The South African team had a great start to the third and the final Test against India as they bundled out the visitors for a total of 187 runs on a tough wicket. Coming into the team for the final Test, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo asserted the importance of scoring runs on such track. He also mentioned that the batsmen must step-up and continue the good work.
After the stumps of Day 1, Andile said, “We did have a good day. Our efforts on the field were really good bar a few mistakes here and there. 180-odd is really good. The guys put the ball in the right areas and they were rewarded. It’s a really good wicket (to bowl on). But you’ve got to be really positive and look to score. You have got to get into good positions otherwise there is a ball that has your number on that type of wicket.”
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Though the score of 187 does not seem very big, Andile termed it decent. He said, “You have to be looking ahead of the game. Their total is a decent enough total but it’s not really par. We bowled really well. If you just hang in there and try to get bowlers into 2nd and 3rd spells, you can cash in (as batsmen).”
India’s saviors were skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who built a strong partnership and scored half-centuries as well. But perhaps that wasn’t enough. Talking about the same, Phehlukwayo said, “I looked at who was bowling at that time and Vernon (Philander) bowled eight overs for one run. As much as they were not going anyway, the bowlers did really well and maintained discipline really well. But the way Kohli and Pujara batted was really good.”
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He further added, “Kohli at the end was really positive, and Pujara was waiting for bad balls but he didn’t really get many. You’ve got to find a way to try and score on that wicket, and they weren’t going anywhere. If we had added two more wickets, we would have been really into the game.”
The all-rounder also described that the pitch was supporting the bowlers a lot and they could trouble the batsmen if they bowled the right lines. He said, “I was the fifth seamer. My job was to try and hit a length. If there’s nibble on the wicket, try and expose that. Just try to hit the top of off stump, with a few bouncers and try getting a reward from that. Days four and five will get quite difficult to bat. There are obvious cracks and one ball deviates a lot (off length). It will go up and down. Its already getting quite difficult from the length. If we post a good first innings score, I think it will be a good game.”