Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid - K. MURALI KUMAR

Rahul Dravid, India’s newly appointed coach said that India’s batsmen need to better seize their chances and aim for longer partnerships if they are to bounce back from their Test defeat on Thursday and still win their maiden series in South Africa.

India lost by seven wickets in the second Test at the Wanderers on Thursday, which sets up an exciting finale in Cape Town next week with the series level at 1-1.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

Rahul Dravid Reckons Indian Batsmen Need To Get Those Partnerships And Look To Seize A Few Key Moments

If India are to win, and in the process take a first-ever series victory in South Africa, they will need to do some sharpening at the top of the batting order, coach Rahul Dravid told a post-match virtual news conference on Thursday. An injured Virat Kohli may return in the 3rd Test, but the question arises whom will he replace and whether he can score much-needed big runs.

“The wickets in the first two tests have been a little challenging, I will give that to the batsmen. But we pride ourselves on wanting to do better and the batting unit certainly can look to maybe seize a few key moments and when we get those partnerships, maybe make them a little bit longer,” Rahul Dravid said.

India cricket team. Credits: BCCI
India cricket team. Credits: BCCI

“In the first innings the ball sort of tended to kick up a little bit, but we could have probably got maybe 60-70 more runs,” said Rahul Dravid.

India was bowled out for 202 in their first innings, to which the hosts replied with 229. India then scored 266 in their second innings on a deteriorating pitch to set South Africa an imposing target of 240, which they reached with seven wickets to spare after a doggedly determined batting performance.

Rahul Dravid Said He Wants India Needs To Keep On Improving And Urges Batsmen To Convert Starts To Hundreds

In the 2nd Test, KL Rahul top-scored with a valiant 50 in the 1st innings but the rest except Ravichandran Ashwin (46) weren’t up to the mark while in the 2nd innings, under fire Cheteshwar Pujara(53) and Ajinkya Rahane(58) finally fired when needed most but couldn’t convert starts into much needed big hundreds.

“Certainly we’d like to bat a little bit better. We need to keep improving and getting better. Maybe some of the guys who got starts could have converted those into hundreds,” added Rahul Dravid.

Rassie van der Dussen and Dean Elgar
Rassie van der Dussen and Dean Elgar. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)
“I think that was the difference in the first Test where KL Rahul went on to get a hundred for us and we ended up on the winning side. In the second Test, they had someone (Dean Elgar) who ended up on 96 and they ended up on the winning side. It really shows you the importance, on these kinds of wickets, of one of your batsman going on and making a big score,” the coach said.
Dean Elgar truly played a captain’s knock, scoring a valiant 96* to guide the hosts to a seven-wicket victory at the Wanderers, a venue which India so proudly called their fortress away from home, with their highest successful run chase at the venue. He found some good assistance from Aiden Markram and Keegan Petersen before scripting back-to-back fifty-plus stands with Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma.
The rain had washed out the first two sessions and a minimum of 34 overs were to be bowled in the day. As it turned out, South Africa needed only 27.4 overs of those to knock off the remaining 122 runs.
South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) and 243 for 3 (Elgar 96*, van der Dussen 40, Ashwin 1-26) beat India 202 (Rahul 50, Ashwin 46, Jansen 4-31, Rabada 3-64, Olivier 3-64) and 266 (Rahane 58, Ngidi 3-43, Jansen 3-67) by seven wickets