Johannesburg — Keegan Petersen who spent more time batting in this match than any other South African said the surface won’t be getting any easier and that any target above 200 in the final innings would be extremely difficult to chase.
India’s lead is already 58 runs, after they’d wiped out South Africa’s slim 27-run advantage in rapid fashion in the final session of the second day on Tuesday. Petersen top scored with 62 as the Proteas made 229 in their first innings. It was an innings that showed off the 28 year old’s solid technique, that allows for some very elegant strokeplay
“I’m happy, I wish I could have done more to put the team in a better position. It was a decent effort, given the conditions,” he said of his innings that lasted four minutes shy of three hours, in which he faced 118 balls and hit nine fours.
He credited the many hours spent training as a youngster, with father Dirkie in the nets at Boland Park as providing the foundation for his efficient technique which has quickly caught the eye of many viewers.
“I’ve batted the same way since I was a kid. My dad threw thousands of balls at me, he is the only one I’ve been working with my whole life. He probably knows my game and technique better than I do.“
The conditions here certainly tested both temperament and technique, and Petersen showed up well on both fronts.
“That pitch is not getting any better or easier to bat on. It was good bowling this morning. I was saying to Bouch this morning that this is a top quality bowling attack, who keep you on your toes all the time.”
"I'm not sure what the right way to bat here is. The attacking option worked out for a couple of guys, but it wasn't really overly attacking, it was more about pouncing on the bad ball when it does come, and making the most of it, because there weren’t many. Whatever they had to offer, we had to take."
Petersen shared a partnership of 74 for the second wicket with Proteas captain Dean Elgar, but all of that hard work was undone in the last 30 minutes before lunch when both were dismissed by India’s hero, Shardul Thakur.
The Indian seamer finished with career best figures of 7/61 in 17.5 overs.
The surface is certainly favourable for the seamers, which is why South Africa’s players would have been furious as they headed back to their hotel with their poor execution in the final session which allowed India to score at four runs an over to reach 85/2 at stumps.
“In the session this morning, the Indian bowlers came out guns blazing, it was a very challenging two hours to bat out there. The wicket was quite tricky so both in terms of the conditions and the plans that the (Indian bowlers) executed, made it tough,” said Petersen.
The poor final session with the ball, leaves South Africa with little wiggle room on Wednesday morning. They simply have to bowl better, target the stumps and limit the errors. “We’ve not put a number on it as far as what we’d prefer to chase,” Petersen remarked. “The more they get the more difficult it will be for us to chase it. It’s a difficult attack to come up against. Realistically anything under 200 will be a good total to chase.”