Right then! The first two alphabets of the English vocabulary have actually turned out to be the difference in this game. Yes, the bowlers did win the match for their side but had de Villiers not played that blinder, his skipper might not have been standing happily at the post-match presentation. India have been blown away in the first Test but the bowling has been brilliant. Maybe, mental toughness is the key, to try and convert those starts. Can India get that before the next game? Can South Africa find an effective replacement for Dale Steyn? Join us at 1000 LOCAL (0800 GMT) on Saturday, 13th January, 2018 when the second Test begins at SuperSport Park, Centurion. Adios! Take Care!
Victorious Protea captain, Faf du Plessis, eventually comes to talk now. Feels that every single time the team needed to respond in tough situations, the unit did well. First was at 12/3 on Day 1 and then today, restricting the Indians to 135. Admits that the pitch got better to bat on as the game progressed but enough damage was done in that first hour on Day 1. Still, feels it was a great effort to reach 286. Praises Pandya for playing the perfect innings on this track. Then, while batting second, the expectation was for the pitch to get better to bat on but once the covers were removed this morning, all the batsmen were surprised with the amount of movement, almost making it look like a Day 1 pitch, with the grass still around. Smiles and says that the plan was to bat till an hour post Tea and declare but then... Credits the groundsman for his work, maintaining good balance between bat and ball. Feels that this win is a good motivation for the rest of the series and further says that the team will miss Dale Steyn, wishing him a quick recovery.
Shaun Pollock is calling Faf du Plessis for a chat but VERNON PHILANDER comes forward instead to receive the Man Of The Match award. Feels that generally the Cape Town wicket has something in it and the bowlers exploited that. Credits the batters for putting on 286 in the first innings. Adds that this is one of the better grounds to be playing cricket at. Also believes that one needs to be confident in one's skill and trust in oneself. On being asked about requesting Faf for one more over (did he want his fifer?), Philander smiles and says that usually he takes around 3 overs to warm up. Hence, wanted that extra over. Adds that the team will miss Dale Steyn and wishes the speedster a quick recovery.
Indian skipper, Virat Kohli says that in hindsight, perhaps South Africa got a few runs more. He rues more over the missed chances in the first innings but does not want to think about 'ifs' and 'buts.' Wants to rectify the mistakes made but is proud of his bowling unit. Admits that the batsmen let the team down but the team was expecting a target of around 280 and to restrict them to much lesser is commendable. Adds that the team needed one person to get a fighting fifty but there were plenty of unconverted starts. Praises the Proteas for bowling well without their lead bowler and believes that losing wickets in bunches was the reason for the loss. Again, notices that the Proteas had a big first innings partnership and some decent ones towards the end but India had just one 100-run stand (It was 99 actually). On Hardik Pandya, Kohli believes that mindset matters outside home and one needs to be positive in defense. Feels that Hardik is confident and the team believes in him. Adds that he showed a lot of character.
Now, South Africa. Decimated to 12/3 in the first 30 minutes on Day 1. Then Mr. 360 degrees knocks the wind out of India's sails. And then, the bowlers do what they normally do, in spite of Dale Steyn being absent. Remember WACA, 2016? Dale Steyn limped out of the field after bowling 12.4 overs in Australia's first innings in the opening match of the series. A certain Kagiso Rabada stepped up for them. Today, it was Vernon Philander. They might well wish for one of their bowlers to get injured every match so that someone or the other keeps stepping up. Joking, of course. Time for the presentation...
As far as India's batting is concerned, they need not panic but one feels Ajinkya Rahane was missed here. He usually thrives in testing conditions and he could have made a difference in that first innings. They needed something similar to the whirlwind knock by Hardik in the first innings but it wasn't to be today.
The bowling has stood out for both teams but admiringly, more for India. They bowled collectively well as a unit and responded well this morning, dismissing the Proteas for 130. Even in the first innings, you take out AB de Villiers' counter-attack, then this game could have had a different ending. Positives in Bhuvi, Shami and Bumrah and yes, Hardik Pandya can be that fourth bowler for the Indians.
For someone who has followed Indian cricket over the years, he or she would have perhaps expected this defeat before the game began. Coming over to a new country after beating non-competitive teams back home, not choosing to play a warm-up match and so on. The mistakes committed in this game would have been committed in that match and the visitors could have been better prepared perhaps.
Poor batting? Excellent bowling? Guess the second question is right but the first may be a bit harsh. Both sides faltered on a pitch which was doing something and just three batsmen could cross the 50-mark. The bowlers were always in, except the spinners and the batsmen were tested.
The first 4-day Test of 2018. In spite of losing a whole day to rain, this game does not even go the distance on Day 4. 40 wickets have fallen in around 231 overs. Runs scored - 760. Average runs per wicket? 19. Welcome to the African safari.
Vernon Philander to Jasprit Bumrah
OUT! South Africa go 1-0 up! Philander has 6 and he has sent India reeling. Almost a similar delivery to the previous one, Bumrah too, lunges to this one and opens the face of his bat. Gets an outside edge to second slip again and Faf du Plessis takes another catch. Only this time, he has to dive forward. SOUTH AFRICA WIN BY 72 RUNS!
Jasprit Bumrah is the last man in...
Vernon Philander to Mohammed Shami
OUT! Gone next ball. Outside off, Shami comes forward and opens the face of the bat slightly, looking to push it to the off side. Ends up getting an edge and Faf du Plessis does the rest at second slip, falling over a bit to his left. South Africa a wicket away from giving us a holiday tomorrow...
FOUR! Confident shot! On middle and off, Shami comes forward and chips it over mid on and gets a boundary! Some confidence that!
Mohammed Shami is the new man in. Guess there will be some entertainment now.
Vernon Philander to Ravichandran Ashwin
OUT! That is a terrific catch and the big Vern gets the breakthrough! What a brilliant field change and it has done the trick. Quinton de Kock was asked to come up to the stumps for this ball and he obeyed his captain. Philander bowled this outside off and Ashwin looked to punch it to the off side. He got a thick outside edge and a sharp one. But Quinton de Kock took it brilliantly and straightaway threw the ball up in the air in jubilation. Philander did not even bother to appeal and the umpire was smart. Did not give it out. Ashwin was smarter. Did not walk. Then QdK appealed and up went the finger! The 49-run stand is broken.
Keshav Maharaj to Ravichandran Ashwin
Played through mid-wicket by the batsman. They pick up a single.
More runs! Ashwin is playing well here. A length ball outside off, the off spinner runs this one from the other off spinner past the first slip fielder towards third man for another couple. 78 more to win now!
Lucky! Tossed up outside off, Ashwin comes down the track and looks to drive but the ball goes off the outside edge, wide of first slip towards third man! The fielder gets to the ball near the ropes from backward point and keeps the batsmen down to two.
Keshav Maharaj to Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Pushes this towards mid on, takes Kagiso Rabada on, goes for the single, the shout is 'KG'! from the keeper, the throw comes in at the non-striker's end. But the action ends as the ball does not hit the stumps. Kumar was in anyways.