We have to score 400 plus in first innings: Kirsten

Durban: India coach Gary Kirsten expects his batsmen to back themselves after the first Test disappointment and score 400 in the first innings if they want to beat South Africa in the second match starting here on Sunday.

“We know that if one of our top six is getting a decent score, a big hundred, we are going to get a score in excess of 400. We probably let ourselves down a bit in the first Test,” Kirsten said.

“We have got to assess the situation and get the best we can get out of the surface as a batting unit. I felt we were 100 runs short in the last Test, and we have got to apply ourselves,” he added.

The former South African opening batsman said that his bowlers are capable of picking up 20 wickets and the return of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan will boost the Indian attack.

“Bottom line is, we need to get 20 Test wickets. I think we have shown in the last three years that we have the ability to get 20 Test wickets in any conditions. It’s up to us to prove to every one that we can do that here,” said Kirsten.

“Obviously nice to have Zaheer back. We look forward to whatever conditions are given to us, and we have the quality in our bowling line-up as well,” he said.

Asked about the Kingsmead pitch, Kirsten said, “Looks a similar colour to the outfield. Let’s see what comes up in two days’ time.”

On the morale of the players after the first Test thrashing, Kirsten said, “Preparation has been good and the players are working as hard as they have ever worked. At the end of the day they have to get on the field and play.”

“The players are determined, they are really motivated to do well. They are going to give it their best shot, that’s what we can ask of the players,” he said.