Proteas looking for knockout blow

2010-12-18 00:00

SOUTH Africa plan to bat India out of the match, before unleashing their quicks on a pitch that has quickened up after baking all day yesterday.

“It should definitely quicken up if the sun shines, and that should work in our favour,” opener Alviro Petersen said last night.

Petersen (77) set the foundations along with skipper Graeme Smith (62), before the middle-order pair of Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla really tore into the wilting visitors.

“It wasn’t easy to bat up front, because the new ball was moving around,” Petersen explained.

“But we were not concerned about the runs in the first 10 overs, because we knew that it would get easier with time.”

It certainly did, and the Proteas were also very positive against Harbhajan Singh’s spin.

“It wasn’t a ploy to go after him, but we did say that if he bowled in our scoring areas, we should look to be positive.

“Obviously putting him under pressure meant the seamers had to bowl more overs, and that also played into our hands,” Petersen noted.

The start that he and Smith provided set the tone, but Kallis and Amla really put the foot down.

“I thought Jakes and Hash batted beautifully, because it is not an easy wicket when you get in,” Petersen said.

The opener also pointed out that the game had moved on very quickly, and that would allow the Proteas to bat once — and bat long.

“Bowling them out for 130 has given us a bit more time, and while we respect India because they have played good cricket for the last few years, we know we have a very good chance to win this game.”

The Indians, meanwhile, lamented their bowling display.

Rahul Dravid said they had bowled too full, and admitted that they had missed Zaheer Khan.

“He is a world-class bowler, and we missed him out there,” Dravid said.

“We just have to stay positive and believe that we have enough talent to still save this match.”

With three days still to play, and a pitch that is quickening up for the Proteas pacemen, the odds are heavily stacked against the tourists.

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