South Africa have been a dominant force at home. That statement was challenged and the number one ODI team was dethroned from their spot after India claimed a 73-run win over the Proteas in the 5th ODI in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. The win gave India a series win, their first in a bilateral ODI series is South Africa.
The series has raised a lot of questions about South Africa and coach of the team Ottis Gibson is not making any excuses from the fact that India have exposed them with the “hiding.” He added that the team will have a lot more food for thought going forward.
“You take three of your best batsmen out of any team, they will struggle and when you do it against a very strong Indian team it has exposed us. I’ve told the lads in dressing room we will not make excuses but will try and get better. We have got a good hiding from India, let us not kid ourselves about that, but it has also given us a lot of food for thought going forward,” Gibson said.
“I know we have been focusing on the World Cup, but I don’t think the team that will go to that tournament is the one that you saw tonight,” he added.
Terming India’s two wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav as world class, Gibson said that they might turn the ball anywhere in the world and they created a lot of trouble for South Africa in the series. But he was also of the opinion that they may not be useful for next year’s World Cup as it won’t spin much in England.
“I think India has two world-class spinners and they might spin it anywhere, but we have got a whole year to learn to deal with that stuff. But I don’t believe it will spin that much in England,” he said.
The South Africa coach was critical of his batsmen and said that they let the team down with the bat and especially in the fifth ODI which South Africa needed to win to save the series.
“We were optimistic the series was still there to be drawn. To bowl India out for 270-odd was a great effort from the bowlers and we let ourselves down with the bat.
“You want to have a group of players who can adapt to certain conditions and play accordingly. We know we have those players but they have not produced it in this series, which is disappointing. We succumbed quite easily,” the coach said.
The South Africa bowlers did a fine job by restricting India to a total of 274 for 7 in 50 overs. Even in the fourth ODI, South Africa had kept India under 300. The batsmen, however, failed to chase down the target of 275 and were bowled out for 201. Hashim Amla scored 71 runs but no other batsman showed the mettle to stay at the crease.
“We were 50 for none and lost a wicket with four balls to go in Power Play to Jasprit Bumrah who has been their best fast bowler all summer. We lost a couple more shortly thereafter and that set us back.
“Hashim (Amla) worked really hard to rebuild but every time we rebuilt we lost wickets. With four bowlers, we needed our best six or seven batsmen to bat the bulk of overs and they were not able to do that tonight,” he said.
Gibson credited India for scoring runs especially the top-order. He said that each of the top-three batsman from India has a century in the series which made the difference.
“A lot of credit has to go to India. In every game, one of their top three (batsmen) has scored a hundred and that is been the difference in the series. We’ve got one hundred from captain Faf du Plessis in Durban, and we’ve not been able to get another since. It’s not that we can’t.”
Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers were major injury concerns for the South Africa in the series and while the former two were ruled out of the series after three ODIs, De Villiers only came in for the final three ODIs.
Aiden Markram was the stand-in skipper in Du Plessis’ absence but Gibson said that he should not be judged for his captaincy in the small stint during the India series.
“This (appointing Markram) was a decision for the future, not a decision for now. Aiden has shown all the hallmarks of a good leader and with Faf out we thought we could give him that opportunity. Looking back I think it was the right decision.”