Serenity is Hashim Amla’s second skin. Stepping into Thursday’s press conference after South Africa trailed India by 67 runs, the South African batsman said: “We are not out of the woods yet though we have made some sort of recovery.”

Asked about 11 wickets falling in a single day, Amla quipped: “The pitch was sporting.” But when countered about whether the surface influenced all the dismissals, he sheepishly grinned and said: “Well, not really. I could have used my bat (against Ishant Sharma).

“I mean there is the ‘good leave’ and the ‘bad leave’ and mine was an example of the ‘bad leave.’ It was an error in judgement and I don’t know what else to say.

“Of-course there are more worse ways to get out. Next time I hope to play it better. Ishant bowled well, the pitch too was a bit up and down but he bowled in the right areas.”

Amla praised the contributions of Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis. “We were in trouble at 146 for six but Faf and Vern played well. It is good to have batting ability in the lower order and I hope we rectify our mistakes in the second innings,” Amla said and added that the pitch’s cracks could play a role in the rest of the game.

Meanwhile Ajinkya Rahane said that his extensive first-class stint helped him cope with the challenges posted by Dale Steyn and others.

“I have played 65 first class games before this and I have also toured South Africa with the ‘A’ team and all that experience helped. I tried my best to stay there but these things happen in cricket.

“They bowled well in the morning and I feel that 275 would be a challenging target to chase in the fourth innings (for South Africa). We are still ahead by 67 runs and the key is to get those remaining four wickets early in the morning,” Rahane said.

India grassed two catches with R. Ashwin and Rohit Sharma dropping Graeme Smith and Faf du Plessis respectively but Rahane peddled the ‘part-and-parcel-of-the-game’ line.

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