South African captain Faf du Plessis says there was nothing wrong in demanding bouncy pitches in the just-concluded Test series against India as the visitors don’t exactly welcome them with “green tracks” when the Proteas travel there.
South Africa won the three-Test series 2-1 and pitch became the buzzword in the third and final match in Johannesburg. The track at the Wanderers was deemed dangerous by several experts for the uneven bounce, which unnerved batsmen on both sides.
The Virat Kohli-led Indian team showed tremendous grit to bat on and claim a consolation win on the treacherous surface.
“Whether it’s one percent or five percent or ten percent – whatever you can you must try and get an advantage against opposition. When we go to India, we certainly don’t play on flat, green tracks,” he said at the end of the third Test in Johannesburg.
“And I assume that there would be a similar conversation happening there. For me it’s just making sure that there’s a conversation happening with the management of our team and also the groundsman about the conditions that would be ideal for a Test series. This Test series we didn’t get that, and I can’t give you the reason for that,” he added.
Du Plessis insisted that the Wanderers track was not dangerous.
“I don’t think so (that it was dangerous on) days one and two. The only time I got a little bit concerned was when Dean got hit in the face. That’s when I got a little bit concerned for player safety.
“Even in Indian innings, there were quite a few guys that got hit on the fingers quite regularly. I think if you count the number of times guys got hit it was much more than usual,” he said.
“You know excessive sideways movement is tough but not dangerous. As soon as guys started getting hit from a length, that’s when we thought it might be dangerous. But surprisingly the pitch played fine again today. So we had the opportunity to chase down the game and we didn’t do that.”
The furore over pitch aside, Du Plessis said the hosts were not upto the mark in the third Test and didn’t make good use of the opportunities that came their way during the four days.
“To be hard on ourselves, we weren’t on top of our game from the start. Even in the first innings, I thought the total that they got 189 or whatever it was probably 30 runs too many,” he said after the 63-run loss.
“I can remember Virat having 2-3 chances. So it all adds up. Even the second innings, they got 220 and they should have been 180. So the last innings we should have chased 160 or something like that,” du Plessis added.
The skipper also blamed the sloppy fielders and bowlers for not bowling to the wicket.
“It wasn’t a great Test match for our skills. We dropped quite a few catches. I think especially on this wicket you need to make sure you zone in on the wickets and bowl quite straight lines,” du Plessis said.
“I thought in both innings, we were a little bit short and wide for most of the Indian innings, which gave them the opportunity to leave a lot more. From a batting perspective we felt that the Indian bowlers made us play a lot more.”
Du Plessis credited the Indian team for exploiting the conditions better than the Proteas here.
“The Indian bowlers are very successful in these conditions. So that’s something we’ve got to remember when we play them here next time, that why is it that they are successful here,” he said.
“Obviously you could see that their bowlers were a real handful in this Test match. And credit to their batters, they put their hands up and put the runs on the board.”
Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla put on 119 runs for the second wicket and South Africa were placed at 124/1 at one stage and du Plessis praised the duo for their gritty innings.
“So, although we’re very disappointed with the loss, there’s a lot of credit that goes to the two of them,” said du Plessis.
Now the two teams look forward to the six-match ODI series starting in Durban on February 1.
The skipper said they would carry a lot of confidence from the series win to the ODI series starting on February 1.
“ODIs are a different set-up of guys. We take a lot of confidence from the series win against India. We think that’s something that’s very important for everyone to remember.
Although as a team we are extremely disappointed (to lose this Test), we beat the no.1 Test team in the world,” he said.