Durban: Indian bowlers might have drawn flak after failing to win the first Test on a responsive wicket at Johannesburg, but bowling coach Joe Dawes backed his wards, saying "sometimes they get unwarranted criticism".
In the drawn first Test at Johannesburg, Indian bowlers couldn't bowl out the hosts on a wicket that aided them, despite defending a mammoth 458-run target.
And it remains to be seen how many runs Mahendra Singh Dhoni will think are enough on what is the flattest Kingsmead pitch here seen in recent years.
"Yes, it was a disappointing that we couldn't bowl them out on a pitch that was doing something. However, it was a matter of just one partnership that saved the match for them. It happens, that's cricket for you," Dawes said after the opening day's play of the second Test on Thursday. (Day 1 Report)
"But sometimes the Indian bowlers get unwarranted criticism. So far we are yet to lose a Test this year, and we have won every ODI series except the one here in South Africa. They bowled well in the Champions Trophy and sometimes not so well in the sub-continent. At such times, criticism is merited. However, it gets over the top at most times," he added, defending his players.
India were in total control of the series-deciding second cricket Test against South Africa before bad light brought a premature end to the opening day's play and Dawes expectedly couldn't hide his disappointment.
The umpires took the two batsmen, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, along with the Proteas off, almost 90 minutes before the scheduled close of play. India were comfortably placed at 181 for one with Vijay batting on 91 and Pujara on 58.
"We were in a very good position. Our batsmen were doing pretty well," said the Indian team's bowling coach.
"It is a disappointment really that we had to come off.
"South Africa were trying everything, trying hard to come at our batsmen. They tried attacking with the short ball and coming round the wicket. It didn't work. We would have liked to keep them in the field for six hours, but we can't control the weather conditions," Dawes added.
The second day's play will start thirty minutes early on Friday and India will be looking to press on.
"Tomorrow we have to come back and press our advantage, try and get a high total. Then afterwards we have to bowl well. The pitch should take some turn later on and reverse swing will also come in to play. We will do our best to take 20 wickets later in the game," said Dawes.
India made an interesting change in their playing eleven for this particular Test match, bringing in Ravindra Jadeja for off-spinner R Aswhin after the latter went wicket-less in two innings at the Wanderers.
"There is nothing wrong with Ashwin," Dawes answered when asked pertinently about the reason behind the change.
"He has played almost every single Test for us this year. But look at Jadeja as well, he has done really well since playing that Test series versus Australia. We felt that maybe Jadeja fits better in the scheme of things for this Test match. In terms of what we are trying to achieve as a bowling unit, in these conditions, Jadeja seemed a better choice."