India suffered a heartbreaking defeat by 72 runs in the first Test against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town. The men in blue were well in with a chance of pulling off a victory after a target of 208 was set by the hosts. The batsmen crumbled under pressure and the South African bowlers just ran over the line-up.
The top-order failed in both innings and barring Hardik Pandya in the first innings and the tail-enders in the second innings, no one hung around for long in the middle. The bowlers kept the side in the game after dismissing the Proteas for 130 in the second innings but the batsmen didn’t back up their good work.
The skipper Virat Kohli has lashed out at the dismal batting performance and stated that picking 20 wickets is not good enough if the batting order fails. “Taking 20 wickets to win a Test match is the priority. But if your batsmen don’t bat well, then it doesn’t matter. If you are not getting close to their total, it doesn’t matter if you have taken 20 wickets or not. We needed to bat better than what we did,” said Virat Kohli in the post-match media conference.
Picked Rohit on current form
Before the start of the match, the Indian team rang in a surprise exclusion when Ajinkya Rahane was not included in the playing XI and instead, they went for Rohit Sharma. The selection received a lot of rage as Rahane has been India’s most consistent batsman overseas. The Indian captain justified that the selection was based on current form as Rohit scored a lot of runs in the limited overs lag back home while Rahane was seen struggling for form.
“Well, we decided to go on current form. Rohit has scored runs in the last three Test matches that he has played, and he was batting well, even in the series against Sri Lanka,” added the 29-year-old.
“These things can always be looked at in hindsight — thinking what if or what if not. But we decided to go with this combination and current form was definitely the criterion,” added Kohli.