MSD backs under-fire Test team

22 January 2018, 01:41 | Kristine Mills

India rely too heavily on Kohli, says Faf

Cheteshwar Pujara adds unwanted record to his name

We've got a big third Test to come still and we know we have to play well. "I'm sure they will make a comeback".

"I think they do rely on him".

From team selection to shot selection, to running between the wickets to the absence of sheer grit, India were left pondering quite a few issues at the end of just their second Test away from the sub-continent in more than a year.

He has often dared batsmen with his field placements - leaving the mid-wicket open for Virat Kohli was a ploy to get him to play across the line for a leg-before verdict - while his bowling changes have been spot-on. However, Rabada feels the Indian bowling attack has given a healthy competition in last two Tests.

Kohli was seen giving it back to the young fast bowler, but the latter's tactics failed to produce the desired result as Delhi batsman carried on and remained unbeaten on 85 at stumps.

The one silver lining in India's humiliating defeats in Cape Town and Centurion was the performance of their fast bowling attack, and Simons took note of it. "Cape Town and Centurion were different wickets, but on both of them, sometimes bowlers become impatient and try a lot of things". They are known for their great batsmen and they've got really good bowlers as well. He indicated, "This means we are always in a position to win a Test match".

However, Harbhajan is hopeful of India finishing the series on a high before the two sides clash in a six-match one day worldwide series.

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"So with Bumrah, he doesn't have a classical action and he has worked very hard to get where he has".

Asked about the wicket at the Jadavpur University campus ground, Harbhajan said it looked green and he has told the pitch curator that its nature should not affect the game in a way that whoever wins the toss has an advantage.

Even if the pitch gave the Indians an advantage in Centurion, the South African dug in deep, regrouped, displayed resilience with the bat, control and skill with the ball, and eventually quelled the Indian challenge.

"We are not complaining about pitches, we are not complaining about conditions", Kohli said.

"Playing against the Indians is extremely challenging".

The Indian team and the team management had conveyed to the BCCI that it needed to tweak the series against Sri Lanka - by either cancelling the three T20 matches or by replacing the Test series with six ODIs at best - so that the team could be free at least two weeks earlier than what turned out to be the case. Aiden Markram stepped up in the first innings. "We adapted well to the conditions and did what we needed to do", added De Villiers. "So, credit to the Indian bowlers", he added. It is surprising how even though the players will be warm towards me, this official has a problem with me.

He also talked about Lungi Ngidi, someone who he has played with since the Under-19 days. He responded to another question over India's lineup by challenging his interrogator to name the best team if it was so easy.

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