Cape Town: Riding on a superb knock from Keegan Petersen, who was adjudged the Player of the Match and the series, South Africa beat India by seven wickets to win the match and the series 2-1, here on Friday.
Terming it to be a hard-fought series, India skipper Virat Kohli said that it was a great spectacle of Tests for everyone to watch. “Great first game but South Africa did amazingly well. In both the Tests that they won, they were clinical with the ball in crunch moments. Lapse of concentration cost us key moments and they seized those moments. Absolutely deserving winners in the end,” said Kohli, adding that one of the challenges they have faced touring abroad was to make sure capitalising on the momentum.
“When we’ve done that we’ve won Tests away from home. When we haven’t, they’ve cost us quite bad. Have had a few collapses that have cost us important moments and Test matches. It’s batting; can’t pin-point any other aspect. People talk about pace and bounce, considering their heights, they were able to get much more off the wickets in all three Tests. They applied pressure long enough for us to make mistakes. It’s the understanding of conditions for them which they know very well. The batting has to be looked into, no running away from that. Having collapses every now and then not a good thing,” said a disappointed Kohli
“We know how far we’ve come as a team. That people expect us to beat South Africa in South Africa is testimony to how far we’ve come. We haven’t done it, that’s the reality, accept it and come back as better cricketers. Got to credit the opposition where due,” added Kohli.
“I think the way KL batted as an opener was heartening, Mayank got stuck in on a couple of occasions, bowling was outstanding, few crucial knocks from the guys in the middle period, Rishabh’s knock in this Test was special, Centurion win was special too. Take the positives and move ahead, come back as better cricketers,” said the India captain.
Meanwhile, South Africa captain Dean Elgar said that he was pretty elated with the victory. “I think it will sink in a day or two, maybe this evening. Couldn’t be prouder of the group. The guys responded brilliantly. After the first loss, had a lot of hope knowing we can still win this. Asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly. Extremely happy. Challenging your players within the group, need character to stand up. The way our bowling unit delivered throughout the series is brilliant. I threw down the challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly.”
“Got a young, talented group. Every day in this environment, we’re gaining this experience. Unreal to see how a group that doesn’t have the repertoire or names can gel together as one. Extremely proud of this group. If you want to operate at a high performance level, have to have tough chats. If guys don’t like it, it’s up to them to deal with. I’ve got old-school mentality with new-school twist. Laid down challenges to senior players as well, great to see them take it on board and deliver.”