New Delhi, Dec 1: Its confidence in tatters after being entangled in a spin web on a rank turned in Jamtha, the South African team seemed a bit relieved today following a look of the Kotla strip, with assistant coach Adrian Birrell saying that it could "last more than three days".
Having already lost the four-Test series 0-2 with first and third matches getting over within three days, and second game being washed out, South Africa will play for pride here in the fourth and last Test, commencing on Thursday.
"We have had a look at the pitch. We are playing in India and we expect pitches to turn. This one looks like to go on for more than three days. We are happy with what we saw. Like every other pitch, we are happy to play on what we are provided with. But we have not played good cricket yet, so we are determined to put up a good performance," Birrell, a former chief coach of the Ireland national team, said.
Birrell was graceful to admit that they were "outplayed" by the home team. "Look it is beyond India. Quite a few Test matches are ending in three days. I mean the day-night pink ball Test (between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide) did not go full distance. There are very few draws with T20 cricket. Runs are coming a lot quicker. I won't say whether it is good or bad.
"Every nation wants to win a Test series. India have won a series and they have outplayed us. No complaints. We are looking forward to trying and outplaying them," said the former leg-spinner.
Asked what has been the difference between the two sides, Birrell said that it boiled down to India having better quality spinners as batsmen of both the teams have struggled.
"Amla is most precise preparer for a match that I have ever met. We followed his cue as to what we will face in a match. We have struggled with bat, we have had only two half-centuries. But India lost last eight batsmen for 38 runs in Nagpur. They have also struggled.
"The difference has been that they have had better spin bowlers. There hasn't been a 100 partnership. Both sides have been short of runs," he said.
The assistant coach also admitted that his batsmen have not played Ravichandran Ashwin well enough.
"He (Ashwin) has probably bowled tighter than anybody and hasn't given us any bad balls. We dished up a few easy runs for India and we had to fight when we batted, as he did not give us any easy runs. Also he is on top of his game.
"He is an outstanding bowler. He has done very well in the three Test series so far. It is a challenge to try and used to playing him. We have not done well, but we have to keep trying," said Birrell.