India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday heaped praise on his bowling department for their gritty performance in the third and the final Test match against South Africa at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. India had already conceded the three-match Test series and were playing for their pride in the final match. While the famed Indian batting line-up, barring Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli in India's second innings, failed to withstand the incredible South African pace battery, Indian pacers -- Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah -- were the highlight of the South African tour. After the Men in Blue clinched a thrilling 63-run victory in Johannesburg Test, Kohli said that the bowlers were the biggest positive.
"The bowlers was the biggest positive; we haven't done 60 wickets in the past. We want to correct certain mistakes. That lower-order showed character. This win feels great. As batsmen, if we can think about countering conditions better, we can do away from home."
Proud prouder proudest. Hats off to the whole team for showing character throughout. This day will always be special. Jai hind pic.twitter.com/z2T0er5fLd— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) January 27, 2018
"We required some character on a pitch that was very difficult but our guys showed great guts. Batting first didn't go down well with a lot of people. Hats off to the team for showing character after the series was gone," he said.
Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla scored fifties as South Africa dominated the first session on day 4 but Kohli said he was confident that it would be difficult for the hosts to come back if they start losing wickets.
"It's a funny game. You think of many ways to get batsmen out. Amla and Elgar played well. In pressure situations, when wickets go down in Test cricket, it's very difficult to come back," he said.
His South African counterpart Faf du Plessis said his team was sloppy and were completely outplayed by India in the third Test.
"I think India outplayed us in this Test. We didn't take our chances. We were just sloppy. From the bowling point of view, we weren't consistent with the previous Tests. From a fielding point of view, we were just average compared to Centurion," he said.
"India were the better team. It was a surprise how the surface played this morning. Once we got through that, Elgar and Hashim (had a) great partnership together. But the wicket tells you that the bowlers tend to do a bit more.
"We are disappointed to lose the Test. But if you had asked me 2-1 before the series, I'd have taken it hands down. India is a fantastic side. We played very good cricket throughout the series and are the deserved series winners and I am very proud of my team."
Du Plessis said the series win will them a lot of confidence going into the one-day series.
"There's a lot of limited-overs cricket against a very good Indian side and then we have the Australia series. So we take a lot of confidence from the test series win."
Pacer Vernon Philander, who was adjudged the Player of the Series, said: "Sorry we couldn't win this one, but happy with my performances. We'd have loved to pull this one off too, was my 50th Test, but India played better. I will probably take a week's break and prepare for a tough series coming up against Australia."
India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scalped four wickets and scored 30 and 33 in the two innings, was adjudged the Player of the Match.
"I'm happy with my performance. Whenever I get a chance, I try to do well. It came off at the right moment. I enjoy batting when it comes to Tests. I tried to stay for as much as possible and runs came. Amazing track to bowl on. Few awkward balls but overall it was a good wicket."
(With PTI Inputs)