Indian skipper Virat Kohli lauded Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal’s batting performances but there was some special praise for the bowlers as India beat South Africa by 203 runs to win the first Test on the fifth day at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
While Mayank Agarwal, playing his first on the Indian soil, scored a maiden Test ton – a double in the first innings of the match, Rohit, who opened the innings for the first time in the longest format of the game, returned with hundreds in each innings. Even as South Africa managed to score 431, India managed to secure a first-innings lead.
“The wicket played really good for the first three days. We lost a session. When you put 500 on the board, you’re always ahead. Even with the fight they showed, we still had a lead. Rohit was outstanding. Mayank brilliant,” said Kohli.
While R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shared 14 wickets between themselves, it was Mohammed Shami‘s five-wicket haul which sealed India’s win on the final day of the Test. Kohli appreciated the show the Indian bowlers put up to help the team take 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“It was a hard grind because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions. And the pitch slowed down too. It’s all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn’t justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100%,” said Kohli.
“That’s when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Jasprit and Umesh as well doing well. It’s all about wanting to make a play for the team even in conditions that are difficult,” continued Kohli.
“Jaddu and Ash again, really good. Pitch was flat, they got a few boundaries away. Always knew it was going to be a second innings pitch. Shami has been a strike bowler in the second innings,” added Kohli.
“All the guys lived up to their strengths. Batting heroes were obvious. But bowlers had it tougher in this game. This lot of SG balls is much better than the last one. If it softens up, there’s literally nothing happening after 40-45 overs. Will still like it to be harder till about 60 overs,” concluded Kohli.