South African skipper Faf du Plessis believes it is imperative for his team to find the right balance between attack and defense and it is key to success against Indian spinners. du Plessis added that the batsmen should play according to conditions and situations. Thus, it is pivotal to attack at the right time and defend at the right time.
The Proteas captain believes it is crucial to put the pressure back on the Indian spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have all the experience under their belt and the visitors can not afford to play with a dead bat against these two veteran spinners.
India was able to tick the right boxes.
du Plessis stated that they can not become too defensive in their approach because then they would be sitting ducks for the Indian spinners.
“I think the first innings for me was possibly the difference with us from 2015,” du Plessis highlighted. “You try and survive on Indian spinning conditions and with that, you can become too defensive and allow the opposition to be on top the whole time. There needs to be a good combination of positive play, the element of taking risks at some stage of the game to transfer the pressure on the bowling team.
“And the record speak for themselves. Especially on the spin-bowling front, the two of them [Ashwin and Jadeja] have done really well in India, so you’ve to try and put some pressure back on them. Otherwise, they’ll just bowl good balls all day long and one of those balls will have your name on it. The balance between attack and defence is important in the subcontinent.”
Ravichandran Ashwin had scalped seven wickets in the first innings and he was the pick of the Indian bowlers. In fact, South Africa had done well in the first dig as they posted 431 runs after Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored centuries.
On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja snared four wickets in the second essay to help India take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Proteas were skittled out for a paltry 191 and could not show the fight in the second innings.
In fact, it was not only Indian spinners who cause trouble to South African batsmen but also Mohammed Shami breathed down the neck of the visitors in the second innings. Faf du Plessis added that there are lessons for his pace battery to learn from Shami.
“I felt that he bowled a bit quicker than he did in the first innings,” du Plessis said. “Therefore obviously things happened a little bit quicker off the pitch. It was a day five wicket so he had that in his favour, but there’s a huge intensity about his bowling. You’re going to bowl short spells in the heat, but when you bowl you’ve to ensure you bowl with a lot of intensity and maximize it. And just learning from the lengths that he bowled.
“He’s a guy that hits the stumps a lot, that’s something from a bowling point of view we’ve to make sure we’re better at. In the first innings especially, we bowled wide and therefore they scored frequently square of the wicket. So there’s a lot of lessons to learn. I spoke to one of our young bowlers too and said to him that it’s a good learning opportunity for you to sit and watch what someone does when they’re on top of their home conditions. Just learn from his angles of the crease, how does he reverse the ball.”
The second Test match will begin at Pune from October 10.