New Delhi: In the pitch vs the batsmen debate that has engulfed the ongoing India vs South Africa Test series, leg-spinner Amit Mishra has been the silent assassin. World No. 1 South Africa are on a “low” having lost the ongoing four-match series, with India posting big wins in Mohali and Nagpur, besides a draw in Bengaluru. Ravichandran Ashwin has been on fire with 24 wickets on tracks that have aided turn, including three five-fors.
His partner-in-crime Mishra might have just seven scalps against his name, but the Delhi-based spinner says he is “happy with the quality” of his wickets. Mishra, in fact, has been skipper Virat Kohli’s go-to-man in tough situations.
During the third Test in Nagpur, South Africa skipper Hashim Amla and middle-order batsman Faf du Plessis looked threatening in the team’s second essay — they gathered 72 runs in 46.2 overs in what was the visitors’ longest stay at the crease during this Test series — and it was Mishra who put his up hand to bail India out.
Said Mishra here on Tuesday, “Virat came to me and asked what could be done. The duo looked good at the crease and we needed a breakthrough. “I told him ‘let me bowl a short spell here, I think I can get rid of them’. It was his confidence and my belief in my ability that helped us and I got both the wickets. Honestly, I believe we could have lost that game but then we found a way out.”
The Indian squad looked confident and geared up to wrap the series in style as they spent close to two hours at the Kotla on the day. A game of football was followed by net practice as the team oozed confidence.
Mishra also did not shy away from mind games calling on South African batsmen to show “better skills in tough conditions”. “I think South Africa are under immense pressure. I agree that the ball is turning a little more than usual, but I feel their (SA batsmen’s) technique hasn’t been good enough to survive the challenge. We are international players who play under different conditions. It is all about moulding ourselves according to the situation.
“The conditions are different in every country. We also go and play in England or Australia, and the pitch, weather conditions are very different there. We change our game and style accordingly.
Dhaalna padhta hai khud ko (The player has to mould himself),” said the leggie, adding that the bowlers were not getting enough credit for their achievements.
“I think all this is getting drowned in the pitch talk. One must acknowledge the fact that we are bowling well. We have a great combination going. It is important for any team to win matches and series, for bowlers to trust each other, to keep talking to each other and helping each other,” the unassuming leggie said.
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