'Second innings will be crucial'

'Second innings will be crucial'

India on Thursday came up with a fine bowling effort to restrict South Africa to 213 for six, and Ajinkya Rahane said they would have to bat well in second innings to maximize the advantage.

“We wanted to bat as long as possible, but that didn’t happen. Virat Kohli batted well for his hundred yesterday and we had three crucial partnerships, so I can say that the batting unit has done very well. Our second innings will be very crucial,” said Rahane.

The Mumbai batsman had made a fine 47 to help India reach 280, and said batting in South African conditions was a challenging experience. “Batting on this pitch is not difficult, but challenging. Because, the South Africa pace attack is very good. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are very experienced bowlers. I just wanted to bat within my limitations and take my time in the middle. I have experience of 65 First-Class games, so that helped. Also, I toured here in August as part of India-A team. So the experience of the conditions here also helped me,” Rahane said.

Despite having a good day, Indians would have a still better day had they grabbed the catches of Graeme Smith on 19 and Faf Du Plesis on 17 towards the end of the day.

“This is part and parcel of the game. We need to back our teammates on the field and give them confidence. South Africa are still trailing us by 67 runs. We need to come back tomorrow and continue to bowl well and take wickets of their tail. Then we need to bat well, because chasing 275 runs on this pitch will be a challenge,” said Rahane.

Hashim Amla said South Africa needed to bag as many runs as possible on the morrow.

“We need to reach as close to India as possible and then need to curb their second innings score.”

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