India would have been hoping to start their 2018 test campaign in South Africa with a win and continue their good run which started in 2017. They came mighty close to pulling off a great victory over the Proteas but a spirited fightback by South Africa saw the Indians lose the first test in Cape Town by 72 runs.
Bowlers Give India A Sniff At Victory
India decided to play three fast bowlers and use H Pandya as the fourth seamer. The moved paid off in both innings as India were able to get 20 wickets and put South Africa under pressure. B Kumar starred with the ball in the first innings taking 4 wickets and restricting South Africa to 286.
India had to bat well in the first innings and get a lead over South Africa. They collapsed like a house of cards until H Pandya took the attack to the bowlers and scored 93 as he put together a good partnership with B Kumar (25). India were bowled out for 209 and instead ended up conceding a lead.
The bowlers once again delivered as they took a flurry of wickets on the fourth day to dismiss South Africa for 130 and give India a target of 208. M Shami was not at his best in the first innings but did a lot better in the second innings taking 3 wickets. J Bumrah who played his first test match performed very well and bowled exceptionally in the second innings.
Batsmen Let Indian Down
It was always going to be a test for the batsmen as India decided not to play a practice match and instead preferred net sessions. The move backfired and India as usual found it hard to adjust to the pace and swing. Kohli decided to drop vice-captain A Rahane in favour of R Sharma and that moved back fired as well. Rahane has had a poor run of late but his quality as a test cricketer in overseas conditions has been tried and tested.
In a statement, Kohli said “Batting, as I said, we need to think about stringing partnerships. This game is all about partnerships, and crucial runs, and they did better. The bowlers learnt pretty quickly and did well in the second innings. The mindset really matters when you travel away from home. You need to positive in defence and leaving, and cash in on scoring.”
India should look to make changes to their batting line-up and bring in KL Rahul and A Rahane for the second test or risk playing the same team and suffer another batting collapse.