.A was a few runs short of winning with Amla Kallis,and Smith not making a big score.Two run outs and 3 wickets in hand at the end should be cause for concern on India's part.

  • aussieperthindian on December 25, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Mixed feelings on positives but certainly day 1-4 India can take away a lot of positives. Day 5 is debatable. Bowling was ok but towards the end especially regular bad balls put away for 4. Great batting from AB and Faf. Pitch did not do as much as expected. Ashwin was not threatening and I am a big fan of his but India lack an Ajmal. Still a victory it was not but India can be proud. It all starts fresh for next match. Focus on this now and hope it is a great match with an Indian victory-but SA will come out all guns blazing- watch out!!

  • rajuramki on December 25, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    It is true that only AB and Faf scored for SA . But why Pujara is forgetting that other than Kohli and himself , no Indian batsman scored in this test . It is only the intensity with which the teams play the second test that will decide the winner . I only hope that the effort put in by the Indians in the first test has not drained them of the energy to sustain the same level of intensity in the second test .

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Watch out for Shikhar Dhawan's counter attack, nobody talking about him and im sure he is planning a counter assault to surprise SA. Not to mention Rohit is due for runs too.

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    All the talk of Steyn and Co will blow India away out of Jo'burg to Durban disappeared and now they are blaming India for not winning the test match? Give me a break, SA was outplayed for 4 days and the last day they managed a draw. To be honest it is SA who is outplayed by this Young Indian side

  • on December 25, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    please give credit to good batting, and learn to criticize on bad bowling.. india bowls badly in last inning and this is fact.

  • sray23 on December 25, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    The emotional & physical exhaustion of the last game cannot be taken lightly - from which India only have 3 days to recover. There is a big chance that if they keep the exact same players for the next game it will lead to a flat performance. MSD needs to be proactive and make some small changes to freshen up the team. Jadeja for Rohit and (maybe) Umesh in for one of the pace bowlers. The bowlers especially are in danger of not recovering completely, so going with 4 bowlers again would be dangerous.

  • on December 25, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    I believe the Indian side would have taken a lot of confidence from the last match despite their inability to enforce a positive result.Their batters did the job they were required to do,and the bowling was in my opinion better than what the opposition dished out.They kept running in hard,and even during Faf's and AB's match-saving partnership there were plenty of heart-in-the-mouth moments for the SAfricans.If the Indian bowlers can replicate that kind of intensity and bowl back of a length at the stumps all the time,they can once again put the Saffers under pressure.This time though I would like to see Zaheer bowl a few more overs from over the wicket to the right handers.It's a good angle for lbws and caught behinds and Zaheer needs to be a bit more open to trying things.Also if the weather isn't scorching hot and the pitch is a pasture for the cows,I would love to see Bhuvi in the mix.He can jag it both ways and under helpful conditions can do it all day.

  • Prats6 on December 25, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I don't think people should judge Pujara on the basis of what he has said. He always talks about his opinion and he may be wrong but honest. The Test was a cracker, I would say the draw is a fair result. Initially India looked to be completely running away with the game and later we did see the pitch ease out - both in India's 2nd innings and SA's 2nd even more. SA should have won this, with the kind of partnership they had. However draw was a really fair result.

  • Sir_Ivor on December 25, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    I wish Pujara is kept away from these press conferences.

  • ramli on December 25, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    @Khansa06 ... Ashwin's role was to contain one end which he did well ... of course, taking wickets would have been a bonus ... Steyn let SA down by not taking wickets, can they drop him for that? What about Ashwin's centuries and fifties when India needed them most? Just one match going wicketless does not warrant any change ... a four-prong pace attack plan is something different and can be tried in SA

  • on December 25, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    Indian team played with string grit to prove themselves. Had India choosen better bowling optins, We woud have won this 1st test.. Ashwin is not required in these seamer friendly wickets. Instead of him Bhuvneswar kumar should be in team. Dhawan is low in confidence and instead of him Jadeja should be in team. Jadeja has nac of taking wickets and if there is any slight chance of spinning the ball, he is better option than Ashwin. Jadeja bowls wicket to wicket and is very accurate in his bowling.The odd ball which spins and bounces will do the trick for him. If batsmen gets used to spin, the odd ball which doesn't turn much will give him LBW wicket. So I feel team should be : Vijay, Rohit, Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni, Rahane, Jadeja, Bhuvneswar, Shami, Zaheer, Ishant.

