‘Maharaj, Philander have given confidence’

South Africa's batsman Keshav Maharaj produced a gutsy performance against India on the third day of the second Test in Pune on Saturday. AFP

Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj produced a brilliant partnership to bail South Africa out of trouble and vice-captain Temba Bavuma hailed their performance as spectacular.

“It was a spectacular effort from Vernon and Keshav to fight it out there in the middle and face as many balls as they did and still accumulate runs. I mean, us in the change room and on the sides, we were enjoying it. As I said, we were feeding from the confidence they were giving us,” said Bavuma at a press conference on Saturday.

“There’s a lot of positive to take. This is definitely a confidence booster. Keshav is the big player in the team, obviously Vernon as well. For big players, for senior players to step up when the occasion arises is definitely something we can stick out our chest on.”

Bavuma, who has been going through a torrid run in this series, said he’s trying his best but things are just not clicking. “I can understand all the criticism and all the flak coming my way. Like I’ve always said, as a batter your currency is runs and that’s what you’re judged according to. And when your performances are not at the level that we’re so accustomed to as South African batters, people are going to come hard,” said Bavuma. 

“It’s not as if I am going out there and trying to hit all the straight ones up if it is there for me to hit. I can only be critical of myself that I am giving my best but my best at this point is not good enough. In saying that, it is not something I’ll shy away from. Criticism is a good thing. It’s just a matter of me as a professional cricketer, stepping up to the pressure before me and trying to win back the support of the fans back home.”

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