Friday, January 05, 2007

Time for the last waltz at Cape Town

By John Cheeran
How to plan and pace the Indian second innings today at Cape Town is going to be a challenging task for skipper Rahul Dravid. India need to set a 350-plus target on the final day for South Africa and for that they should score quickly.
But then the key point is that they should not commit collective suicide and make things easier for Graeme Smith and company.
Lack of a sizeable first innings lead has made India’s second innings task really daunting. Trick should be that India make maximum use of the 90 overs on fourth day and think about victory only then.
And Dravid will have to put his batting failures in the series into the shade by playing the lead role with the right blend of caution and aggression. This is the last and best opportunity for Dravid to make amends for big scores in this South African tour.
Going by the Indian tradition, I’m sure the architects of the first innings, openers Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthick will fall all too early in the second innings. Rarely, are Indian batsmen capable of an encore while batting abroad, though Smith says the Cape Town track has taken them back to the dusty lanes of India. So big runs must flow from the blades of Dravid and VVS.
India should first ensure a safe corner from where they can taunt and wound the South Africans. Taking to many chances against the likes of Shaun Pollock and Dale Steyn, and even against the rookie Paul Harris will have its disastrous consequences.
So dance, by all means, but dance with careful steps.

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