Centurion: Team India succumbed to series defeat against South Africa after losing the second Test match by 135 runs here on Wednesday. With this victory, the Proteas now lead the three-match Test series 2-0.
Speaking on South Africa’s victorious performance, captain Faf du Plessis said "It took a lot of hard work over the last five days. We were on top pretty much most of the times. (This was) One of the harder Tests, given batting and bowling was tough. We were amazing in the field.”
While the hosts won the second Test comfortably on the final day, they were in a spot of bother in the final hour on Day 1 of the Test, losing a few wickets in quick succession. The South African skipper addressed the fact and revealed what was the discussion as his team aimed for a comeback. Faf, meanwhile, also revealed that scoring 250 plus in the second innings was team’s aim.
“After Day 1, we were very disappointed. In that last 45 minutes of Day 1, we gave India a sniff and the chat after that was that we are gonna need a bit of character over the next four days. We were short in the first innings. We needed to get 400, especially from the position we were in, but for me the vital time was the second innings. We kept pushing the scoring and we knew that anything over 250 would be challenging. So the guys were grinding hard to get over 250,” said Faf.
While India were expected to put up a fight on the final day of the second Test to save the match and keep the series alive, the batsmen found it difficult to get going against the South African bowlers, especially debutant Lungi Ngidi, who finished with match figures of 7/90.
Faf lauded the debutant’s effort with the ball, saying, “Special performance by Ngidi. He's a great guy and we welcome him into the team. Amazing future that lad has. I look at the person's personality the first thing and he's a wonderful human being. I see him carrying this national attack for a few years.”
While Ngidi and Rabada stole the show on the final day, Morne Morkel’s stunning catch to dismiss Parthiv Patel also grabbed a lot of eyeballs.
Morkel, the tall South African pacer, who was manning the fine-leg area, ran to his right to take an absolutely stunning catch. Such was Morne’s effort that the whole team ran towards him to celebrate the dismissal of the Indian wicketkeeper. Faf joked that Morne’s catch was better than the one AB de Villiers took to end Rohit Sharma’s innings.
“Morne's catch was better than AB's (chuckles). He is going to tell us a lot about that catch over the next few days. You can tell from his celebrations. Long strides like that across the field is a beautiful sight," concluded Faf.
The final match of the series will take place at Wanderers in Johannesburg....