India's coach Gary Kirsten said the wicket of Jacques Kallis just before play was stopped for bad light on the fourth day at the Eden Gardens was vital.
“It was handy getting Kallis out before the bad light,” said Kirsten. “Amit (Mishra) bowled really well today (Wednesday) so did Harbhajan (Singh). With the two of them bowling really well, and with Ishant (Sharma) and Zaheer (Khan) chipping in as well, we are in a good position. It obviously depends on how many overs are available to us tomorrow (Thursday).”
Kallis said the timing of his dismissal — four balls before the stoppage — was frustrating, but didn't blame it on the light. “It was frustrating but that's how it goes in cricket,” he said.
“The light probably didn't have anything to do with my dismissal. It's just a good ball that I nicked. It would have been nice if we could have gone off the park earlier.”
With the weather having such a significant influence on the fourth day, both Kirsten and Kallis were questioned in detail about its possible impact on day five.
Can't fight weather
“We can't fight the weather,” said Kirsten. “It would have been handy to have had 50 overs today. I think we would have been happy with five wickets in the day. We just have to get on with it and use the time available to us.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the facilities at the Eden Garden — a wet outfield delayed the start by over an hour and a half after overnight rain — Kirsten said, “That's not really for me to comment. It was disappointing not to have had more time this morning. We were off the field for an hour-and-a-half this morning. But that's not for me to take up.”
How many overs does India want on Thursday? “As many as we can get,” said Kirsten. “Hopefully we will need only forty or fifty but it's very difficult as you know with the weather.
“We've had a very good Test match. We've played very good cricket right through. We've done what we felt we needed to do. We are in a good position and we'd like to close it out, and we'll give it our best shot in the amount of time we have.”
Kallis spoke of the importance of not getting lulled into complacency because of the weather. “We are thankful for it (weather) but we were prepared to bat out two days,” he said. “We aren't expecting rain tomorrow and will prepare to have a full day's play.”
The pitch, Kallis said, was still good for batting; it wasn't turning as much as one would expect, he added, of an Indian track on the fourth day.
For India, there was a moment of anxiety when Zaheer left the field with what seemed like a niggle. The left-armer did return later. Asked about the injury, Kirsten said, “He's got a bit of tightness in his quadricep. He came off the field just to get some ice on it. But it's just precautionary at the moment. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.”