Jacques Rudolph played a sterling knock, and anchored the South African innings on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka. He toughed it out in trying conditions as wickets fell around him.



Jacques Rudolph: walks back after a good day at the office © AFP

Jacques Rudolph

On his innings I am really happy with the way I played. It was really hard work out there, especially against Murali, who I thought I handled OK. The key was that I stuck to my gameplan.

Eric Simons, South Africa's coach

On Jacques Rudolph
I thought he has done well because he really battled up front. We had a gameplan for him to play to and he stuck to it, which really started to pay dividends. Obviously it would be nice to have a faster scoring-rate, but he has done really well and kept his head. I think he did superbly. He stuck to his gameplan and it has paid off for him.

On Jacques Kallis
He played an important little role for us before lunch. We were going nowhere for a little while and to go in there and attack them and to get the run rate up was important. Obviously, when someone does that you do take risks.

On playing Murali
I think we played him well. The guys all came well-prepared with gameplans. We didn't just want to sit there and they have mixed defence and attack really well.

On the match situation
There are a number of scenarios that can take place. If we can get the lead close to 50 then suddenly there is pressure on them again if they lose a couple of early wickets. But if the lead stays 130 or 140 then they can lose two or three [wickets] and still be in a reasonabe position.

On the pitch
I think the wicket has held up pretty well, to be honest. It has spun but it has not been silly. Shaun [Pollock] got one that popped but other than that it has played OK.

Marvan Atapattu

On the state of the game
They batted well I thought. For a team to come straight from South Africa and bat for more than a day was a good effort. It wasn't a very difficult wicket to bat on. The eighth-wicket partnership has done a lot of good for them, rather like in our innings. It all depends on how we go in the first half hour tomorrow. If we can grab an early wicket that will be to our advantage. The first-innings lead will be important and the wicket will deteriorate going into the fifth day. A lead in excess of 100 will be very handy.

On Murali
Every bowler has hard days. We are too used to Murali getting five wickets every match. It can't happen every time. It would have been better had he been able to bowl it [the doosra] though.