Cricket

India vs South Africa: Rahul Dravid wants his batters to bat a bit better and seize key moments

Johannesburg: India head coach Rahul Dravid echoed the sentiments of his namesake and stand-in captain KL Rahul by admitting that they need to bat "a bit better" in the series-deciding third Test against South Africa.

Dravid accepted that the lowly first innings score of 202 was at least 70 short and it became the difference in the final context of the game.

India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed to convert fifties into hundreds in second Test. AP

India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed to convert the fifties into hundreds in the second Test. AP

"Honestly, we pride ourselves on wanting to do better and wanting to get better so as a batting unit," Dravid said at the end of the match.

He admitted that some of the key moments weren't seized in this game.

"We have to certainly look to seize a few key moments and certainly when you get those partnerships, may be make them a little bit longer," the coach said.

But he did say that the pitch wasn't an easy one to bat one and only South Africa in the fourth innings of the game looked in control.

"We could have probably got 60-70 runs more in that first innings. Probably that could have made a significant difference to this game and we would like to bat a bit better and need to keep improving," he put across his point as India have now crossed 300 only once in four innings.

While he didn't name anyone, skipper Rahul in the first innings and Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings got fifties but failed to convert.

"May be some of the guys who got starts could have converted into hundreds and that was difference in the first Test as we had Rahul in the first game, who had got hundred for us and we ended up on the winning side.

"And in the second game they had someone (Dean Elgar) scoring 96 and they ended up on winning side."

Elgar showed lot of character even when he looked unconvincing

Dravid feels that South African captain Dean Elgar should get all the credit as he had stuck out for his team in both Tests and this time his unbeaten 96 got his team on level terms with India.

"He did well. You have to give him credit as he stuck it out there in both the Test matches and he is fought through some very difficult periods," Dravid said.

"We have beaten the bat quite a few times and we haven't been really lucky. The odd ball kicked up, hit the gloves and he didn't looked comfortable but stuck out. He has shown a lot of resilience and determination."

The strategies that had worked against Elgar in the previous three innings didn't work on third and fourth afternoons.

"We have clear strategies and plans but at times it doesn't work your way," Dravid said.

Height of Proteas pacers could have been difference

Dravid observed that the pitch "misbehaved" a touch more in terms of variable bounce when the taller South African pacers were in operation compared to their Indian counterparts.

"It felt to us that sitting outside, quite a few balls (bowled by SA pacers) kicked up and hit the batters on gloves. You expect the same when your bowlers are bowling. Just felt like the ball seemed to have misbehaved a little more for them and could be because of height.

"It is because on an "up and down" (variable bounce) wicket, it can happen because of that extra height, tends to make little difference. Obviously, it did not misbehave as much as it did for them."

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Updated Date: January 07, 2022 10:02:05 IST

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