  • on December 25, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    A genuine all-rounder was probably what Dhoni missed. There was too much pressure and load on the 4 bowlers at his disposal and considering Ashwin is half the bowler in overseas conditions, problems seemed to multiply for Dhoni. Time to launch a nation wide search for another Kapil Dev !!

  • ProdigyA on December 25, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Well said Pujara...the way the young guns were written off before the start and how Steyn and co will blow the inexperienced side away...this team almost won the match and dominated the first four days.

  • mahi678 on December 25, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    @777aditya, i agree with you and you are true with pujara but for irfan he had slim chances. because there is lot of talent left in the country. to get a place in the side you need talent but also a bit of luck. adding to that indian thought tank and fans are so biased about batmanship. they dint think furthur. bowlers and bowling all rounders are not properly nurtured and given less importance. i say again and again that india would have won the last test if they played five bowlers.

  • mahi678 on December 25, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    dhoni made few tactical errors which cost a match.

    1) only 4 bowlers used instead of 5 2) indian bowlers bowled same line as in first innings. they bowled on to stumps on first inning - which helped as ball cuts sharply. on second innings they should have bowled out side off stump- inducing for edges. but they bowled on stumps - with no such movement as first innings, all the wicket takig deliveries of first innings were become boundaries 3) if SA had won toss and elected to bat first then india would have won the match. but counter side is- because we bat first and batted well on difficult pitch, team got some confidence.

    india and sa are equally strong sides given any situation. but i say india win next test; because still indian team is under rated by SA team and their fans. so durban test will be an eye opener.

  • mahi678 on December 25, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    ii shall say india need five bowlers. four pacers and jadeja being 5 th bowler and all rounder. play rahane in place of dhawan. i think dhoni could not disappoint any of his fellow batsman so he continuing with 4 bowlers- which cost a test match. dhawan is good for odis only. may be batsmen are talented but india need five bowlers for team balance. my team for durban. 1.rahane 2.vijay/dhawan 3.pujara 4.kohli 5.dhoni 6.rohit 7.jadeja 8.bhuvi 9.shami 10.zaheer 11.ishanth/umesh

  • cricmatters on December 25, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    Ashwin failed to deliver on the fifth day pitch otherwise India should have won before tea. Jadeja with his quicker leg spin bowling would have taken more wickets. We need a spinner like Kumble who can be effective on overseas pitches which do not turn a lot. Forth slip or wide gully would have been a better option as lot of edges went through to thirdman boundary.

  • indianzen on December 24, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    SA didnot play as No1 Team, even in their home ground. So called 'Worlds best bowling' attack is blunt... Except Philander, no other looked threatening. Morkel was getting bounce. SA Batting lacked plans and let off chances to attack. Vijay and Pujara were solid initially. Vijay was good in frustrating Steyn and India middle order looked in control. Faf and AB made up their mind to block and block pass the time... why would you play to win? or to draw even if a result was available ?

  • gdamsaaregood on December 24, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    Judging by all the Indian fans comments....they really thought that SA was going to slaughter them in the first test. All this talk about home they stood up to the bowling attack from SA.,,,..yet they are meant to be the no 2 team in the world....so naturally the test was going to be a close one.......I think these comments are forgetting that India were lucky to get a draw in this test. If we look at the Indian bowlers stats for this test versus their overall record (bar an ageing zaheer) it will show the Indian bowlers had a really good test in comparison to SA bowlers stats in this test versus their career stats which will show SA bowling had a poor test......yet India could only manage a draw......food for thought??

  • usernames on December 24, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    ... (cont.)

    Our bowling was disappointing, yes, but surely those who were blowing SA's horn before the game and telling us just how good a team they were, etc. must be a LOT more disappointed that their great team had to fight back to save the game against what was, according to the experts on the comment section, an Indian team that couldn't play away.

  • usernames on December 24, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    @Chris_p: Right, that's a very convenient way of looking at it.

