South Africa put in a dominant performance as they defeated Virat Kohli-led India by 72 runs in the opening Test at Cape Town on Monday. Vernon Philander starred for the hosts as the Indian batsmen failed to negotiate the extra seam and swing of the Proteas pacer. India's all-star batting line-up was blown away by the South African pacer battery, despite Dale Steyn not bowling in the second innings. In a post-match conference, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis hailed his team for the brilliant performance despite being on the backfoot early on in their first innings. He further said that it was important to put the opposition under pressure.
South Africa were reduced to 12 for three on Day One before Du Plessis and his predecessor AB de Villiers steered the team out of harm's way with a 114-run fourth wicket stand.
"It's really important in a three-match series to put the opposition under pressure. 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," du Plessis said.
"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," he further added.
"Even in the second innings, from 90/7, AB played a great knock, he took some risks. The plan was to get 200 runs, to get a lead of 350 and to have a crack at them tonight," he remarked.
South Africa could add only 65 runs to their second innings total before being bundled out for 130 on a fourth-day pitch, which the skipper felt behaved more like an opening day's track.
The entire third day's play was washed out on Sunday without a ball being bowled.
"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," du Plessis said.
Talking about Dale Steyn's injury, du Plessis said, "If we had four seamers here today, Dale (Steyn) would have been a handful. Thoughts with him. Feel sorry for the guy. He's trained so hard and he's injured again."
South Africa lead the three-match Test series 1-0. The second Test will be played at Centurion, starting from January 13.
(With IANS inputs)