Faf du Plessis finds positives in massive loss

South African skipper Faf du Plessis (PTI Photo)

South Africa may have lost the opening Test against India by 203 runs but there are plenty of positives to take home. After India had amassed 502/7 declared in the first innings and reduced them to 34/3, many expected them to cave-in just like in 2015. But Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock smashed centuries to earn a lot of praise.

Skipper Faf du Plessis too chose to dwell on the good rather than the second innings capitulation as they head for the second Test in Pune, starting on Thursday. “Yeah, really proud of the first innings, the way we batted. I thought it was real in the line in the sand for us as a team. A lot of new players in our squad. There was an opportunity for us to go the other way and we didn’t. We played really well, senior players put their hands up in Quinny (de Kock) and Dean getting fantastic hundreds and to get 400 in the sub-continent is never anything easy to do,” he said at the post-match press conference.

“We needed something brilliant in the second innings. There was a few half-chances that didn’t go our way and that’s sort of where the game slipped away. We tried to stay in the fight, stay in the contest. But the way Rohit (Sharma) played, especially in that second innings, made it tough for us. To put up a score of 400 in the last innings was always going to be a little bit too much. Obviously also the nature of the day five pitch – today was the first day we saw something coming really through.”

South Africa struggled in the spin department with lead tweaker Keshav Maharaj struggling to maintain consistency and support act Dane Piedt churning ordinary stuff. Du Plessis felt that’s something the team will be looking to address in the remaining part of the series.

“It was difficult to try and slow the game down, obviously bowling a lot of spin. Pace of play was really fast and when they got momentum that they had at that stage, it just felt that it was really difficult to stop the scoring. From a combination point of view, it is difficult to say. If you look, apart from today, seamers didn’t play that much of a role in this Test match. Whatever we feel is our best opportunity in getting 20 wickets because that’s what you need to win Test matches and obviously we couldn’t do in this Test match, couldn’t bowl them out. That’s something we will definitely look at and see how we can counter that.”

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