There was a ray of hope in the South African ranks with loads of relief after a day of some sound thrashing by the Indians in general and Virender Sehwag in particular. The relief was understandable because they succeeded in plucking out Sehwag with Sachin Tendulkar and got S. Badrinath as a bonus after being mauled by the first two.
As for hope, they will try and do their best with the second new ball, which is due in four overs. Conditions will be fresh when they get it and in this lies their best chance of keeping India's lead within manageable limits. "It was a very hard day for us. Some really good batting but also, we don't think we executed our game plans particularly well. I think those last three wickets out of which two were really big, have set us up for a good day tomorrow," said coach Corrie van Zyl. "That just brought the balance back."
He blamed the day's sufferings on the inability to execute plans. "We need to look at a few things and get things right in a few areas. You have plans but you got to execute them. I think our patience today was lacking. One thing as a team we can improve upon is patience as a bowling attack."
A dozen wides
On the day Paul Harris called wide 12 times in 24 overs for pitching the ball outside leg stump when bowling over the wicket.
The left-arm spinner who consistently bowled that line in Nagpur came around the wicket for the first seven overs, but reverted to the old ploy after making negligible impact.
Umpire Ian Gould was not impressed and was consistent in calling wide when the ball pitched way outside leg and did not spin back, giving the batsman no chance to play. Van Zyl defended his bowler.
"You can see it as a negative line. The umpire did think so too. Tactically, there wasn't as much turn as there was in Nagpur for Harris. Some of them did turn from the rough, some of them didn't. You got to take the rough with the smooth… Some days it works some days it doesn't."