Virat Kohli has scored his 16th half-century    AFP
Virat Kohli has scored his 16th half-century AFP

Experienced batsman Wasim Jaffer feels India can level the three-match series if they manage to post 500-plus score in the first innings of the ongoing second Test against South Africa at Centurion.

“We have bowled them out, now we need to bat really well. If we get 500 plus in this (first) innings, I see India levelling the series,” said Jaffer, who guided Vidarbha to their maiden Ranji Trophy title.

“Most of them have played in South Africa, they have been there and other countries like Australia, England and New Zealand, they know what to do, they just need time in the middle and once they get going, this wicket will suit Indian batsman. “We are in a very strong position. We made a very good comeback on the first day evening when (Hashim) Amla got run out and we got six wickets (in the day),” Jaffer told reporters here on sidelines of an event here.

He was speaking after jerseys of teams of the SAI-Mumbai Masters T20 League were launched.

India lost the first Test match at Cape Town by 72-runs after the batsman faltered in the second innings and Jaffer said the visitors lacked one good knock.

“We were a little unfortunate (with) the kind of wicket we got (in the first Test at Cape Town). I don’t think we were outplayed, its just that probably one good innings, would have made us go top in the series,” he said.

“But you have to give it to the South African bowlers as well, it was a very testing wicket, even their batsman failed. They play on these kind of wickets all the time, they failed as well.

“It is not that we have lost very handsomely, we came very close, we were in the game all the while. It is just that probably one big knock or one big partnership is what we missed,” explained Jaffer, who has played 31 Tests for India.

India made three changes in the team for the second Test, bringing in Ishant Sharma for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had picked six wickets in the opening Test at Cape Town, and replacing Shikhar Dhawan with KL Rahul. Wriddhiman Saha, who is down with an injury, was also replaced with Parthiv Patel.

Asked about the changes, Jaffer said, “You got to leave those decisions to the captain and the coaches, they are very experienced players and they won’t do any selection to harm the side.

“They know what they are doing, you got to respect them (as) they are answerable to the team as well as the whole nation. You got to leave it till the end of the series to ask questions; they are the once who make the decisions and you got to respect them,” he explained.

Jaffer was instrumental in Vidarbha’s maiden Ranji Trophy win last season. Asked about his future, Jaffer said, “I got to take season by season. But this (season) gave me a lot of happiness, the way we (Vidarbha) played, I could have got a lot more runs, but I would take the Ranji Trophy (win) in place of that.

“For me the biggest challenge will be to stay fit for the next 3-4-5 months… to keep myself in good shape and if my fitness is there, there is no reason why I can’t play. These days wont come back and I have to make most of it,” he added.