A disappointed Virat Kohli admitted that India were let down by their batting which turned the team’s dreams of winning its maiden Test series win in South Africa into a nightmare. India, who kicked off the series with an emphatic win in Centurion, lost the second and third games in Johannesburg and Cape Town as South Africa registered a famous come-from-behind win at Newlands to emerge victorious 2-1.
Coming into Day 4, South Africa needed to knock down 111 runs, while India had to pick 8 wickets. In the end, it were the hosts who registered a seven-wicket-win to keep Kohli and Co waiting. The India captain spoke in detail about the the team’s area of concern and had no doubts that the batting needs to be addressed.
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“We have had a few collapses that have cost us important moments and Test matches. It’s batting; can’t pin-point any other aspect. People talk about pace and bounce, considering their heights, they were able to get much more off the wickets in all three Tests. They applied pressure long enough for us to make mistakes. It’s the understanding of conditions for them which they know very well. The batting has to be looked into, no running away from that. Having collapses every now and then not a good thing,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
And rightly so. Barring the first innings in Centurion, where India scored above 300 in the first innings, their batsmen left a lot to be desired. In Johannesburg, India were rolled over for 202 in the first innings and had it not been for half-centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, 266 in the second innings could have been a lot lesser.
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However, the biggest setback came in Cape Town, where Kohli’s men could only put up two noteworthy performances individually – the captain’s 79 in the first and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 100 in the second dig. In fact, the next highest scorer behind Pant was Kohli with 29, with as many as eight players getting dismissed in single digits.
After beating Australia twice on their soil, and almost getting the wood over England, Kohli’s team had the opportunity to do what no Indian team before him has been able to, but the captain acknowledged how far the team has come in terms of expectations while admitting that the outcome of the series will hurt.
“Obviously very disappointed, we know how far we’ve come as a team. That people expect us to beat SA in SA is testimony to how far we’ve come. We haven’t done it, that’s the reality, accept it and come back as better cricketers. Got to credit the opposition where due,” added Kohli.