• ‘South Africa have to believe’

    HD Ackerman, Eric Simons, Vernon Philander and Ashwell Prince analyse the second day of the third Test between India and South Africa in Nagpur.

    This is what SuperSport’s panel of experts had to say on the following issues:

    On the pitch:
    Ashwell Prince: ‘Have India gone too far? That is the question. If India are a better team in those conditions; if they have better batsmen and better bowlers, why can’t that class shine through over the course of five days? India have not been able to beat South Africa in two previous Test series at home. They’ve now lost the T20 series and the ODI series and probably thought they need to do something, and this is what’s happened. In conditions like these I don’t necessarily think the best team is going to win.’
    Eric Simons: ‘When you sit and watch this you feel it is too much. I don’t think any of the teams have enjoyed playing on this wicket. When the wicket, whether it’s a green seamer or a turner like this, starts dominating the conversation like it is now, then you have gone too far. We are not criticising the pitch because of the result, but because how the game has unfolded because of the conditions.’
    HD Ackerman: ‘I would hate to see what happens on day five on that pitch. Some people are trying to justify the surface because it is being prepared in India, but there is nothing good about it for Test cricket.’

    On Imran Tahir
    HD Ackerman: ‘If South Africa wanted to win this Test match they needed to bowl India out cheaply in the second innings. Simon Harmer and Imran Tahir were the players who could possibly do that for South Africa. Tahir is brought into the attack for the very first time when the lead is 218. He is meant to be South Africa’s No 1 spinner because he has played in all three games so far and Harmer hasn’t. For me, there seems to be a trust issue here. To come into the attack with the lead 218; that is already too much of a lead. He is a match-winner. He takes wickets. Yes he can be expensive, but South Africa needed wickets.’
    Ashwell Prince: ‘Tahir looked dejected when the cameras showed him fielding on the boundary or wherever he was fielding. He probably thought he should be bowling and wondered why he wasn’t. Give credit to him. He took five wickets. That is all he can do. How you manage him is important.’
    Eric Simons: ‘You have to roll the dice somewhere in a match like this, don’t you? If we want to bowl India out for 100 then you have to roll the dice early, you can’t roll it too late.’

    Where this Test is heading
    HD Ackerman: ‘The coin toss has played a huge part in the outcome of the Test match. I know it hasn’t finished yet but think we all know where it’s sliding towards. South Africa can’t have the attitude that we’ve got. They have to believe that they can chase down 310. It’s going to require someone to go and get a big score. I just hope throughout the series they haven’t lost too much confidence as a side because they have given it their best; unfortunately on these surfaces, what can you do? If South Africa win this Test, it will be the greatest victory in the history of South African cricket. That is the mountain these batsmen have to climb.’
    Vernon Philander: ‘I think it’s been an emotional roller coaster for the players. If we are to win this game we are going to need big partnerships and the rest of the guys chip in to get us to the line.’

    Picture: BCCI

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