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India vs South Africa: 1st Test – Who Said What

India have earned strengthened their lead at the top by 40 points in the ICC Test Championship.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Twitter)

India have thumped South Africa by 203 runs in the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Chasing 395 runs, the visitors had lost a wicket coming into the final day’s play in Visakhapatnam. They were never going to gun down the total but South Africa would’ve been confident of drawing the game after the way they batted in the first innings.

But as the play started, their batsmen fell like nine pins and the result of the match was out of the question during the first session itself. It started with Ravi Ashwin castling the overnight batsman Theunis de Bruyn in the second over of the day. However, the spoils were later shared by Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. While the former was literally unplayable at times, Shami was the surprise package of the day.

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He looked undercooked throughout the Test but delivered his best in the second innings which has become a norm now. He sent back Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock by disturbing their timber and at the other end, Jadeja scalped three wickets in an over to leave the Proteas reeling at 70/8. At that point, it seemed as if India will have register a huge win.

The pitch which seemed to have slow turn until the end of the fourth day’s play had turned treacherous suddenly with some of the deliveries staying low and turning a lot as well.

Tail frustrates India again

But Dane Piedt and the debutant Senuran Muthusamy had other ideas. They applied themselves superbly and showed the other batsmen a way to bat. The duo added 91 runs for the ninth wicket stand in around 33 overs and literally frustrated the hosts. Virat Kohli even handed over the ball to the Man of the Match Rohit Sharma with a hope that the batsmen might get complacent against him.

However, Piedt and Muthusamy didn’t fall into the trap. They kept on blunting the bowling and at one stage, India had no idea how to get them out. But Mohammed Shami came for a new spell for the first time after the lunch and struck off the first ball to send back Piedt who batted superbly for his 56. The pacer completed another five-wicket haul by scalping Kagiso Rabada soon as South Africa were bundled out for 191 runs in the second innings.

The 203-run win is a comprehensive one for India after South Africa came only 69 runs within their first innings total. But Rohit Sharma’s scintillating ton in the second innings helped the home side set a target and make the opposition bat again on the same day. South Africa showed grit and fight throughout the Test but their bowlers looked completely ineffective which proved to be their undoing eventually.

Man of the Match, Rohit Sharma said:

Just wanted to go out there and do what I do best. Great opportunity for me at the top. Thankful for the chance, considering I’ve never done that before. I’m thankful to the coach, the captain, the selectors for giving me this opportunity. It was communicated to me a long time ago that I may open the innings. Focus was on winning the Test match and I think we pretty much did everything right today.

Even in nets, I used to practice with the new ball. Wouldn’t say it was a surprise. No matter what ball you play, whether it’s red ball or white ball. At the start, you’ve got to be careful. Focus on basics – leaving ball outside off, playing close to the body.

My job here is to play in a certain manner, that’s what they expect me. And I’m going to try to do that. It’s my game to mix caution with aggression. Everything depends on the situation you’re batting in. There are lot of things in Test which I’m not aware of in terms of records. Focus was to have fun and put team in a good position.

Had to try and play some shots. May come off and may not come off. Bowlers are pretty smart these days. I back myself and I guess fortune favours the brave.

India captain, Virat Kohli said:

The wicket played really good for the first three days. We lost a session. When you put 500 on the board, you’re always ahead. Even with the fight they showed, we still had a lead. Rohit was outstanding. Mayank brilliant. It was a hard grind because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions. And the pitch slowed down too.

It’s all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn’t justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100%. That’s when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Jasprit and Umesh as well doing well. It’s all about wanting to make a play for the team even in conditions that are difficult.

Jaddu and Ash again, really good. Pitch was flat, they got a few boundaries away. Always knew it was going to be a second innings pitch. Shami has been a strike bowler in the second innings. All the guys lived up to their strengths. Batting heroes were obvious. But bowlers had it tougher in this game.

This lot of SG balls is much better than the last one. If it softens up, there’s literally nothing happening after 40-45 overs. Will still like it to be harder till about 60 overs.

South Africa captain, Faf du Plessis said:

Great start to the game with the bat. Obviously India batted well, two great knocks by Mayank and Rohit. We fought well in our first innings with the bat… To get that sort of a total in the second innings of a game in India is tough.

I thought up until this morning, we competed pretty well. If you are always through a game like that you can think of the what ifs. The seamers were mostly doing a holding job in this game. On a Day 5 pitch things happens quicker. It should be like that. We got to move on from this and get ready for the next Test.

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