India coach Rahul Dravid said on Sunday that his side had room for improvement ahead of the second Test against South Africa starting at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Dravid sent out a clear message that there was no room for complacency following India’s 113-run win in the first Test in Centurion.
Dravid praised the Indian bowlers for twice bowling out South Africa for under 200 and gave credit to the top-order batsmen for setting up the game with their batting on the first day.
“It’s not very often you come to overseas conditions and get to 272 for three on the first day,” he said. “We know we could probably have got more (runs). To get bowled out for 327, that’s something we’d like to improve.”
Dravid added that India could also have batted better in the second innings, when they were dismissed for 174.
“It was a good Test match but there are areas where we can learn and improve because we know we are going to have to do it in this game.”
India’s recently-appointed coach said there was an awareness in the team that in the past that “maybe we’ve slipped up a little after winning a game. We’re going to work very hard because I expect South Africa to respond tomorrow”.
Dravid gave credit to Virat Kohli’s role as captain and said it was “just a matter of time” before Kohli started making big scores again.
“Virat has been a phenomenal leader on and off the field. I thought the team was in a really good space leading into the first Test and a lot of that was due to Virat.”
Dravid said he expected a typical Wanderers pitch. “There might be something for the bowlers, as there usually is, and then for it to flatten out a bit, although it does get a little harder for batsmen towards the end.
“We know we have to play well because both teams are capable of taking 20 wickets and there is probably going to be a result over five days if the weather holds.”
Dravid said India were aware of the need to improve their over-rate after being docked a world championship point for failing to bowl their overs in time in Centurion.
“The rules are the same for everyone,” he said. “It’s hard when you have four seamers and the weather is hot but it is something we need to work on.”
– Elgar ‘shocked’ by De Kock retirement –
South African captain Dean Elgar said Kyle Verreynne would replace the now-retired Quinton de Kock as wicketkeeper-batsman and hinted that there might be “other combinations” that would change in the home team’s line-up.
Elgar said he was “pretty shocked” by De Kock’s decision to retire from Test cricket, which was announced after the first Test.
“I wasn’t aware that it was going to happen,” said Elgar. “Sitting down with Quinny he explained the reasons for it and I very much respect his decision and the space he is in at the moment.”
Elgar said he did not believe De Kock’s decision to quit Tests and concentrate on white-ball cricket at the age of 29 would spark an exodus of players deciding to chase the big money available in competitions like the Indian Premier League.
But he said he hoped De Kock would not come to regret opting out of the five-day game.
“I don’t think his decision is going to jeopardise Test cricket going forward,” he said. “We as a group have to get over it. The game moves on.”
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