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Kohli rejects criticism of pitch for first Test

India skipper Virat Kohli today rejected criticism of the pitch for the first cricket Test here and said it was “errors in shot selection” that led to the batsmen’s dismissals, a view his rival captain Hashim Amla also shared.

“I don’t think there were any demons in the wicket, the ball did not turn square at any stage, batsmen had to apply themselves but it was a bowlers’ game. We thought if we are finding it difficult on this wicket, it is going to be difficult for them (South Africa) as well,” said Kohli.

Amla pointed out that errors in decision making cost them the game.

“The chat that we had in our meetings was that the ball wasn’t turning that much actually. And I think a lot of dismissals actually in both teams, there were quite a few dismissals due to lack of turn more than due to excess of turn,” Amla told reporters after conceding a 0-1 lead in the four match series.

“Sometimes those are the more difficult pitches to play on. In saying that, the chat was that the ball wasn’t turning as much but there were a few errors in decision-making that kind of cost us a bit. We actually kept it as simple as possible, that it is not turning as much. If you get a good ball that turns, so be it.

If Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja turned on the heat against the formidable South African batting, then visiting spinners Imran Tahir, Simon Harmer and Dean Elgar also proved effective on the I S Bindra wicket.

“Yes. I think that was the case. I can comment on our batting. We made errors rather than fear of spin. We made shot judgement errors. We know that it has been committed, it will be reflected upon and corrected, next time we come out to play,” Kohli, who won his first home game as captain, said.

Kohli also agreed that lack of domestic cricket could have led the players to lose touch with spin bowling.

“Could be. We have played a lot of cricket away from home and we have not played a lot of cricket on turning wickets. And as you rightly said, we haven’t played a lot of domestic cricket. That could be the case,” he said when asked about the players’ lack of ability to tackle spin.

“Obviously there could be a reason that, it is always said that Indians are very good players of spin, Asians are very good players of spin. That might pressurise a few guys saying that we have to play spin well. And if that doesn’t happen once or twice, it starts building up. It could be anything. The individuals need to be spoken to individually.