Before the start of the second Test,AB de Villiers,oozing with confidence,had said that South Africa wanted to dominate world cricket. On the heels of a big win in Nagpur,the Proteas came to the Eden Gardens as favourites with fast bowler Dale Steyn firing on all cylinders.
Over the last five days,however,things looked bleak for the No 2 ranked side in the world. Other than Hashim Amlas consistency,their batsmen choked under pressure,their bowlers and fielders were found panicking against an Indian onslaught led by Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman. Debutant Alviro Petersens century was the only other flash of brilliance for the Proteas but for a side that aims to stamp its authority on world cricket.
South Africas batting consultant Kepler Wessels admitted that the body language of the players were not very positive at times. Its tough to keep your body language up when you are under the hammer. So many opportunities were lost and that had an effect, Wessels said. The visitors dropped four catches during Indias innings,two of which Sehwag got life when he was on 47 and MS Dhoni had a reprieve even before he was set turned out to be crucial. South Africa had failed to win the home series against England before coming to India,before allowing the momentum to further slip here.
Consistency is an issue for us. We have to work on that, Wessels added,while coach Corrie van Zyl said that his boys failed to execute the plans properly.
Skipper Graeme Smith believes that his side must be given credit for pushing India to the brink in alien conditions. This Test side has achieved some incredible results in the last two years… achievements that other teams have not done for 16-20 years and we need to look at that. You must give credit to India for the way they performed today. The fact that we are able to draw a series in India is a credit to our players. If you see the recent records of the teams that have toured here,not many teams have been able to push India like we have done in these conditions. Thats the positive for us more than anything else, Smith said.