After suffering a second successive walloping, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis on Sunday blamed the huge gulf in experience between his side and India as one of the major factors.
“It’s purely a case of inexperience. In my time in Test cricket, looking at Test cricket in general, I said before this Test series, your best Test teams are the teams with the most experience. One-day cricket and T20 cricket is different, but when it comes to this Indian team, there’s a lot of experience in that dressing room, there’s a lot of Test matches behind their names,” opined Du Plessis at the post-match press conference.
“We’re at this stage where we’ve lost almost all of our experience. (Dale) Steyn, (Morne) Morkel, (Hashim) Amla, (AB) de Villiers all of them are seasoned campaigners. And now it’s a new group of guys who’ve played 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15 Test matches. That will take time. You don’t replace those guys overnight. If you take the best players out of any team, they would find the same challenges.
“For us, it is important as a senior player group make sure that we put in performances ourselves. Myself, Deano (Dean Elgar), Quinton (de Kock), we can’t expect other guys... we need to make sure we make the runs first and then the others guys to chip in with us. In a time like this, it is important that your big guys really take control and make sure that they put in the bulk of the work.”
Du Plessis marked out counterpart Virat Kohli, who scored a career best 254, and centurion Mayank Agarwal for special praise. “Virat’s knock was incredible. Surprised that he started slow, normally he’s quite busy and gets off quite well. He was quite patient in the beginning which was required in the wicket, he left well. And then sheer mental toughness to bat for that long. It takes huge amount of brain power. Even Mayank as well with his performances, a double hundred followed by the hundred - that’s all in the mind. So there’s stuff for us to learn from that.”