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“Thankfully finished with a wicket; could have easily picked up couple more” – Paras Mhambrey outlines India’s plan for Day 4

India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey welcomed the wicket of captain Dean Elgar right at the end but admitted that the team should have scalped a few more. The Proteas have the upper hand at the end of Day 3, needing 111 more runs with eight batters remaining.

Jasprit Bumrah (1 for 29) and Mohammed Shami (1 for 22) – India’s two strike bowlers – probed with the new ball, while Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur looked rather toothless. Lauding the overall performance, Mhambrey opined that the team needed a bit of luck to make further inroads.

“I think we bowled well. Yes we could have easily picked up couple of wickets. The ball popped up, hit the glove, landed here and there, missed those edges, but we could have easily picked up couple of more wickets,” India’s bowling chief said at the post-day press conference.

South Africa seemed to be sailing towards the 212-run target, with Elgar (30 off 96) and Keegan Petersen (48* off 61) set in the middle. But Bumrah had the South Africa skipper caught down the leg-side with what eventually turned out to be the final ball of the day, thus breaking the sublime 78-run alliance.

Paras Mhambrey echoed similar emotions while admitting that Elgar’s wicket came as a breath of fresh air. The 49-year-old added that India’s pace attack needs to be patient while consistently hitting the right areas in the first session tomorrow.

“It was important that we picked up a wicket, that too of Dean. Yeah they did score well, I thought at one stage, it looked like it was getting tight. But thankfully finished the day with a wicket, and that’s what you want – at times, you want that kind of a breakthrough. It’s pretty simple – we got to go out there and bowl well and try our best, pick up those wickets.

“There’s still something up and down on the wicket – if you hit the right areas, there’s still something happening with the ball and that’s going to be encouraging in the morning. So first session is critical for us, just go out there and from a bowling perspective, just hit the right areas and be a little more patient,” Mhambrey elaborated.

Earlier in the day, India managed just 198 in their second innings, with wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant smashing a blistering 100* off 139 balls.

“Sometimes you don’t get a day off” – Mhambrey on India’s overworked pace battery

India need all their four pacers firing on Day 4 if they are to fashion a victory
India need all their four pacers firing on Day 4 if they are to fashion a victory

When the fourth innings of a Test starts on the third day, it means that the fast bowlers are overworked after not getting adequate recovery time.

Quizzed about the increased workload of the bowlers in such a situation, India’s bowling coach once again highlighted the grueling nature of Test cricket. He, however, shed light on the importance of the backroom staff in keeping the players going.

“At a stage when you have bowled so many overs, recovery is extremely important. You have got a fabulous support staff out there to help them in terms of the recovery. And that’s Test cricket, sometimes there’s going to be a day when you really don’t get much time. Ideally you want a break, but sometimes you don’t get a day off, but that’s something you got to be prepared for,” Paras Mhambrey said in response to a Sportskeeda query.

A first Test series win in South Africa still beckons, but in order to achieve that, the Indian bowlers need to bowl out of their skin and force a collapse.

Edited by Sai Krishna

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