Johannesburg: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that there was point of time on Sunday when they "could have lost the game easily" as his bowlers "attacked a bit too much". (Match Report)
"There was a point of time in this Test match when we could have lost easily. This is a big learning experience for our fast bowlers as to when and how much to attack. During the middle overs they attacked a bit too much." a relieved captain Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. (Scorecard)
However, the Indian captain said that he is happy in the manner his team fought through the five days of the match. (Highlights)
"I am very happy with the performance if consider the time we had for preparation. We only had a basic amount of knowledge of the conditions having played those ODI games.
"When we play outside India, we play with three fast bowlers and a spinner. The spinner normally doesn't have much to do in the first innings, so there is a lot of pressure on the fast bowlers. We needed big effort from the quicks and they delivered," Dhoni stated.
The skipper also had words of praise for Zaheer Khan, who made a good comeback taking five wickets in the match. (Zaheer joins 300 wicket-club)
"Zak is the leader of the attack and his experience of foreign conditions always helps. He can always teach the bowlers as to what lengths they should bowl. The most impressive thing was his fitness," Dhoni said.
The skipper said that there will be plenty to gain from the Durban Test and he would want his fast bowlers to get adequate rest as the time between the two Tests is short.
Virat Kohli, who was aadjuded 'Man of the-Match' for his 119 and 96 said that he is happy to rise up to the challenge in adverse conditions.
"It is the biggest challenge (SA tour). For me there are three tours that you look forward to. Tour of England, Australia and South Africa are the biggest test for young subcontinent side".
The talented Delhi lad said that he was really disappointed on missing out on a hundred.
"I didn't feel too good. I had been playing patiently and get to those three figures. A hundred in both innings would have been perfect, but I was happy with 96".
Asked about how he prepares for a Test match, Kohli said,"Visualising is important. We didn't get too much time to prepare. We had time to get those net sessions in as we didn't have time to do that in the one-dayers and the guys felt a lot more comfortable about the game and conditions".
Kohli was effusive in his praise for Cheteshwar Pujara who scored his first Test century outside the sub-continent.
"He's been another 'Wall' for us at No 3. It was great batting out there with him. Unfortunately, I was the culprit in his run out in the first innings and hopefully we have more such partnerships in the future".
Rival captain Graeme Smith gave a lot of credit to the visitors for putting up a spirited show during the first four days.
"Credit to India as they played extremely well in the first four days. We showed a lot of mental strength not to fade away. I thought Faf (du Plessis) and AB's (De Villiers) knocks were incredible," Smith said.
Questioned why Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander gave up on the run-chase in the end, the skipper backed his teammates.
"You gotta back the guys' decision out there. The run-out was unfortunate. The win would have been incredible, but we've still done very well to take it this far. You have to be level headed and there is always another coming up and as Test team we've done that well in the last few years and make sure we never lose the game.
"Those who've played the game would appreciate what an incredible innings that was from Faf and AB. because when wickets are lost they lose in clumps. They took it down to the last hour and it was incredible. This keeps the hopes alive of clinching a series win in Durban," skipper answered.
Smith was particularly happy for Du Plessis stating that the batsman had answered his critics who put unnecessary pressure on him.
"There was some unnecessary pressure on Faf going into the game and he's answered them all. There's good respect in the squad and to come out and bat and four and produce a performance like that was outstanding".
Smith had virtually ruled out chances of Morne Morkel playing in the next Test match.
"The physio told me that Morne has a 20 percent chance of playing the next Test match in Durban."