RSA 286, 130
IND 209, 135-all out (42.4 Ovs)
South Africa won by 72 runs
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Faf du Plessis, winning captain: Every single time when we needed to stand up through tough periods, we responded beautifully. Didn’t plan to be 12/3, but we responded. Even today, after India got off to a decent start, we stuck to our plans and put great pressure on their batters. The first morning, we expected it to move around for the first hour. That total we felt was just around par. We felt 270 was going to be par. Even in the second innings, from 90/7, AB played a great knock, he took some risks. Plan was to get 200 runs, to get a lead of 350 and to have a crack at them tonight. But we were surprised how much it was doing this morning. When we came in today, the pitch was green again, almost like the day 1 pitch. It was tough, they bowled really well. I think it was a fantastic cricket wicket. There was a good challenge between bat and ball. Really important in a three-match series to put the opposition under pressure. If we had four seamers here today, Dale would have been a handful. Thoughts with him. Feel sorry for the guy. He’s trained so hard and he’s injured again. Thanks to the crowd, been a great crowd.
Philander: It’s generally slow. It caught us off-guard on the first morning. To get 286 was a wonderful effort with the bat. What better setting can you ask for. One of the better grounds to play cricket at. Every time you have one bowler get the praise. Coming back after the break, I felt a bit stiff. Just hope Dale gets back as quickly as possible. To see him go down is quite heartbreaking for the squad.
Philander is MoM
Kohli, losing captain: If we had taken our chances in the first innings, even after them counter-attacking, we could have kept them to 220. We’re not a team which thinks of what-ifs though. We were thinking 250, 275 if they play well. It was a great effort by the bowlers. We needed someone to get a 75-80. Credit to them, they were a bowler short and still bowled their heart out. We need to rectify our mistakes also. Mini collapses in both innings is something we have to think about. This game is all about stringing in partnerships. They did that better than us. Bowlers learned pretty quickly. We kept pulling things back against a side which is very strong at home. The mindset matters when you’re traveling away from home. You need to grab scoring opportunities. He’s (Hardik Pandya) a strong character. He’s performing for us now, even away from home. That knock was brilliant.
South Africa (Playing XI): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel
India (Playing XI): Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah
VK: Looking at the amount of the grass on the wicket and the surface being not that hard, looking at our bowlers’ strength, I think we would have bowled first giving ourselves a good crack with the new ball which is because they are playing one batter less. So, we wanted to exploit their batting order, unsettle them in the first 15-20 overs with the new ball. We will have three quicks and Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder. Ashwin is the lone spinner. Jasprit Bumrah is making his Test debut. He has come a long way and he has done really well in limited overs cricket. He is bowling a really heavy ball and he has been the most impressive seamer here in our preparations. We are very excited to have him start his Test career today and wish him all the best. Our last big tour outside India was Australia and we won a series in Sri Lanka as well. It really was something that set the things up for us. The mindset we had there really mattered. We bring the same mindset here as well. We want to play positive cricket, enjoy these conditions, enjoy the culture. It is a beautiful place to play cricket as well and we can’t wait to get started.
Faf: We will have a bat. Tricky one to call to be honest. The wicket is a lot slower on day one, it does move around a little bit, but it is definitely slower and then it quickens up and obviously a nice seam attack likes a bit of extra pace. It will get better to bat on as the day wears on. I don’t look too much into stats. The conditions have changed over the last two years. Obviously there’s a little more grass. They prepared it a little more softer to keep the moisture. But always, with the coin toss you are not always hundred percent sure and you take a punt on something and hope it works. When we played Sri Lanka last here the first innings was slow and then it quickened up nicely. It was incredibly tough selection. We got everyone fit for the first time in a really long time. We went for the positive approach of playing four seamers and a spinner which means one less batter. Unfortunate for Temba Bavuma, he has been doing really well for the Test team and we feel on these conditions this is our strongest eleven and it might change when we go to the next Test.
India (From): Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Parthiv Patel, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul
South Africa (From): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Chris Morris, Vernon Philander, Theunis de Bruyn