    Here's another point of view:

    This team wasn't given a chance against SA. Flat track bullies, IPL boys, can't play #realcricket, etc. They went and put up a fight for a large part of the test against a brilliant team in their backyard. South Africa were supposed to just turn up and win. They were supposed to roll us over. That didn't happen.

    Our bowling was disappointing in the second innings, yes, but going by the standards set prior to the match, SA's bowling was even more disappointing. Their bowling had literally no positives. Our batsmen had a lot to prove -- even Kohli and Pujara weren't "supposed" to succeed going by the experts' opinion -- and they did very well. South Africa were supposed to do far, far, far better than what they did. They literally were on the back foot for day 2, 3, and 4 with the day 1 shared. You're saying *they* were the team with more positives?

  • vj3478 on December 24, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    It would be amazing to beat SA 1.0 in their own backyard but...0% chance that Indian openers can score half century(Vijay is content with staying at crease without scoring and overconfident Dhawan is unwilling to learn how to bat oversees) . May be 15-20% chance for Rahane(never confident.. as opposed to Dhawan), Rohit and Dhoni. So, its only up to Pujara and Virat on whom India's hopes lie for a respectable score. And relying on Indian bowling overseas is like buying a lottery and hoping to win.. Need hell lot of luck to win everytime!!

  • on December 24, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    Agree with @Blal. Dhoni didn't take the SA second innings seriously by bowling himself, Vijay and Pujara - several overs wasted - he must have thought they would bowl SA out by tea on this so called 'deteriorated wicket'. India bowling in the first innings overachieved and Ashwin is a real bowling liability because he doesn't put pressure for other bowlers to capitalize. Khan bowled gentle medium pacers from round the wicket (????what was that about)....Bring Yadav or anyone else instead of Ashwin. Dhawan doesn't look like succeeding in Tests outside India either. The good news is that the youngsters are finally getting a chance, but the bad news is that Zaheer is no longer the threat he once was yet India doesn't have a suitable replacement for him. Can't see how people think India will be no.1 Test team anytime soon. Not with this team selection and loose tactics.

  • Shyamj on December 24, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    I'm sorry I don't see why so many negative comments for Ashwin. I think he was largely responsible for getting India the draw! Look at the number of overs he bowled and the economy rate. He bowled much better than Tahir and Duminy. Yes, JP got two wickets, but those were the result of poor batting than good bowling. This might sound crazy, but I would seriously consider dropping a batsman and going with 5 bowling options. If so, I'd drop Dhawan and open with Sharma. The fifth bowler? Not an easy decision. Yadav? Kumar? Ojha? I'll be brave and say go with Ojha!! More conservative choice would be Kumar.

  • Blal on December 24, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    With the pitch behaving worst on the last day (5th day) and India with a huge lead of 457 runs and four sessions available (more than 136 overs) couldn't win the test...is this positive? No sir, nothing positive about it. India should have won this match hands down instead they came so close to losing it...almost allowed SA to create a new record...what's so positive about it?

  • khansa06 on December 24, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    Umesh instead of Ashwin... and we would have won easily. Ashwin let us down....rather we have always overrated this T20 player to be a test player....since he was the only spinner on Indian turning tracks, he was the fastest ot 100 wickets.

  • LebronJameas on December 24, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    Indians start very slow in any tour and peak towards the end. Usually the last test will be when they will be at their best. Thus, we can expect India to perform better at Durban, where they won the last time. The new comers have also gotten more experienced with the bounce and pace. Thus, it is advantage India. The #1 team has a lot more to lose here.

  • on December 24, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    this pujara guy know how to give interview and give credit to opponent at right time. i think once again indian batsmen will give tough time to SA bowlers in next match but indian bowling is not impressive so there is a chance of india losing next match due to their bowling.

    hope to see another cracker of the game to keep alive test cricket. test cricket needs great matches for the survival.

  • Chris_P on December 24, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    A team gets 450 runs against you in the 4th innings on a variable pitch & you take away more positives? You talk about taking 20 wickets when your bowlers legitimately took 2 on the last day? Interesting. I'll see what he says after the next test.

