Hope Kotla lasts the distance: Birrell

Hope Kotla lasts the distance: Birrell
Their proud nine-year Test record on road dented, South Africa would not like to bow out of their long Indian tour with a defeat. The rank turners here have proved to be their bane. The Proteas assistant coach Adrian Birrell, after inspecting the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla, however, was hopeful that the fourth and last Test here may actually last more than three days.

India lead the four Test series 2-0 with the second Test at Bengaluru being a wash out. Both the Tests at Mohali and Nagpur have folded in within three days with India winning.

"We have had a look at the pitch. We are happy with what we saw. We are playing in India and we expect pitches to turn. This one looks like to go on for more than three days. Like every other pitch, we are happy to play on what we are provided with. But we have not played good cricket yet, so we are determined to put up a good performance," Birrell told reporters.

Birrell felt the early wrap of Test matches is becoming a common trend. “It it is beyond India. Quite a few Test matches are ending in three days. I mean the D/N pink ball Test (between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide) did not go full distance. There are very few draws with T20 cricket. Runs are coming a lot quicker. I won't say whether it is good or bad.

"India have won a series and they have outplayed us. No complaints. We are looking forward to trying and outplaying them.”

Birrell felt India have got better spinners who have given them the edge in the series. “We have struggled with bat, we have had only two half-centuries. But India lost their last eight batsmen for 38 runs in Nagpur. They have also struggled. The difference has been that they have had better spin bowlers," he said.

Meanwhile the availability of their strike bowler Dale Steyn, who is nursing a groin injury, remains uncertain.

"He is still nursing a little bit of groin injury. We need him hundred percent before we play him in a Test match. He will undergo another round of fitness Test tomorrow before a decision is made,” he said.

“For the match every single player is available for selection. But I wouldn't be surprised if we see some one or two other faces in the team come Thursday," he said.

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