Virat Kohli lauds SA’s bowling attack

Cape Town: Skipper Virat Kohli has lauded the South African bowling attack that created a pressure on the Indian batsmen.

Earlier, South Africa defeated India by 72 runs, after the hosts had set a target of 208 runs to win.

At a press conference, Kohli said: “The kind of bowling attack they have especially on these pitches, they get extra bounce. You can’t be casual, you can’t play loose shots. Credit goes to their bowling attack. They force you to play good cricket in all overs”.

“We let ourselves down with the bat. We lost wickets in bunches. Losing four wickets in four overs is not at all good. 208 was chasable. We needed to be realistic. We wanted someone to score those 75-80 odd runs to bring us back into the game. Also, we wanted a huge partnership, but unfortunately, we failed”, added Virat.

On being asked about the batsmen playing on a bouncy track, Virat said: “We were prepared. There was no lack of preparations for us.

It was a good track, a bouncy track. The batsmen were tested on this pitch by the South African bowlers. They were bowling well and pitched at the right areas and that created the pressure for us”.

The Indian skipper also praised the pitch and had said that both sides had chances to win the Test match. He even praised all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s counterattacking innings that had allowed India to get back into the game.

“Hardik showed character. He was calm and played according to the situation. That innings of his brought us back into the game. Ashwin was also good in the second innings. But, he did not get support from others just like in the first innings, and once again we failed with the bat. Credit goes to their (South African) bowlers for this”, added Virat.

On being asked about the Indian batsmen unable to play on bouncy tracks, Virat said that the batsmen were showing a positive intent and were trying to score runs. He also mentioned that the batsmen need to apply themselves according to the situation and show more character.

“You need to play shots carefully on this pitch. You must have the patience for the bowler to make a mistake. We did not get the momentum, which we wanted. And that was the thing we lacked in this game”, he said.

The skipper was not short on praises and lauded Jasprit Bumrah, who was playing his first Test match.

“Jasprit bowled beautifully. He was playing his first game. He created pressure on the batsmen and got crucial wickets for us. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and Shami (Mohammad Shami) also bowled their hearts out. We need to work on our mistakes for the next game”, he further noted.

South African Pacer Vernon Philander’s career-best figures of 6-42 guided South Africa to a thumping 72-run victory over India with a day to spare in the opening Test of the three-match series here at Newlands on Monday.

Chasing a target of 208 runs to win, the Indian team failed to counter South Africa’s bowling attack once again and collapsed like a pack of cards. They were eventually bowled out for 135.

Ashwin’s 37-run knock off 53 balls was the highest score in India’s second innings.

For South Africa, Philander was the pick of the bowlers for his six-wicket haul, while Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada also added two wickets each to their accounts.

The match also saw wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha script history as he punched 10 catches during the Test to set India’s new record.

With the feat, Saha snapped former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s record of nine stumpings. He bagged five catches in the first innings and repeated the same in the second innings as well.

With the win, South Africa have taken a 1-0 lead in the series. The two sides will now play their second Test from January 13 at Centurion.