New Delhi: South Africa pacer Kyle Abbott on Saturday said that longer India batted, the better it will be for his side to save the fourth and final cricket Test as they would then need to bat lesser number of overs.
"To be quite honest, the longer they bat, the happier we are. More overs are taken out of the game. To be honest, I thought they will have a crack at us tonight, maybe an hour or so. But obviously not as they wanted to drag it out. If that's the case, it's going to take more overs out for us to bat in the end," Abbott said, indicating that the visitors were just going through the motions.
India were 190 for four in their second innings at stumps on the third day today, an overall lead of 403 runs, after dismissing South Africa for 121 yesterday.
The fatigue factor of the Proteas could be understood from the fact that Abbott feels that his five wicket haul taken yesterday seems like have happened "ages ago".
Asked about his five-for, he smiled and said: "Feels like ages ago after spending today on the field. These are tough conditions here in India. We have seen that the series has been dominated by the spinners, so nice to get in there with a couple of wickets for the seamers."
Abbott was all praise for speedster Morne Morkel's performance today and especially the length that he hit.
"Morne bowls a totally different length from what I bowl. He probably learnt it. I think the yorker (Shikhar Dhawan) was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. That's something you have to do when the pitch is not helping you too much and there's only little bit in the air. Sometimes you have to take the pitch completely out of play," said Abbott.
"I think he (Morkel) bowled exceptionally well and I thought he bowled exceptionally well in the first innings as well. I thought he was a bit unlucky not to get a few there. But he's been a standout for us in the whole series."
Asked if Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal was the best of the series, Abbott replied: "That's a tough one. Like I said, it was 'out of the box' thinking so from that point of view it was. But I think there have been some better ones. We got someone, I think it was Vijay, with a reverse swinging ball that hit him on the back leg and he bowled Rohit with a beauty."
Abbott said that India batted exceptionally well today. "It was a hard one. Even though we had them four down, they had a lead of about 260 at that stage. So I think if we had rattled one or two more in the morning, we threw everything at them today morning and with all due respect, they batted incredibly well.
"Maybe at a stage, 350 was on our mind, that we were possibly looking at. But then it just seemed to get a bit slower and it was definitely not reversing as much as it was yesterday," he said.
Asked why South Africa could take only four wickets in the day, Abbott said: "I think there are a few factors. The pitch has got a bit slower. On the first morning there was a bit of bounce and carry from both ends. I would not say it has totally gone.
"I think there was a bit of fatigue setting in. We were on the field for quite a long time. So naturally you do fatigue a bit. Maybe we have not been as tight and I suppose it does play a factor over a long period of time."
On a personal note, Abbott said that he did take a lot of confidence from the series.
"Going forward, I would take a lot of confidence out of this, especially from getting a five-for on this sort of deck. There might have been a few questions that I could only bowl in South Africa, where there is a bit of nip but certainly shown that if the ball is reversing I've the ability to take wickets. I'm certainly going to take that on board and use that as motivation," said Abbott.