IND vs SA: We needed something brilliant in the second dig, says Faf du Plessis
Visakhapatnam: South Africa competed with India for three days of the first Test, but as happens so often in the sub-continent, they were blown away by on the last two days to capitulate to a 203-run drubbing in the first Test at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on yesterday.
Encouragement came in the form of a first innings tally of 431 — in seven completed innings in 2015, their highest was 214 and they were shot out for under 150 four times — studded by hundreds from senior batsmen Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock. That they were still comprehensively outplayed must be a reality check of sorts, but Faf du Plessis chose to focus on the positives, at least in public.
"I am really proud of the way we batted in the first innings," the South African skipper said. "It was a real line in the sand for us as a team. To get 400 in the sub-continent is never easy. The way we responded [to India's 502 for seven declared] was brilliant. We needed something brilliant in the second innings but a few half-chances didn't go our way and the game slipped away. The way Rohit [Sharma] played, especially in that second innings, made it very tough for us."
Unlike in 2015 when then captain Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers brought a wealth of experience, this team is light on that commodity. Du Plessis advocated patience as South Africa embark on a journey to reclaim the glory of past. "In Test cricket, experience counts for a lot. Experience is gained by playing at the highest level for a period of time. This is a new phase, of a lot of guys coming in. You got to give it some time, you got to be patient because through this process, you will reach that phase again where you will get consistency in your selection, batters that are mature, have played 30-40 Tests and know their game.
"The only way you can get there is, unfortunately, by starting somewhere. In a perfect world, you won't do it all at the same time but that's the nature of where we are at. A lot of bowlers, Morne [Morkel] and Dale [Steyn] and all those guys are finished, now it's two new guys in the squad. "Hash [Amla] finishing, AB finishing in a year's time, we got two players with a lot of runs behind their names finishing. It is going to take some time to fill those shoes but we as leadership understand that it is important to be patient with the guys because they will come through again."
Catch up on all the latest T20 news and updates here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates