Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS) Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly defended the nature of the pitch for the third cricket Test between India and South Africa at Nagpur, terming it a “one-off” and saying that batsman should have applied themselves more on the demanding wicket. South Africa were bundled out for a paltry 79 runs in their first innings at Nagpur against India, registering their lowest score after entering the International arena after the end of the apartheid era. As many as 20 wickets fell on Day 2 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium that condemned South Africa to lose the match by 124 runs and the four-match series 2-0. The fourth and final Test is to be played in New Delhi from December 3. It was South Africa’s first series-defeat on foreign soil in nine years, a period which included 15 trips away from home. “I think the batsman should have batted a bit better. The balls have turned there is no doubt about that. There was a lot of help for the spinners. I think it’s a one-off incident. India won’t produce such pitches again,” Ganguly said on the sidelines of Coca-Cola, NDTV “Support My School” Telethon event, of which he is the brand ambassador, here on Sunday.
India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was declared Man of the Match with a match haul of 12 wickets and became the highest wicket-taker of 2015 with 55 scalps, ahead of England pacer Stuart Broad (51). Ganguly praised the spinner, saying: “He (Ashwin) has bowled superbly. On these pitches, you have to only bowl in the right areas.” The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president was of the view that a decision by the Indian government regarding the India-Pakistan cricket series was a complex, time-consuming issue and any decision will not be taken hurriedly. “The decision will now depend on the government. It has always been the case in an India-Pakistan series and it is not going to change,” the 43-year-old said. Ganguly heaped praise on India Test skipper Virat Kohli but pointed out that the 27-year-old’s main challenge will be when the team tours abroad. The win against South Africa was his first series-win at home as skipper. “He is a good leader. The challenge will be for him when he will tour the away-series. I like him when I see him on the field. He wants to win, he is passionate. So I can say India has hopes on him,” he said.