Kolkata: Despite being at the receiving end of England's dominance in the ongoing third Test here, India's fielding coach Trevor Penney today held out hope of a fightback from the hosts, saying it could still be "even-stevens" if they manage a few early wickets tomorrow.
"If we can get three or four wickets early may be it's evens-stevens after the first innings. So we are still confident, we just need a couple of breakthroughs," Penny said at the end of second day's play at the Eden Gardens here.The Zimbabwean admitted that in-form rival skipper Alastair Cook who notched up his third ton of the series,would be the key man.
"Cook's a key one. He is in prime form, he has really played well in the last three weeks. Try and get him and the match could be even-stevens. It's wide open," he said. Asked whether India's invincibility at home is under threat, he said: "Definitely not. Just two weeks ago, we won convincingly. Last week we had everything in our favour after day one but let it slip, with a very good innings by Kevin Pietersen.
"This match, maybe we should have got more runs in the first innings but tomorrow is a new day." Describing Cook as ultra confident at the moment, Penny said, "He's right up there. He's at the top of his game. Ultra-confident. And he's getting the breaks, a dropped catch or an lbw or something in these last three games.And he goes on to get the big ones, that's his strength. He's right up there."
And has the nature of the pitch changed, Penny said, "The wicket's still the same. It's still very good. I think in the middle session yesterday (James) Anderson reversed the ball very well. He swung it both ways and with the spinner bowling well at the other end, they had a very good middle period which knocked us back a little."
The ball should do the same thing, they just swung it a little bit more than us," Penny said.
Asked why India did not use the part-timers, he said: "That's purely up to the captain. Bowlers are there at his disposal, he felt his main bowlers were doing a good job. Trying to keep it quiet, because it was a very flat wicket. It was up to the captain."