Indian team have their flight booked just a few hours after 5pm on 6th January - the 5th and last day of their 2006-07 tour of South Africa. Which means that last 48 hours in African nation will decide how our boys will feel on that flight back home.. and how well they will be recieved at the airport..!!
Day 3 asked for some strong decisions from Rahul Dravid and even though he fielded misrably all day - he rarely made any wrong move. Bowlers were changed just about at the perfect time, right replacements were called and most importantly - South African run rate was never allowed to brake free. In fact - they made 373 off 128.3 overs at 2.90 runs per over, quite a bit less than what Indian first Innings was played at.
The pitch was taking spin, but no awkward bounce - something that Anil Kumble relies on. As South African batsmen were determined enough to build partnerships, one after another, Day 3 of 3rd test match at Newlands Cape Town proved to be an engorising test match day.
With 2 wickets in the first session, 4 in middle session and remaining 3 in last session - Indian bowlers not only bowled out South Africa - they also salvaged a lead of "invaluable" 41 runs...... So, the question remains - what next??
The problem for Dravid is that Munaf is injured and even Sreesanth was in trouble with his heal. Having said that, all we need is two substantial partnerships on Day 4, and just one batsman to complete his century. This will mean that we make at least 250 runs in the second innings and that must seal the match for us..
But wait a minute - we must eat up some more time as well. This Cape Town test match is not the one where run making is typically easy. Our target should be to play 55 to 65 overs tomorrow... even if they don't yield too many runs..
Remember - South Africa will go for a win at any cost. Because they can't digest a draw series on their home soil.... So if we have a chance to reduce their chance of winning this test, even at the cost of not winning it ourselves - take it.
We won 2 sessions out of three on Day 3. But still the match is evenly balanced. Our aim should be to win just one session tomorrow - make enough runs for Kumble and he will win the match for us.
I also expect Sachin to make some plans against Paul Harris - because this left arm spinner will again try to dry up the runs from one end by bowling outside leg stump... and even Sehwag back at the top won't be a bad choice - mixing aggression with calmness of Wasim Jaffer.