Millennium Post - - SPORT -

CAPE TOWN: The mar­gin of vic­tory was big enough to be called dom­i­nant but South Africa cap­tain Faf Du Plessis said he was quite ner­vous about de­fend­ing 208 against In­dia in the open­ing Test. “I was

Ra­hane’s ab­sence to form as Ro­hit scored three hun­dreds across all for­mats in the pre­ced­ing Sri Lanka se­ries at home.

The in­ter­est­ing add-on here is Shikhar Dhawan’s twin fail- ner­vous. I knew that the new ball was go­ing to be key for us and that if we could get wick­ets with the new ball we feel like we can get through their bat­ting line-up,” said du Plessis af­ter the match.

ure in the first Test. In both in­nings, he was squared up with short de­liv­er­ies and ended up of­fer­ing sim­ple looped-up catches.

“Well, the left-right com­bi­na­tion

al­ways helps, that’s what we felt. It’s dif­fi­cult for the bowlers to set their lines and lengths ev­ery time with the strike ro­tat­ing well.

“It has worked for us in the re­cent past. We have to try and cre­ate plans that we feel will not let the op­po­si­tion gain mo­men­tum very early on in the game and that s the idea be­hind it,” Kohli had ex­plained.

It re­mains to be seen if how many of the three Rahul, Ra­hane and Ishant come into con­tention af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing loss at New­lands. The se­cond Test will be played in Cen­tu­rion from Jan­uary 13.

Mean­while, South Africa coach Ot­tis Gib­son has warned the vis­i­tors that the pace bar­rage they faced in the first Test will con­tinue through the se­ries de­spite the ab­sence of in­jured Dale Steyn.

“When you’re play­ing at home you play to your strengths and at the mo­ment we have some high qual­ity fast bowlers. I’m a very fast bowl­ing-minded coach and I guess we’ll al­ways have to find a bal­ance with whether or not we can get four fast bowlers in the team, first of all. “If not, then we will try and look to shape the team in other ways,” said Gib­son af­ter the first Test.

Two pac­ers — Duanne Olivier and un­capped Lungi Ngidi — have been called up to their squad, while all-rounder Chris Morris is also in con­tention for the se­cond TEST.AGEN­CIES CAPE TOWN: In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli has de­fended the se­lec­tion of Ro­hit Sharma in the open­ing cricket Test, say­ing he was picked ahead of Ajinkya Ra­hane on cur­rent form.

“Well, we de­cided to go on cur­rent form. Ro­hit has scored runs in the last three Test matches that he has played, and he was bat­ting well, even in the se­ries against Sri Lanka,” said Kohli in the post-match me­dia con­fer­ence.

“These things can al­ways be looked at in hind­sight think­ing what if or what if not. But we de­cided to go with this com­bi­na­tion and cur­rent form was def­i­nitely the cri­te­rion,” added Kohli.

Ra­hane, who has not been amongst the runs of late, had a suc­cess­ful tour of South Africa four years ago.

With 209 runs, he was third high­est run-get­ter in the se­ries be­hind Kohli (272 runs) and Chetesh­war Pu­jara (280).

In­dia lost the first Test by 72 runs with bat­ting let­ting them down in both the in­nings. CAPE TOWN: The plan was to keep Vi­rat Kohli quiet and South Africa’s wrecker-in-chief Ver­non Phi­lan­der said his team ex­e­cuted it to per­fec­tion dur­ing the 72-run win over In­dia in the open­ing Test here.

“Vi­rat is a good player and an ag­gres­sive player. The key thing is to ob­vi­ously keep him quiet and to make sure you set him up for the other one. Ini­tially it was for me to keep him quiet up­front, and I al­ways knew I had the one com­ing back,” said Phi­lan­der, who took a ca­reerbest six for 42. “It was prob­a­bly two-and-a-half overs of awayswingers and then the one back at him (Kohli). It was def­i­nitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he is on the other side of the off-stump.

“I was not wor­ried about his DRS re­view. I knew it was stone dead,” he added, re­fer­ring to the re­view asked by Kohli af­ter on­field um­pire ruled him out.

Asked if he had told any­thing to Kohli af­ter the dis­missal, Phi­lan­der said: “I never said any­thing to Vi­rat. It was in the spur of the mo­ment. I just tried to spur my boys on; that’s what we tend to fo­cus ON.”AGEN­CIES

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