Batting for 143 overs in the fourth innings of a test is never easy. Especially when you are batting to save the game against a rampant Indian side in their own backyard. In several ways, South Africa fought really hard to save the Delhi test, but once AB De Villiers was dismissed, it was just a matter of time before facing the inevitable defeat.
South Africa’s tactics to block every delivery and opt for defense baffled a lot of individuals, including Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who admitted to being surprised. An alternate choice for South Africa would have been to play the ball on its merit and not be ultra defensive. Who knows, such a strategy might have well worked.
Skipper Hashim Amla though, defended South Africa’s tactics and said that it was right choice under the circumstances. “We understood the series was gone so we were hoping to gain something from this game and I think we gained something in terms of batting,” said an optimistic Amla. “If you block, you may survive but you are not going to score runs. I don’t think we would have changed much,” he said. “Maybe a few different shots but you need to score runs when you bat, especially in the first innings.”
“Nobody wants to block everything but the need of the time was for us to try and bat as long as we can and take as many risky shots out of the equation. It was unnatural to block as many full tosses and half-volleys as we did,” Amla said. “But there is no selfishness involved in trying to do what needs to be done for the team,” the South African captain explained.
“The determination was never lost. Every Test match is a very important game so you don’t just throw your wicket away or submit the result. You try and fight for everything,” Amla said. “I don’t think anybody thought we would win. We felt that was the best way to save the game. It would have been easy to say, ‘Let’s go out and have some fun and get some runs under our belt,’ but that gains nothing,” Amla said.