India vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Challenge is to reach 30-40 overs without much damage, says Temba Bavuma
PUNE: South African vice-captain Temba Bavuma on Saturday said that there were no demons in the Pune pitch but batting in the first 30-40 overs had been a real challenge for South Africa so far in the series.
"From the outside, looking at the partnership between Vernon (Philander) and Keshav (Maharaj), it doesn't look like there are demons in the pitch," Bavuma said.
"Once the ball gets soft, after the 30th or 40th over, we can really make inroads with the bat. I think for us the challenge is to getting to that 30th or 40th over without a lot of damage and then setting a score from there," he added.
In this series, India has scored 99-0, 113-1 and 101-1 after 35 overs while the Proteas have scored 92-4, 94-8 and 105-5. That has been the difference between the two sides so far.
Bavuma's own scores in the series so far are -- 18, 0 and 8. That is not how you fill the vacuum left by someone like Hashim Amla or AB de Villiers.
Bavuma understands it very well and he was brutally honest in his judgment of his own performance, labelling it, "not good enough".
"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," said Bavuma, 29.
"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 and trying to win back the support of the fans back home," he said.
The first two days of both the Tests have been hard on South Africa, to say the least, as India had piled up mountain of runs. The visiting team had an 'honest' talk back in the dressing room at the end of second day's play in Pune on Friday.
"We had an honest and truthful chat from the coach. He gave us his true feelings, his true thoughts on our effort on the last two days. He was really critical of our effort," Bavuma said.
"Basically he said, 'With all that's happened we've got to find out a way. We haven't come to India to lose, we haven't necessarily come to India to learn, we have come to India to compete and win'. That's what our goal is," he added.
He admitted that the wicket on offer is more like what South Africa would expect back home and was suited to their bowling strengths.
"The pitch was quite similar to what you get back in South Africa. I honestly found that it was quite suited to our strength as a bowling unit. Probably being hypercritical, you would've expected our bowling attack and the skill that we have to be able to make a lot more inroads.
"Their bowlers have been able to put us under pressure. It's quite obvious in batting totals that we've been able to accumulate. They are obviously doing something we are not doing. Or, their batters are just playing bowlers better than our batters,"
He signed off and headed straight to nets, preparing to step up in the second essay.