  • The_Freakster on December 24, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    SA certainly did have better of the conditions. Day 2 was much easier to bat than day 1, and then by day 5 the pitch had slowed out quite a bit. For an attack that was supposed to "blow them away" and all their trash-talk before the series even began, it must have been humiliating for SA to grind out a draw. Especially given their home conditions and an opposition with less than half their experience. All things considered, India definitely have the advantage here going into Boxing day.

  • silentstand on December 24, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Pujara made similar comments in the India-England series.i think we all know what happened next

  • CricIndia208 on December 24, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Very true. India batted under difficult conditions, SA had it easy on the last day. India will reclaim the No.1 ranking in the next one year.

  • 777aditya on December 24, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    In tests, Pujara may just pip Kohli in the race of captaincy after Dhoni - very levelheaded and always composed as compared to the raw emotional display of Kohli (of course, that's not to say we love Pujara more than Kohli). All in all, great for Indian cricket to have a good young crop of batsman. Praying hard that Irfan Pathan (playing for Baroda as a pure batsman currently) starts bowling soon and comes to the Indian side - an all rounder of his caliber can make all the difference. If he gets anywhere close to the kind of bowling form he displayed initially in tests, he would be a sight to behold.

  • on December 24, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    AB and Faf the only ones clicked? Haha! Smith played a fighting knock in the second innings against a probing Zaheer only to be ran-out. Peterson played well l. Amla got out to a freakish delivery, Kallis was adjudged LBW due to a poor decision from Tucker, Philander had good knocks too. Where is the worrying factor? Look at Indian line-up, leave apart Kohli and Pujara, no-one else. Dhawan is slowly learning test cricket's ugly side. Vijay is leaving well and leaving soon. Dhoni's unconventional technique is never making him a test batsman. Who needs to worry now? Who's having more positives?

  • Haz95 on December 24, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    I don't really Agree but Pujara did bat brilliantly and will be a real gem for India as he is the only batsmen[along with maybe kohli] with the technique to perform in any condition...I like his calmness

  • gimme-a-greentop on December 24, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Pujara should stick to batting, which he is very very good at. As far as trying to pysche out opponents goes, this was worse than Kohli's extremely transparent attempt after the game.

  • highonmethane on December 24, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    I will like to see Jadeja brought in instead of Ashwin for the next match. Jadeja is a better containing bowler than Ashwin and that is vital on these pitches when the spinner needs to hold one end up. Ashwin may be a more reliable batsman than Jadeja but Jadeja is a much better fielder and that is vital in keeping team spirit up.

  • SamRoy on December 24, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    If India plays ashwin, zak and Ishant in 2nd test India will not win as there is no probability of getting 20 protea wkts. India definitely need fresh legs and Ishant and zak will be tired. India needs to drop ashwin, zak and Ishant and bring in bhuvi, umesh and jadeja for next test. Another idea is not to drop ashwin but drop dhawan and play ashwin as opener, but zak and Ishant need to be dropped and bhuvi, umesh and jadeja need to play with Shami if India wants to get 20 protea wkts.

  • on December 24, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    I agree with Pujara .India did have more positives.For SA the positive fact was that no one thought they might have a chance of winning on the fifth day.Everyone thought that even if they would draw that would be a great effort.So they would take a lot of confidence from the end result. But such freak days are also rare in test cricket

  • Malret on December 24, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    He is ideally positioning himself to be the trash talker of the team for the future. Good job! A few are good at it, and even fewer are good at it and then back it up with their performance. Like McGrath for example. :)

  • on December 24, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Surprised to see Pujara being so forthright and blunt with his comments! Personally, I feel this business of pushing for psychological advantage has gone too long. Indians would do well by focusing the upcoming test which i am sure is going to be tougher for many reasons. As the saying goes, no point in flogging a dead horse

  • BVNaresh on December 24, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    Pujara is spot on.The wicket on the last day had fizzled out and any side bowling would have struggled to pick up wickets.Of course AB & Faf batted brilliantly and by playing straight and they never played a horizontal bat shot till tea .

  • PrasPunter on December 24, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Is it Mr Pujara ? I though your team couldn't force a victory given where you were by stumps on Day 3.

