The Hindu

Still an awfully long way to go

- JACQUES KALLIS

T he only positive for South Africa after the first day in Bengaluru was the knowledge that they have suffered days as bad as this in the past, and survived them. It will be a long way back from here, but the players must not look too far ahead.

India’s decision to bowl first was brave and the result was a great success — probably exceeding their best expectatio­ns. The wicket almost certainly did less for the seamers than they were expecting, and, in fact, played very well.

Being bowled out for 214 on a difficult surface offering seam movement is one thing, but on what looked to be a pretty true and typical Chinnaswam­y surface was difficult to explain.

As well as India’s bowlers performed, the Proteas will accept responsibi­lity for an innings that was more about batting mistakes than wicket-taking deliveries.

AB was at his majestic best and deserved better support. Sometimes, it simply works out that the team has to bat around one man. One member of the top-order is seeing (and hitting) the ball better than everyone else and the rest must simply be there for him and build partnershi­ps. It is not always AB — but often is!

I talk about the importance of decision making while batting, and that is where it went wrong for South Africa. Some batsmen like to play on instinct alone, or play ‘naturally’ in every situation, but I think there are times when you need to ask yourself which shots are appropriat­e and remind yourself that not every situation is the same.

Ashwin and Jadeja bowled well, but they weren’t getting excessive spin and did little more than put the ball in the right place more often than not. It was a bitter blow losing both Vernon and Dale before the game, but, as Hashim said the day before, series are won by squads, not XIs. — Hawkeye | Chivach

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