'It'll be great achievement'

'It'll be great achievement'

Kirsten lauds players for standing up to challenges

Should they go on to win the final Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will supplant South Africa as the number one Test team. “It is great, it is something that we aspired for 18 months ago. Before we started against Australia in Australia, we wanted to become the best Test team in the world,” Kirsten told newsmen. “So it will be a great achievement. Hopefully, we can wrap it up tomorrow, do what we need to do. A lot of credit goes to the players in this team, they have all stood up to the tests at various times.”

The former South African opener was happy that India reduced Sri Lanka to 274 for six in their second innings, still 59 shy of avoiding an innings defeat. “It is a great day,” he gushed. “We thought if we got six wickets throughout the day, we would be happy. As a group, the bowlers have bowled exceptionally well. The second session was a very big one for us, we were able to pick up four wickets.

“We kept it really tight in the first session and did not give away unnecessary runs, put them under pressure after lunch. The third session wasn’t good enough, the guys were a little tired.

“They have world-class batsmen like Sangakkara around, they don’t give up too easily. He has halted things, but we have enough of time to get the tean wickets and chase down whatever runs may be required.”

Virender Sehwag had spoken the previous day of his chat with Kirsten in Ahmedabad that helped him immensely through the series. “I have seen a lot of Virender Sehwag. He made a triple in Chennai last year, it was as entertaining,” he remarked, referring to Sehwag’s 293 here. “Even when Virender gets 40, it is exciting. His momentum is good and the new batsman is not under pressure to score runs quickly. He was not disappointed at not making 300. In this team, the individuals look to Team India doing well. He was happy that we were in a very good position and he was a massive contributor.”