'We need to put in a lot of effort'

Kirsten refrains from pulling up Virender Sehwag for reckless shot

Having led a charmed existence as India set out to see off 135 overs and escape with a draw, Sehwag tonked left-arm spinner Rangana Herath across the line in the first over after tea and was caught at long-on.

“We know the way be generally plays. We graciously accept the benefits when he makes a big contribution,” Kirsten told newsmen.

“At the same time, there is always a risk attached to the way he plays cricket. That’s the way it is. 190 for two was a good batting effort. Obviously, 190 for one would have been better, but I am pleased with what the guys did there. The wicket’s good for batting. We need to apply ourselves and put in a nice concentrated effort tomorrow, and hopefully we can see it through.”

India still need 144 runs more to stave off an innings defeat. “We got the batsmen, we got the skill in our team to do what we need to do tomorrow,” Kirsten said of the 90-over battle of attrition ahead of the team. “But it requires a lot of concentration and a lot of effort and for people to say I’m ready to make it a total effort to save the game for India.”

Gautam Gambhir had bailed India out of a similar situation in Napier in March. “We know what he is capable of and he has proven that,” remarked Kirsten as he spoke of qualities required to play out time. “It is playing the situation. The bottom line is we need to bat for 80 percent of the day, we have the skills to see it through.

“The quicker we wipe off the deficit, the better. It’s bit of mix and match. You don’t want to dig yourself into a hole by playing defensively and at the same time, you don’t want to take too much risk. It’s a bit of a balancing act.”

Refusing to read too much into the Muttiah Muralitharan factor, Kirsten went on, “Murali is a world-class bowler, a threat to any team. It’s up to us to make sure we can prevent him from doing any major damage. Our guys have played him a lot, they know what to expect from him but then he’s not the world record holder for no reason.”

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