CENTURION: Batsmen let the team down, said India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday, conceding that his team has been just not good enough in the Test series against South Africa so far.
India suffered a 135-run drubbing at the hands of South Africa in the second cricket Test on the fifth day to lose the three-match series 0-2. The visitors had lost the first Test by 72 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.
“We failed to get a good partnership and take lead. We have let ourselves down. The bowlers have done the job but the batsmen have let the team down,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We tried but we weren’t good enough, especially in the fielding department. That’s why they (South Africa) are the winner,” he added.
Kohli, who stroked a fighting 153 in India’s first innings, said his side erred in reading the Centurion wicket properly.
“We thought the wicket was really flat. Quite surprising. I told the guys the wicket looks different to what it looked before toss. Especially after SA lost wickets in the first innings, we should have capitalised,” the Indian skipper said.
“I want to leave everything on the field. That’s the way I play. 150-odd runs (for himself) means nothing now that we have lost the series. If we had won, even a 30 would have mattered more. As a team, you want to win collectively.”
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said his side were pretty much on top of India in all the five days of the game.
“It took a lot of hard work over the last five days. We were on top pretty much most of the times,” he said.
Du Plessis said after a not-so-impressive last session of the opening day, the Proteas showed a lot of character in the next four days to pull off the comprehensive win.
“It was one of the harder Tests, given it was tough to pick wickets. After Day 1, we were very disappointed. In that last 45 minutes, we gave India a sniff but we made sure we showed character over the last four days,” he said.
“We were short in the first innings. We needed to get 400 but for me the vital time was the second innings. We kept pushing and we knew anything over 250 would be challenging.”
The South African skipper had special praise for debutant fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, who returned with figures of 6/39 to dismantle India in the second innings to earn the man-of-the- match award.
“It was special performance by Ngidi. He’s a great guy and we welcome him into the team. I look at the person’s personality and he’s a wonderful human being,” du Plessis said.
Ngidi was delighted to win the man-of-the-match award in his debut and that too in front of his home crowd.
“The moment hasn’t really sunk in. I am very chuffed with my performance and I’m very happy at the moment. Been a quick turnaround for me. I was in good nick in franchise cricket.
“I came out here to try pretty much what I could do. The support was great at my home ground. It’s a great moment,” Ngidi said.