Proteas have the belief - coach

Faf Du Plessis (Gallo)
Faf Du Plessis (Gallo)

Johannesburg - The Proteas have the fight and belief to see out a draw in the current Test against India at the Wanderers.

Assistant coach, Adrian Birrell, says the batsmen reflected on past experiences before the start of the fourth innings, and will be taking it session-by-session as they look to bat out the remaining 90 overs on the fifth day.

 "We had a bit of a talk before we started batting and we drew on past experiences," Birrell said at the end of the day’s play.

"We believe that you learn belief through your experiences and our experiences have been good in the past. We have shown the resilience of batting through the whole day before and that is what we are drawing on to approach this innings.

"The first hour will be important because it will give us the foundation to fight for the rest of the day," he added. "In a game like this every session is a match in itself. Every session will determine how we do in the following session and give us the confidence to continue fighting." 

The first priority for the Proteas is to play for a draw, but they haven’t ruled out the possibility of chasing down the highest fourth innings total for victory if the opportunity presents itself.

"At the moment we're thinking of the draw," Birrell said when asked about going for the win. "But you never know with the likes of AB de Villiers still to come and the other remarkable players in our change room. We won’t make the call now, it’s too far ahead to think. If we bat the full day and we bat at the rate that we normally bat, we won’t be far off from the win after 90 overs."  

 The partnership between Alviro Petersen (76) and Faf du Plessiss (10) has steadied the chase following the soft dismissals of Graeme Smith (44) and Hashim Amla (4). Du Plessis has the experience of gritting it out under pressure following his hundred on debut against Australia in Adelaide, and Petersen a point to prove following a lean patch with the bat.

"Alviro has played fantastically well today, he is well placed for a big score," said Birrell. "They are both there and we have full confidence that they can bat a long time tomorrow and lay the foundation to fight for the day. They are both fighters, they are not going to give it away, it’s a great opportunity for them to play a meaningful and long innings." 

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