Bowling coach Bharat Arun attributed Indian pacers’ ability to reverse swing as the reason to the bowling department’s ascent in Test cricket. The Virat Kohli-led side registered a convincing 203-run victory in the first Test against South Africa to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Both sides next play the second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune.

India rode on Mohammed Shami’s brilliant spell on the fifth and final day at Vizag. The Bengal pacer picked up a five-wicket haul as the hosts dismissed South Africa for 191.

“South Africa batted exceptionally well in the first innings. In the second innings, there was assistance to Shami’s kind of bowling. And then he came up with a magnificent spell,” Arun said in Pune on Tuesday.

Chasing a 395-run target, the Proteas lost early wickets and could have lost by a margin of over 250 runs. However, Dane Piedt (56) and debutant Senuran Muthusamy (49 not out) forged 91 runs for the ninth wicket and extended India’s stay on the field.

Muthusamy then found support from Kagiso Rabada as the duo added another 30 runs for the last wicket, but their effort was not enough to force a draw.

“Also if you look at how Dane Piedt kept ninth wicket stand and last wicket too… it shows their resistance. It was a magnificent spell by Shami that put us back in the game. Otherwise given the conditions, it would have been very difficult. We were aware we needed to work really hard to get the result. On that wicket it needs lot of patience,” Arun said.

Arun heaped praise on his bowlers and domestic cricket for allowing them to learn the art to take wickets even on turning wickets.

“Our bowlers are skillful at reverse swing as when they play domestic cricket, wickets generally are flat. The outfield is also not at times great. For a bowler to be successful, he needs to learn how to reverse the ball and that’s where our domestic cricket contributes a lot,” he said.

Elaborating on why India’s bowling battery is so successful, Arun said: “There is definitely a chance for the pacers on any track provided they have the necessary skills, and our fast bowlers have done extremely well over the last couple of years, abroad and at home.

“Indian wickets most of the times assist spin and that’s when they become more conducive for reverse swing. All our bowlers are pretty good at reverse swing and that’s why we are so successful.”

He also said that the team management never dictates the kind of wickets to be prepared as their aim is to be successful on any given track.

“We don’t ask for the kind of wickets we get. For us to be a number one team in the world, we’ve got to accept and play on any wicket that’s on offer. Even when we go abroad, we hardly look at the wicket.”