x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

India confident of passing the Test

Amit Mishra takes key wickets of captain Smith and Kallis but bad light and rain allow for only 34.1 overs on the fourth day.

Amit Mishra is congratulated by captain Dhoni, left, and other teammates after the dismissal of Graeme Smith at the Eden Gardens.
Amit Mishra is congratulated by captain Dhoni, left, and other teammates after the dismissal of Graeme Smith at the Eden Gardens.

Gary Kirsten, the India coach, has backed his bowlers to topple South Africa today and retain their No1 ranking in Test cricket after being frustrated by rain on the fourth day of the second Test in Kolkata. India's march towards a series-levelling win was hampered by bad weather, with just 34.1 overs and 157 minutes of play being possible yesterday. Trailing by 232 runs and three wickets down, South Africa will be praying for more rain today, or another double century from Hashim Amla, who will resume on 49 not out this morning, if they are to salvage an unlikely draw. Kirsten, however, is confident his bowlers, particularly his spinners, will be able to finish the job. "It was disappointing not to be on the field," he said.

"That's the way it is. We can't fight the weather. It would have been handy to have 50 overs, but we've just got to get on with it and use the time available to us. We didn't become the No 1 ranked team for nothing. "We've got guys who are breaking records in world cricket. We're very proud of our performances. We had a wobble in the last Test, and we have had a lot of injuries as well. "And we bounced back here.The guys have shown for a while now, in the last 18 months, that when their backs are against the wall, they can bounce back - not just the batsmen, but the bowlers as well. "Amit Mishra bowled really well yesterday, so did Harbhajan Singh. With the two of them bowling really well, and with Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan adding in as well, we are in a good position. It obviously depends on how many overs are available to us."

Meanwhile, India have recalled Yusuf Pathan, the hard-hitting batsman, for the first two of the three one-day internationals against South Africa. Pathan, who was dropped after the Champions Trophy in South Africa last year, returns on the back of an astonishing double century that helped West Zone chase a world-record 536 to win the Duleep Trophy earlier this month. Gautam Gambhir has been omitted due to a groin injury, while Harbhajan will miss the first two ODIs as he has been granted time off to attend his sister's wedding. India will also be without Yuvraj Singh, who has not yet recovered from a wrist injury. The Indian Premier League will announce on March 8 the two new franchises to be added to the Twenty20 tournament, Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has revealed. The owners of the two new teams to join the league next year have been a matter of intense speculation after Modi stated he had received interest from an English Premier League team. arizvi@thenational.ae

South Africa 296 (second innings, overnight 6-0): Graeme Smith lbw b Mishra 20 Alviro Petersen c Badrinath b Harbhajan 21 Hashim Amla batting 49 Jacques Kallis c Dhoni b Mishra 20 Ashwell Prince batting 0 Extras: (5nb) 5 Total: (for three wickets, 34 overs) 111 Fall or wickets: 1-36, 2-54, 3-111. Bowling: Zaheer Khan 6-0-32-0 Harbhajan Singh 13-3-31-1 Ishant Sharma 8-1-36-0 (4nb) Amit Mishra 7-3-15-2 (1nb) Virender Sehwag 1-0-1-0. India 643-6 decl.