Captains agree small details will decide final Test

Cape Town: Attention to detail will be the key to the outcome of the third and deciding Test between South Africa and India starting at Newlands on Sunday, according to the opposing captains.

India, the world`s top-ranked side, are keen to win their first series in South Africa although they will retain their place at the top of the rankings regardless of the outcome.

The visitors squared the series in Durban on Wednesday against the world number two side after losing the first Test by an innings.

"It is a very balanced series. Both the teams have done well, South Africa played really well in the first Test and we came back strongly in the second Test," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told a news conference.

"It is up to the last test now and what we now focus on is small little things that we think are important, right from preparing for the game to good plans and how we execute those plans on the field."

"These are the small things that if we take care of them, at the end of the day you will get the desired results more often than not."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith sang from the same song sheet.

"I felt we were little bit off our mark in Durban, we were not as precise as we needed to be. When you play on a pitch like that, the margins are small. We probably lacked a bit of tough discipline at times and making the little things count. In the end we let ourselves down," he said.

"In the key moments we were not good enough and India were better than us."

It is the second successive series in South Africa in which India have entered the final Test in Cape Town at 1-1. They were unable to go the distance in 2006-7, losing by five wickets.

"The fact is this is one of the best chances for us to win our first series in South Africa. If you see the last series in 2006, we were in the same position. It is a fair chance, but the team that plays consistently over the next five days will be lifting the trophy," Dhoni added.

"Winning in South Africa will be a big thing for us. We all know we can win a Test series in South Africa by taking care of the small things by preparing well. I think the senior players always tend to do that, take care of the small things. That`s the reason for them being so successful all over the world."

"Of course, South Africa will feel the pressure a bit because we are the touring team and we were one down in the series and then we came back and won the last Test."

Smith said his batsmen needed to take a step up after being bowled out for 131 and 215 in Durban.

"We were poor in Durban as a batting unit. We have had some good honest chats about that and I think our batting unit has been pretty successful, but in Durban we lost our minds a little bit," he said.

"Hopefully we can gather our strength, the top six especially, for this Test. Everyone has generally got good records here and it`s a really strong ground for us. We are hoping to use all that and come out and put in a big performance."

South Africa are likely to field the team who played in the previous two tests while Gautam Gambhir is set to return to the top of the Indian batting order after recovering from a bruised hand. Murali Vijay, who scored 19 and nine in Durban, will be the batsman to make way.

Probable teams

South Africa - Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

India - Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Vangipurappu Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

Bureau Report

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