PRETORIA, (Reuters) – South Africa coach Ottis Gibson has urged his side to keep their “game faces” on ahead of day
five as they close in on a series victory over top-ranked India in the second test in Pretoria.
South Africa set the tourists 287 to win before reducing India to 35 for three at the close yesterday, with the huge wicket of in-form Virat Kohli in the bag. “We are in a good position in the game, it’s been four days of grinding test cricket, so to be a little bit in the ascendancy is a good place to be,” Gibson told SuperSport.
“It’s not finished yet, we have to make sure that when we wake up tomorrow morning we have still got our game faces on.” The South African camp have made it known they are unhappy with the uncharacteristic pitch at Centurion Park, having hoped for a seaming wicket to assist their powerful pace attack. Instead they have a pitch that looks more Pune than Pretoria, though the variable bounce is something their fast bowlers have been able to exploit.
“You want a certain type of wicket when you play at home and when you don’t get it you still have to perform. The guys have worked hard, they have toiled a little bit when they have had to,” Gibson said.
“Once you get over the disappointment of seeing a very brown pitch, it looks more Indian than Centurion, you have to work out what lines and lengths you want to be bowling. “The first innings I thought we were perhaps a little bit wide but today we made the adjustment and brought the stumps into play and it has worked out for us.”
Debutant seamer Lungi Ngidi bagged the key wicket of Kohli for five in the second innings with a ball that jagged back and kept low, trapping the Indian captain lbw. He has figures of 2-14 in India’s second innings and is likely to be a handful again on the final day.
“He is very exciting, like I said before the test match I had heard a lot of good things about him. Mark Boucher and a lot of other good cricket brains speak very highly of him,” Gibson said. “He has come in and settled very well.” South Africa won the first match of the three-test series by 72 runs in Cape Town.