South Africa's limited-overs skipper AB de Villiers said that Dale Steyn was highly disturbed and upset by the criticism coming in from the home fans during the final day of the first Test against India at Johannesburg that ended in an exciting draw.
"Dale was really upset, he struggled to handle it," AB de Villiers told while addressing the media. (Shocking they didn't go for a win, says Virat Kohli)
With 16 runs to get from three overs and just three wickets in hand, the two batsmen at the crease -- Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander -- shut shop to settle for a draw.
De Villiers went on to say that skipper Graeme Smith and a few others had to motivate them after they were booed off the pitch from their own fans. (Dale Steyn's worst bowling figures in Tests)
"It really took Graeme (Smith) and a few guys to help him handle it immediately, because of the crowds, the booing and everyone criticising him and Vernon (Philander)," De Villiers was quoted saying by ESPNcricinfo. (Graeme Smith defends South Africa's tactics)
Steyn had a pensive look on his face throughout his short stay at the wicket and much to the crowd's amazement, he did not attempt to win the game. Their cautious approach was due to the fact that Morne Morkel was injured and would have given India a chance to steal a win if their aggression had resulted in a wicket. (Sunil Gavaskar baffled by South Africa's approach)
"They took a lot of strain and it was up to the team to pull through that but it was really tough," he added. (Happy with a draw, says Faf du Plessis)
De Villers, who was one of the two chief architects of South Africa's second innings effort, defended the last two men at the crease by saying that the onus of scoring the runs should never be on batsmen coming in down the order and went on to take the blame on himself and a few other top-order batsmen.
"A lot of people are blaming Dale and Vernon but I honestly believe that the numbers nine, 10, 11 should never be going for the runs. It's up to the top six to score the runs," he said.
"If responsibility is going to be thrown around, it's on me, Faf (du Plessis) and JP (Duminy) and maybe a little bit on Vern at the end there," he added. (Top-5 moments of Johannesburg Test)
De Villiers also said that the decision to play for a draw was the best one in those circumstances and praised the duo for holding their nerves till the end.
"The minute Dale walked to the crease, the right thing to do was to save the test match and I thought they did that brilliantly well."
Following the drawn game, South Africa also had a team talk, with captain Smith and coach Russell Dominigo sharing a few words of wisdom with the team.
"At the end, we had a really good team chat, where Russell and Graeme spoke really wise words and I think the whole team is in a good space after that," De Villiers said.
"We pulled up an amazing draw and those were Graeme's words. It was about just how amazing a team we are and what we've achieved over the last while," he added.
De Villiers' also took pride in the fact that the current unit was a team of character and that they had utmost belief in each other.
"That we should not go down with the criticism we will get, but to remember that we are a team of character and to keep believing in ourselves and our teammates. That's why we play the game - for each other. So we look each other in the eye and we are really chuffed with a great draw," De Villiers said.
The action now shifts to Durban for the boxing day Test that will also bring this series to a close.