South Africa pacer Vernon Philander on Saturday admitted that the Indian batsmen batted well against his team’s spinners in the first Test of the three-match series at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
India set a 395-run target for the visitors as Rohit Sharma, playing his first Test as an opener, completed his second hundred of the match and Cheteshwar Pujara scored 81 on the fourth day of the Test.
South Africa, who had to negotiate nine overs, were 11/1 at stumps, with the first-innings centurion Dean Elgar back in the pavilion and Aiden Markram and Theunis de Bruyn batting on five each.
“I think it is about understanding your role. When we came here, both I and (Kagiso) Rabada understood that we need to keep the asking run-rate in check. Unfortunately, India played our spinners really well, our main job was to keep it quiet. I knew I had to keep it tight today, but India played our spinners really well,” Philander said.
The veteran Proteas pacer though said that the visitors will be up for a challenge as they look to chase down the target on the fifth and final day of the Test.
“You have to trust your processes. My confidence is pretty high, I am looking forward to tomorrow. We had good first innings, so guys are in good spirit and I am looking forward to tomorrow. It is going to be a challenge but we would be up for it,” said Philander.
“There is a bit of assistance for the spinners. It is a good wicket, hopefully, we can get off to a good start tomorrow and set up the game,” added Philander.
Philander also discussed how the South African side can go about their business. “I still think we are in with a shout tomorrow. We started really nicely well with the ball. They have got the runs on the board, we have to make sure to be on the top of our game tomorrow and hopefully get close,” said Philander.
“Dean played a massive knock for us in the first innings. Hopefully, someone else will step up for us in the second innings. Guys are hungry to score the runs so hopefully we will have someone who rises to the occasion,” he added.
Philander also lauded Rohit Sharma for his 127-run innings. The right-hander, who had scored his fourth Test ton in the first innings, brought up his fifth hundred in the longest format of the game.
“It is always good to dismiss batsmen in the sub-continent. Rohit played really well, he is used to these sort of conditions, he paced his innings really well. Hats off to him. I think choosing three spinners for the match was the right decision, but like I said, they played our spinners really well,” concluded the South Africa pacer.