South Africa must focus on their game plans, instead of on saving the Test, when they resume batting on day five.
SuperSport analysts Eric Simons, Kepler Wessels and Neil McKenzie had their say on the fourth day’s play on Sunday.
On saving the Test
Simons: ‘I don’t think South Africa will be focusing on batting out the whole day on Monday yet. The batsmen will focus on their processes and take it one ball at a time. When you are in a position like the Proteas are in now and you start thinking we can save this, that’s when the danger slips in.’
On South Africa’s approach
Wessels: ‘What really impressed me is the way they went about it. They had a clear objective and a clear strategy to get to that objective. I thought Temba Bavuma played well to start with, within that plan, Hashim Amla did exceptionally well and defended very well and AB de Villiers, too. It just shows you it’s possible to do if you have a clear strategy and you apply your strategy ball after ball.
‘I just wish that sort of clear thinking and clear execution was more evident during the other two Tests we lost, because I think we would have done a lot better.’
On the conservative batting
McKenzie: ‘The point is, the South Africans are fighting and the captain is leading the charge. I think Amla has faced 34 overs by himself if my maths is correct and normally, if you watch Hashim Amla for 34 overs he has a hundred. The point is, they know they’ve got no chance of winning the Test match; they have a game to save. That is what it’s all about.’
On when India should start to panic
Wessels: ‘If South Africa are four down at tea time, India will be worried.’
Simons: ‘I think this young Indian team has already started to think that. It’s been an incredible performance to lose just two wickets in these conditions. It’s a long way to go still, but I think some of them are already thinking it. They’re not saying it in the change room, but they are thinking it. The doubt is starting to creep in and that is exactly what we need.’