It’s the pitch we wanted, says Proteas captain Faf du Plessis

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Proteas captain Faf du Plessis with Morne Morkel during the fourth day of the Newlands test. Image Source: Xtra Time

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Proteas captain Faf du Plessis on Monday hailed his bowlers for inflicting a 72 runs defeat against India to take a 1-0 lead in the three match series. The hosts defended the 207 runs they set India in the second innings to win the test match.

“It’s really important in a three-match series to put the opposition under pressure. Every single time when we needed to stand up through tough periods, we responded beautifully. Didn’t plan to be 12/3, but we responded well,” Faf said in the post-match presentation.
Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay showed some promise as they added 30 runs for the first wicket. But Proteas fast bowler Vernon Philander bowling a career best spell had the Indian batsman in all sorts of trouble.

According to Faf, “Even today, after India got off to a decent start, we stuck to our plans and put great pressure on their batters. The first morning, we expected it to move around for the first hour. That total we felt was just around par. We felt 270 was going to be par.
“Even in the second innings, from 90/7, AB played a great knock, he took some risks. The plan was to get 200 runs, to get a lead of 350 and to have a crack at them tonight,” he added.
South Africa could add only 65 runs to their second innings total before being bundled out for 130 on a fourth day pitch, which the skipper felt behaved more like an opening day’s track.
The entire third day’s play was washed out on Sunday without a ball being bowled.

“But we were surprised how much it was doing this morning. When we came in today, the pitch was green again, almost like the day 1 pitch. It was tough, they bowled really well.

“I think it was a fantastic cricket wicket. There was a good challenge between bat and ball. If we had four seamers here today, Dale (Steyn) would have been a handful.

“Thoughts with him. Feel sorry for the guy. He’s trained so hard and he’s injured again,” he added.

Both the teams will now face off in the second Test, starting January 13 at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

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