South Africa captain Faf du Plessis thinks that his team’s first innings batting performance will give them the much-needed confidence before the second Test. However, India won the first test by 203 runs. India bowlers Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja left them in tatters and guiding them the win.
“Yeah, really proud of the first innings, the way we batted. A lot of new players in our squad. There was an opportunity for us to go the other way and we didn’t. We played really well, senior players put their hands up in Quinny (Quinton de Kock) and Dean (Elgar) getting fantastic hundreds and to get 400 in the sub-continent is never anything easy to do,” said Du Plessis.
Chasing a huge total of 395 in the second innings, South Africa were bowled out for 191 despite struggling at 70 for eight.
“Getting 400 in that second innings (of the match), we felt we were right in the game. We needed something brilliant in the second innings and unfortunately, it was close for us happening. There was a few half-chances that didn’t go our way and that’s sort of where the game slipped away. We tried to stay in the fight, stay in the contest,” Du Plessis said.
The Proteas captain Rohit Sharma’s century made the chase difficult for South Africa.
“But the way Rohit played, especially in that second innings, made it tough for us. To put up a score of 400 in the last innings was always going to be a little bit too much. Obviously also the nature of the day five pitch today was the first day we saw something coming really through. But I thought it was a really good pitch, really good Test cricket,” he added.
“First two days flat, three and four spin and day five it goes up and down. That’s a real good Test wicket for me,” said Du Plessis, referring to the pitch and Rohit’s stunning knocks.
While talking about the positives for South Africa, Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored centuries in the first innings besides the debutant Senuran Muthusamy who remained unbeaten on 33 and 49 in both the innings regularly.
“Look, I think we have got a lot of confidence in our dressing room and belief because of what happened in the first innings. I do think the pitches will probably take a bit more spin in the next two Test matches,” said Du Plessis.
“I think all of us as a batting unit, certainly since the last time we were here (in 2015), it was tough but we grew as a batting unit from the experiences we got from that tour. I am hoping that the lessons we learnt there will show us that we can still score runs and compete and then anything is possible,” he told.
However, it was the first time that Du Plessis captained the South African team on India.
“It’s great. It’s learning out there ball-by-ball. You just learn Indian conditions. Obviously, I have captained all around the world but it’s my first time captaining in India. You just learn every session, every hour, every time someone’s bowling,” shared the captain. “You learn about different angles of field placements, where the ball tends to travel a bit more. So for me it is just about consistently evolving and making sure that I can pick up one or two things.”
While talking about Muthusamy’s performance, he said the all-rounder gave them the option of playing an extra bowler.
“There is a case. Before this Test match, I would have probably said no to you because I haven’t seen much of his batting but the way he batted in this Test match proved to everyone, not just to myself, that he can definitely play at No. 7 in the sub-continent and if you do that, you can create one more opportunity to play someone else,” he concluded.