Having lost the three-match Test series against India with a game to spare, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis admitted that his batsmen were weak having been in the field almost for two days.
India, after electing to bat, put up 601 runs on the board on the back of Virat Kohli’s record ninth Test double ton. The Indian skipper scored an unbeaten 254 while Mayank Agarwal (108) scored his second international hundred with Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara chipped in with fifties.
du Plessis said that the first innings is really important while playing in the sub-continent.
“We know in the sub-continent, first innings is really important. The runs that you put on the board, gives yourself a chance. But the way India batted and especially Virat getting 250 (254) takes a lot of mental toughness. To put a score like that in the first innings and two days on the field got us down,” said du Plessis.
“The batsmen were weak on mindset for fielding for so long. You have to be on top of your best game, if you aren’t then you are found wanting. We saw in the first Test as well, as a captain you try and think of ways about the field placements,” added du Plessis.
The South African skipper also lauded his Indian counterpart for his fine knock of 254 which set up India’s series-clinching win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
“All the questions and stuff we threw at him (Kohli), he had the answers. Just relentless and sticking to his game. For me what really stuck out was the hunger for runs,” said du Plessis.
du Plessis also justified the team selection which saw South Africa field an extra pacer – Anrich Nortje – to partner Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.
“I feel it was the right selection for this pitch; I thought it was the right-decision picking an extra seamer. KG managed to build some pressure but we needed another bowler to compete, who could do that job. When you look at the Indian attack, they bowl well in pairs. It was a young fast bowler making his (about Nortje) debut, it’s about learning and improving,” said du Plessis.
“Ngidi is fine and is working hard on his fitness. It’s about getting his tank up and hopefully, we’ll see if he plays the next Test. All in all, India deservedly are the Test series winners and their record speaks for itself. We will try to improve in the next Test,” concluded du Plessis.