India skipper Virat Kohli said the players are themselves to blame for the loss after another batting collapse cost India the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Chasing 208, India kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and were folded up for just 135.
India’s pacers came up with a brilliant show to restrict the Proteas to just 130. After South Africa started the day on 65 for two with their overall lead extended to 142, India’s pacers did not take long to make inroads in the game. The hosts could add only one run before Hashim Amla was sent back by Mohammed Shami. Seven runs later, Shami Struck again, forcing Kagiso Rabada to edge one behind in the slip cordon.
Jasprit Bumrah then joined the party, dismissing Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock before Shami removed Vernon Philander, as South Africa found themselves reeling at 95 for seven. AB de Villiers and Keshav Maharaj then added 27 runs to stop the rot for a while before India took three wickets for eight runs to end the innings.
However, the visitors could not capitalise on the opportunity to register a famous win in rainbow nation and were all out for just 135. The top three was back in the hut with just 39 runs on the board before Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma steadied the ship with a 32-run stand. The fate of the match then all but became clear when South Africa took four quick wickets to reduce the visitors to 82 for seven from 71 for three. A gutsy 49-run stand between Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar revived India’s hopes, but brutally got crushed by Vernon Philander who took the last three wickets in four balls to finish with six for 42.
“I think, we let ourselves down with the bat, that’s for sure,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference. “Losing wickets in bunches never helps winning Tests or consolidating your position. Also, we rectified the errors we made in the first innings by letting them off after having them 12/3. We plugged that gap pretty nicely in the morning today. Getting them out for 208 felt chaseable, felt very realistic, but again we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80 and not 20-25-30 runs.”
“We wanted one big partnership to get the job done which we failed to do, and again we lost four wickets in four overs,” Kohli added. “If you do that it is very tough for you to come back and win Test matches from there. We needed to bat better than what we did.”
Kohli further heaped praise on Hardik Pandya for his 93-run knock in the first innings and rued India’s failure to restrict the Proteas to a low total in the first innings.
“Hardik [Pandya] showed great character in the first innings to get us to that total. If we had them 50 or 60 less in the first innings when we let them off in the last few wickets things could have been different. Even now we lost by only 70-odd. Might sound big but we understand where the game was, even today we feel really disappointed by how things went on. We needed, if not one big partnership, then every wicket adding 30-35 would have done the job for us. We needed to show more character with the bat there is no question about it,” he said.
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