Indian batsmen might have dominated the opening two days of the first Test against South Africa in Vizag but the tourists didn’t bowl badly, feels Keshav Maharaj who took three wickets.
Instead, the left-arm spinner credited the pair of Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma for putting India in cruise control of the series opening Test thanks to their 317-run partnership for the first wicket.
Maharaj (3/189) shared the major bulk of bowling duties for South Africa but credited his colleagues for doing well in ‘tough conditions’. “I wouldn’t say they bowled poorly. I personally judge if someone comes down the wicket and hits you, it’s not a bad ball. If you are getting hit from the crease, if you are getting cut, then it’s a different story,” Maharaj said on Thursday after the day’s play ended.
He added, “(Dane) Piedt was unlucky. Mayank played superbly well and so did Rohit. Literally everything they wanted to do paid off, it was their day. I wouldn’t look too much if they bowled badly or anything. Sen (Muthusamy) is an allrounder, a batting all-rounder, so his contribution in his first Test went pretty well, especially in tough conditions.”
Thanks to Rohit’s 176 and a superb double-century from Mayanka Agarwal (215), India declared at 502/7 after winning the toss. They then reduced South Africa to 39/3 when the stumps were drawn.
Maharaj said winning toss has handed India the advantage as the pitch is expected to deteriorate in the coming days with the spinners coming into play. “I suppose the toss does play a part because you want the best possible conditions to bowl for the spinners but having said that, we could have been a little bit better at times when we did bowl. But I suppose the toss does play a large factor in terms of the outcome of the game. But we still have a task at hand in terms of bat as long as possible and try and come close to the target if possible,” he said.
He continued, “I also think the deterioration also plays a massive factor in terms of the pace of the ball. Obviously, with the wicket not spinning, you try to beat the batsman through the air and maybe slow it to get some assistance. May be, the odd faster ball might grip. But yeah, the deterioration of the wicket does play a pivotal factor in terms of the speeds that you do play.”