Centurion: He is definitely disappointed to have given away his wicket at the fag end of the proceedings on Saturday but Gautam Gambhir has no doubts about India saving the ongoing first cricket Test against South Africa here.
After getting his grip on the SuperSport Park pitch, Gambhir departed, lbw to Dale Steyn in the last half-an-hour of the third day on Saturday with India still trailing South Africa by 294 runs.
He was of the view that the pitch has changed drastically after the opening day.
"We always thought that it is going to be good wicket to bat on. Unfortunately, we lost the toss and had to bat first on the wicket. That time the wicket was bit damp and ball was really moving around. But in the second innings things have changed drastically and the wicket is good for batting. But we believe that we can bat long to save this match," Gambhir said at the post-match press conference.
"We have done the same thing in Napier, New Zealand. The Napier Test experience is vital for us. It gives us backing that if we have done it in the past why we cannot do it again. If we can draw this match then the series can turn in our favour," he stressed.
India ended the third day`s plat at 190 for two in their second innings after South Africa declared their first essay at a mammoth 620 for four.
Speaking about India`s strategy on the fourth day tomorrow, the left-hander said, "Our focus is not to peep in future. We are planning to take session by session. I believe if we can bat well on Saturday, we can do the same on the fourth and the fifth day."
Gambhir also backed his opening partner Virender Sehwag (62), who on Saturday threw away his wicket after getting a good start.
"One should not blame Sehwag. That`s the way he bats. He has his own style. He still remains as the most dangerous batsman in our side. I think our batting line-up is strong and experienced enough to bat long. We have great batters like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman who can do the job for us," he insisted.
He refused to talk much on Sachin Tendulkar`s long-awaited 50th Test century, saying if the champion batsman achieves the feat while helping India salvage the match, it will be a double delight for the visitors.
"I think that Sachin paaji`s (brother) aim will be to bat well and save this Test match and not think about his 50th Test century. If he bats well and manages to save the match and in the way gets to his century that will be icing on the cake," Gambhir said.
Gambhir also stressed that no matter what people say about India`s performance on away tours, he was proud to be a member of the number one Test team in the world.
"We are number one side because we have played well over a consistent period of time. I love to earn respect from my colleagues and not from opposition," he said.
He also came in support for the Indian bowlers, who cut a sorry figure in South Africa`s first innings.
"I will not blame our bowlers. Don`t forget that they tried their best and that is most important for us. Our bowlers were bowling on flat track and in conditions good for batting.”
"Yes we could have bowled bit tighter especially this morning. We conceded far too many runs in the first session on Saturday," Gambhir said.