Sydney: With India heading towards their sixth consecutive overseas Test defeat, veteran batsman Rahul Dravid said his team has quality batsmen but they need some inspiration to fightback and save the second Test.
"The key for us is to keep them on the field for a long period of time. If we can keep their bowlers and fielders on the field for more than 100 overs. Then we can put them under pressure and some of their bowlers wilt", said Dravid after the third day`s play during which Australia declared for 659 for 4 in the first innings before reducing India to 114 for two in their second essay.
"Sadly in the three innings we have played so far, we haven`t been able to do that. They kept up on the field for a long time today. We need to try and do that.”
"We have probably been in the field much longer. They put us under the pump. The real key for us is to keep them in the field for that long. They are coming in hard, running in hard. The last spell they bowled really well. After drinks the last 15 overs they came in really hard. That`s one of the challenges," he added.
Hoping that India would be able to bat after tea tomorrow, Dravid said, "That`s where the real challenge is. If we can hang in there, play out time, and have them on the field for a long time."
Dravid refused to predict whether India would save the Test by batting out the next two days.
"I don`t know we can think about saving the game right now. We need to go out there and show some fight. And bat as long as we can. Who knows what can happen? We have got quality batsmen who can bat long periods. I am sure the guys will go out and fight and do the best they can," he insisted.
India were revived in 2001 home series when Dravid and VVS Laxman batted the length of a full day`s play at Eden Gardens and turned the series around and Dravid hoped for a similar inspiration for his team.
"I would hope so. We need a lift. We need to perform better than we have. We have not played well in the last three days. We need some inspiration," he said.
Dravid believed the challenge for his side`s batsmen is both mental and physical.
"Part of the challenge is mental. Part of it is physical and technical. Physically you have to bat for long period of times. Technically, they have a good attack that is bowling well. So you have to counter them technically as well. It`s a combination of effort. If we are going to save the game, we need everything to work for us."
The former skipper said he expects to turn his own fortune around in the present series in which he has been consistently getting out bowled to Australian bowlers.
"I feel I have been batting well. Hopefully, in the next couple of Tests, I will be able to convert one of these starts. Sometimes you can`t read too much into things," said Dravid.
Dravid was out bowled in both innings of the first Test and had a reprieve too when Peter Siddle had bowled him off a no-ball. He again has been found out leaving a gap between his bat and pad in the second innings in the SCG Test here.
"To be fair, there have been couple of pretty good balls. It`s not like I have got out, you know, inner-edging. A couple of good balls, a couple of things, I could have done differently," Dravid insisted.
Stating that he was disappointed with his side`s effort in the series so far, the veteran batsman said, "I`m a little bit disappointed here in the sense. Okay in the England, we were not always with our best attack. Due to injuries and various other reasons, our bowling attack in England wasn`t the best possible attack.”
"Here we had the best bowling attack we can possibly hope for. So it is obviously disappointing." Dravid said.
Dravid lamented that bowlers were not only failing to get wickets but were also not able to stop the flow of runs.
"We are obviously disappointed. Once partnership develop, and runs go, we need to pull it back and try to control the runs. Having said that, it`s not easy. It`s something we need to consider. We can`t afford to give a lot of runs. Even if we don`t take wickets, we have to stop the run flow," he said.
Indian field placement were also "defensive" and came in for criticism from experts but Dravid felt that with just 191 runs in the first innings, it was difficult to do anything.
"It`s hard when you are under the pump, you have 190 runs to play with, and the game is running away from you. The wicket was pretty flat. You try and bring the field up and they were stepping out and hitting it over the top, or piercing the field. You try to push the field back to control the runs for a bit and may be get a wicket and bring it back in. We didn`t get a wicket all day. Sometimes it happens.”
"After Ponting got out, we brought the field up, but (Mike) Hussey came out and played a few really good shots. Again you are forced to push the field back because the game is running away from you very quickly."
Dravid also did not find anything wrong with his team`s decision to bat first on winning the toss.
"I don`t think it was a wrong decision to bat first. We didn`t bat well, that`s why we find ourselves in this situation. I think we knew it was going to be challenging. The first 35-40 overs on the first morning were always going to be a challenge. We didn`t bat particularly well. 190 in not good enough on that wicket", he said.
"The wicket hasn`t changed too much. If anything it is a bit slower. There wasn`t much turn for Ashwin, not for Nathan Lyon in the couple of overs he bowled. Shot-making might be a little bit more difficult because of the slowness," Dravid explained.
Applauding the Australian bowlers for their efforts, Dravid said, "Obviously they are pitching it up. The ball started to reverse a little bit. When you are pitching it up, and it is reversing, obviously they are looking to bowl...it`s pretty obvious. The ball is hard and swinging normally, you look to bring the slips into play.”
"Once the ball becomes old, obviously they are looking to attack the stumps. I can understand that`s what they are trying to do. They have bowled pretty good balls."
Dravid expressed happiness that opener Gautam Gambhir (68 not out) could manage to score some runs.
"I`m happy for him. He has worked very hard. Been under a lot of pressure obviously. He wants to score runs, keen to do well. He played positively. Later towards the end of the day, when things were tough, he gritted it out and hung in there. Hopefully, he can convert into a big one. We know he likes batting for long hours," he said.