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It won't be easy for South Africa: Ganguly

The southpaw denies that the team is under any sort of pressure to defend the low total.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2007 16:55 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Sourav Ganguly on Friday said India had a chance to win the third Test and clinch the series against South Africa as it would not be an easy task for the home team to achieve the target on the final day of the match.

Ganguly believed the game was evenly poised and the South Africans might find it difficult to score the remaining 156 runs to win the match and the series.

"They have to get 156 runs which is not going to be easy. The ball is still new. It is easier to score off the new ball, but it is not so as the ball gets older. I think there is a game on," he said after the end of fourth day's play.

Ganguly hoped that the pitch would help the Indian spinners.

"The pitch is very dry, the driest I have seen overseas. There are a lot of areas for (Anil) Kumble to bowl to left-handers and (Graeme) Smith might have that in back of his mind," he said.

The stylish left-hander denied that the team was under any sort of pressure to defend the low total on Saturday.

"Now it is important to play and not think about winning or losing," he said.

On the slow scoring rate of the Indians on Friday, Ganguly denied the Indians were too defensive and played for a draw.

"There was no such planning. Paul Harris was bowling outside the leg stump and Shaun Pollock also bowled well. So one could not hit on the up and we lost two or three wickets," he said.

Ganguly said the sudden call to go out to bat after Sachin Tendulkar's temporary disqualification did not affect his mindset.

"I just walked down. There was no time to think much. Sometimes it helps. In this series I have often batted with the lower order. I got a chance to bat up the order. It was an opportunity to score big," he said.

Asked if he felt as if he had a point to prove considering his dramatic comeback and if he was looking to play in India's upcoming one-day series and World Cup, Ganguly said he did not have to prove any point to anybody.

"Of course I am looking forward (to one-dayer series and World Cup. I am not here to give any answer to anybody."

"I believed I still was good enough and that's the reason why I played domestic cricket. There was always a chance (for me) to come back," he said.

Ganguly, who scored 214 runs from six innings of three Tests at an average well over 50, believed the turning point for India was the run-out of Laxman in the afternoon.

"I thought that was the turning point. Laxman is quite capable of scoring off the rough, he has done it against Shane Warne and others and he is a player who plays positively".

About why Harbhajan Singh wasn't picked up, he said, "It's difficult to go with two seamers in a Test overseas. All of this is on the hindsight, before the toss you just can't go by the look of the surface as it can be deceptive".

Dale Steyn, who picked up four wickets and polished off the Indian tail, said the team which is most patient will end up as winners in the Test. "It can be flat for seamers but one side, from where Anil Kumble is bowling, it's a bit tough.

"But we have our game plan on how we are going to approach it. More patient team will take the cake tomorrow".

Australian umpire Daryl Harper offered his explanation for two oddities which were seen on the day.

He said he should have told the Indian team that Sachin Tendulkar couldn't have come out to bat before 10.48 am. "Other teams know and managers do keep track of such things but on hindsight I feel we perhaps should have informed the Indian team".

Putting the blame of seven-ball over on the official scorer of the match, he said, "There was discrepancy and the scoreboard in this Test has been very erratic. We have instances where players have complained about it.

"We asked third umpire to check it and we were about to declare the over complete when we got a message on our walkie-talkie from the official scorer that there still remained a ball to be bowled," he added.

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