It’s great to be in a strong position after two days of the first Test, and I was especially pleased to be able to share a big partnership with Hash after we were in early trouble. I always enjoy batting with him because he is a wonderful calming influence out in the middle.
His innings just typified one of the key features of this team: that the team good comes first and individual performances are secondary. As for my own innings, I’m really enjoying the way I’m batting at the moment and I feel the last two or three years have been the best of my career.
A double-hundred is a personal milestone which the media seem a lot more worried about than me. I don’t lose any sleep over it and if I’m meant to get one I will. You get good balls every now and then, and I’m just happy that my 173 helped the team into a good position.
Hashim has come a long way over the last couple of years and he is now one of the main guys in our batting line-up. He’s proved everyone wrong at No. 3 and is going to score many more runs for South Africa.
India have a top-class attack and they kept at us throughout. Zaheer Khan bowled well with the new ball and I thought the spinners bowled well too. They bowled wider lines at me today and the fields were more defensive, but we had good plans against their bowlers, even though we respect everyone in their attack.
We wanted 550 to 560 and we also wanted to have a new ball to use tomorrow morning.
In Chennai, in 2008, when we drew after a similar first-innings total, the pitch had not deteriorated as much as this and there is quite a lot of rough for Paul Harris to work with, as well as JP Duminy.
And there’s still the possibility of some reverse-swing with the older ball, which gets scuffed up quicker on these abrasive pitches. It’s just a matter of executing our plans well against the Indian batsmen. I also feel like I’m bowling as well as I ever have, so hopefully I can also play an important role in the attack.