Kohli blames batting for debacle

Kohli blames batting for debacle

After the heart-breaking 72-run loss while chasing what seemed an achievable target of 208 on the fourth day of the first Test here, Virat Kohli squarely blamed the batting for India's debacle.

While bowlers had done exceedingly well to restrict South Africa, overnight 65/2, to 130 all out, the batsmen came up short once again to crash to 135 here on Monday. As has been the case in this match, India lost wickets in clusters and never got the required momentum.

"I think we let ourselves down with the bat, that's for sure," said the Indian skipper after the match. "Losing wickets in bunches never helps in winning Tests or consolidating your position. Also we rectified the errors (in bowling) we made in the first innings by letting them off after having them 12/3. We plugged that gap pretty nicely and 208 felt chaseable, felt very realistic but again we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80 and not 20-25 or 30 runs. We wanted one big partnership to get the job done which we failed to do and again we lost four wickets in four overs. If you do that it is very tough for you to come back and win Test matches from there," he rued.

Kohli felt the target was gettable and that it hurt them for not having got the job done. The visiting skipper, however, exuded confidence that if India come across a similar wicket they were up for the challenge.

"I think if we get a lively wicket again, we will really exploit those conditions," he emphasised, terming the pitch outstanding. "If we apply ourselves well and good enough, as I said, we will give ourselves a chance to have a crack at the result. Everyone in the change-room is really disappointed with today's effort because we were feeling really good at lunch when we restricted them to under 210 (target). Not to have got the job done, it hurts and it should hurt because that's the only way you can rectify the mistakes and come out with more motivation in the next match."

Kohli felt the batsmen let the bowlers down and said he felt for them. "We feel for them because they bowled their hearts out," he said. "A guy like Jasprit (Bumrah) bowled beautifully in his first Test match, he troubled the batsmen a lot this morning. Shami bowled his heart out, Bhuvi was good as well and not having done the job, they will also be gutted about it."

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