Kolkata, Feb 14(ANI): Indian cricket coach Gary Kirsten on Sunday praised his bowlers for restricting the visiting South African team to 266 for nine wickets on the first day of the Kolkata Test despite centuries by Hashim Amla and debutant Alviro Petersen.
Kirsten said that fast bowler Zaheer Khan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh were intheir absolute best after the tea session, where the team made a strong comeback after Amla and Petersen took advantage of good batting conditions to have a 209-run partnership for the second wicket.
"When you looked at it at tea, we were in trouble. Let's be honest about that. All credit to the bowlers for turning it around. They showed tremendous resilience. They have bowled pretty well this series without the rewards," Kirsten said.
He also highlighted the crucial role played by Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, and said that though the two went wicketless, they were successful in keeping pressure on from the opposite end.
"When you're picking four bowlers every Test, it's an enormous workload on them. We've got to give them credit for the way they run in Test after Test. This is our fourth on the trot," he added.
Kirsten further said that Harbhajan's spell after tea was incredible where he claimed the wickets of South African middle-order batsman Jacques Kallis (12), Ashwell Prince (one), Jean-Paul Duminy (0) cheaply.
"I thought Harbhajan bowled really well in the last game, and I thought the South Africans played him very well. Even though he was in good rhythm, he needed to come up with ways to get wickets," Kirsten said.
"I've been very confident that his rhythm has got better and better as the series has gone along. When the confidence is going and the rhythm's good, he's going to get wickets," he added. (ANI)