  • Protears on December 24, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Well the defining points of the test match mr Pujara were; firstly Morkel's injury, on docile day 1 conditions under the sun when others struggled Morkel was almost unplayable and the nature of the deck and areas where things happened were in Morkel's operational areas and no doubt he would have made a significant impact so was a loss. Secondly India scoring so poorly in session one on day 4 saw them go from putting the game away to what turned out to be a skin of their teeth draw. Lastly was the Kallis decision, DRS would have got that decision 100% correct without any marginality or vagueness, it was telling as Kallis was hitting boundries with fluidity and out the middle of the bat in a minefield of a deck with the odd surprise ball, if he is not given out and scores freely until lunch AB and Faf would have finished the game with a hour to spare.

    India have more concerns namely a bowling attack that couldn't dismiss a side in 150 odd overs on days 4 and 5.

  • on December 24, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    I remember him saying on the penultimate day SA will find it difficult to bat on the last day of the test. Now when SA have managed to save the test, pitch becomes a bit flat and easy to bat on and SA were lucky!!!!

  • on December 24, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    I remember him saying on the penultimate day SA will find it difficult to bat on the last day of the test. Now when SA have managed to save the test, pitch becomes a bit flat and easy to bat on and SA were lucky!!!!

  • Protears on December 24, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    Well the defining points of the test match mr Pujara were; firstly Morkel's injury, on docile day 1 conditions under the sun when others struggled Morkel was almost unplayable and the nature of the deck and areas where things happened were in Morkel's operational areas and no doubt he would have made a significant impact so was a loss. Secondly India scoring so poorly in session one on day 4 saw them go from putting the game away to what turned out to be a skin of their teeth draw. Lastly was the Kallis decision, DRS would have got that decision 100% correct without any marginality or vagueness, it was telling as Kallis was hitting boundries with fluidity and out the middle of the bat in a minefield of a deck with the odd surprise ball, if he is not given out and scores freely until lunch AB and Faf would have finished the game with a hour to spare.

    India have more concerns namely a bowling attack that couldn't dismiss a side in 150 odd overs on days 4 and 5.

  • PrasPunter on December 24, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Is it Mr Pujara ? I though your team couldn't force a victory given where you were by stumps on Day 3.

  • BVNaresh on December 24, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    Pujara is spot on.The wicket on the last day had fizzled out and any side bowling would have struggled to pick up wickets.Of course AB & Faf batted brilliantly and by playing straight and they never played a horizontal bat shot till tea .

  • on December 24, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Surprised to see Pujara being so forthright and blunt with his comments! Personally, I feel this business of pushing for psychological advantage has gone too long. Indians would do well by focusing the upcoming test which i am sure is going to be tougher for many reasons. As the saying goes, no point in flogging a dead horse

  • Malret on December 24, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    He is ideally positioning himself to be the trash talker of the team for the future. Good job! A few are good at it, and even fewer are good at it and then back it up with their performance. Like McGrath for example. :)

  • on December 24, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    I agree with Pujara .India did have more positives.For SA the positive fact was that no one thought they might have a chance of winning on the fifth day.Everyone thought that even if they would draw that would be a great effort.So they would take a lot of confidence from the end result. But such freak days are also rare in test cricket

  • SamRoy on December 24, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    If India plays ashwin, zak and Ishant in 2nd test India will not win as there is no probability of getting 20 protea wkts. India definitely need fresh legs and Ishant and zak will be tired. India needs to drop ashwin, zak and Ishant and bring in bhuvi, umesh and jadeja for next test. Another idea is not to drop ashwin but drop dhawan and play ashwin as opener, but zak and Ishant need to be dropped and bhuvi, umesh and jadeja need to play with Shami if India wants to get 20 protea wkts.

  • highonmethane on December 24, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    I will like to see Jadeja brought in instead of Ashwin for the next match. Jadeja is a better containing bowler than Ashwin and that is vital on these pitches when the spinner needs to hold one end up. Ashwin may be a more reliable batsman than Jadeja but Jadeja is a much better fielder and that is vital in keeping team spirit up.

  • gimme-a-greentop on December 24, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Pujara should stick to batting, which he is very very good at. As far as trying to pysche out opponents goes, this was worse than Kohli's extremely transparent attempt after the game.