'Four down at stumps would've been ideal'

“Four down at stumps would have been ideal,” Laxman said on Sunday, which India finished on 183 for six. “Rahul and I were out in quick succession. It was very important that both of us carried on.

That would have put a lot of pressure on the South African bowlers. How we start tomorrow will be very important. Anything above 250 will be a good score, assuming the conditions remain the same.”

Laxman pointed out that the conditions here were more demanding than in Centurion, where India were rolled over for 136. “The wicket here is much quicker and the bounce is also more. The Centurion wicket was soft and slow. I think the conditions will remain the same at least for three days here.”

Acknowledging that it was a track where a wicket was always round the corner, he went on, “The bowlers are always going to be in with a chance because this is one of those wickets. There's a lot of help for the seamers, but being patient will be very important.”

Laxman said Dale Steyn, who took four wickets, was in no way inferior to the likes of Allan Donald and Glenn McGrath. “He is right up there,” he noted. “He and Morne Morkel are among the top-class bowlers I've faced, they're top-class performers.”

Steyn, who finished with four for 36, echoed Laxman on the patience theme. “We know the conditions are such that everybody is expecting wickets. That’s why my first spell was extended up to seven overs. I always knew there was a wicket just around the corner, the idea was to remain patient.

“It all boils down to the basics of cricket. If you can hit your areas and be patient, something will happen, something will give. We’ve got our plans for all their batsmen.”
Steyn dismissed Laxman with an incredible catch by Lonwabo Tsotsobe at mid-on.

“It was unbelievable,” he gushed. “I think I only got three wickets today, and he took a great catch. He can fall asleep sometimes in the field, but that was unbelievable. I am actually pretty jealous of that catch. It was his first Test catch and it will be one he will remember for a long time.”

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