India vs South Africa, 1st Test

    Freedom Trophy, 2019 | 1st Test | Wednesday 2nd October | 04:00
    Day - 5,  Match Ended
    502/7 dec
    & 323/4 dec (67.0) RR:4.82
    South Africa
    & 191 (63.5) RR:2.99
    • Commentary
    • Scorecard
    • Match Info
    • India 1st inningsIND 1st inn
    • South Africa 1st inningsSA 1st inn
    • India 2nd inningsIND 2nd inn
    • South Africa 2nd inningsSA 2nd inn

    160 then. Points for India in the World Test Championship so far. This being a 3-match series, a win gives you 40 points. Way ahead of the rest and given that they are enjoying a home run for a lengthy period of time, the hosts would like to consolidate that spot in the coming months. What about South Africa? They fought hard for the first 3 days but Day 4 was probably where the game slipped away. There are some technical shortcomings as well, along with the weather conditions. But they need to find answers to all these pretty quickly, as the second Test is upon all from Thursday, 10th October, 2019 from 9.30 am local (0400 GMT) in Pune. Would winning the toss make things any better? Doubt that, with India playing so well but Faf du Plessis can perhaps consult Australian Women's captain, Meg Lanning to help win the toss. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!

    ROHIT SHARMA HAS BEEN NAMED THE MAN OF THE MATCH. Says that he just wanted to go out there and do what he does best, exploring opportunities at the top. Thanks the coach and management for giving him that chance. Believes that getting 40 points is more important than all that and is happy that India continue to stay at the top of the table in the World Test Championship. On him now opening in all formats, Rohit says that it was communicated to him around 2 years ago, that he might be asked to open, so it was not altogether a surprise and he used to practice really hard in the nets. On him playing watchfully at the start in both white-ball and red-ball cricket, Sharma says that one needs to assess the conditions first and then play your own game. Stresses that the batsman should be leaving the ball outside off, play as close to the ball as possible and then play one's shots, which has been his mantra so far. On being asked about him creating the record for hitting the most number of sixes in a Test, Rohit instantly says that there are quite a few things in Test cricket that he is not aware of. Adds that his main aim was to maintain his focus and outwit the bowlers, who, he believes are very smart these days.

    Victorious Indian captain, Virat Kohli, comes up next. On being asked for the win, which was not easy, Kohli admits that it was so. Adds that they did get the result they wanted but admires the resistance shown by South Africa. Details that once you get 500 on the board, you are always in the ascending seat irrespective of the fight shown by the opposition. Praises his batsmen in both innings for scoring quickly and says that it was a tough grind, but due to the weather. On the pacers doing well on a track suited to the spinners, Kohli says that it all depends on the attitude. Adds that in the last 2 years, every Indian pacer has looked to contribute on every pitch, albeit bowling shorter spells and communicating well with the captain, even when conditions are difficult. Praises Ashwin and Jadeja for bowling consistently well, on a flat track in the first innings, with the offie taking 7 there and Jadeja taking quick wickets in the second. On Shami's spell this morning, Kohli feels that the pacer has always done well in the recent past and when the ball reverses, he is unstoppable. In the end, praises all the bowlers. On the current quality of the SG ball, Kohli feels that this particular lot is better than the previous one, staying hard for around 40-45 overs but wants it to be harder till at least 60 overs because, even if the pitch is helping you, you would want the ball to do something as well.

    Time for the presentation. Faf du Plessis first up, the South African captain. A bit of a disgruntled look on his face. Praises India for putting up a great total and then his own team for fighting hard. Adds that in an ideal world, he would have loved his bowlers to bowl India out cheaply but has to stop and admire another Rohit special. Is wary of a pitch exploding on Day 5 but apart from the collapse on Sunday morning, he believes that South Africa fought hard. On the wicket for this Test, Faf says that it seemed to hold on a bit and apart from Shami taking a 5-fer on Day 5, the seamers barely got much purchase. Rues the fact that his spinners could not do much in the third innings, which is where the game drifted away. Admits that the collapse this morning was way too quick and it does happen on Day 5 but quickly says that one cannot do much about it, so wants to move forward and look ahead to the second Test.

    Mohammed Shami is gifted the stump which he broke, while cleaning up Dane Piedt. On being asked his plan to bowl on the wicket, Shami says that it is very difficult to take wickets on such pitches, so the team planned to bowl in line of the stumps. On the pacers bowling well, Shami says that over the past 4-5 years, the combination of the pacers has been excellent and if the ball starts to reverse a bit, aided with uneven bounce, everyone does well. On breaking the middle order of the Proteas, Shami says that the aim is always to remove the top 5 of the opposition early and in doing that, keep the line which attacks the stumps. Thanks the crowd for its support.

    The Indians then. Heroes? Oh you could make movies which could run successfully for the next decade. Rohit Sharma showing that he loves to open in any format. Just 176. 224 less perhaps? Then Mayank Agarwal. Getting to his double ton. The duo staging a 317-run opening stand. Then Ashwin taking a 7-fer, showing that he is still India's number 1 Test spinner. And Rohit again in the second dig, scoring his second century in this Test. And in the final innings, Jadeja and the second innings hero, Mohammed Shami. A total team effort. Simply superb. Given that a seamer has taken 5 wickets on Day 5, simply shows how good India's pace attack is even now. Here is the hero, talking to Sanjay Manjrekar.

    Now, to this match overall. How many heroes for the South Africans? Maharaj in the first innings. For believing in himself while getting sent to the cleaners for two days that eventually he will get some reward, ending up with 3 scalps. Then Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis, for ensuring that there is some fight shown and the Proteas do not cave in. Made India bowl 131.2 overs, an achievement in itself, playing spin really well. But that was it. That seemed to take a heavy toll as they simply could not turn up with either bat or ball in the second innings. A lead of 71 was not what India would have expected after scoring 502/7 but the Saffas could not pounce on that opportunity.

    India knew they had the aces when they came out to bowl this morning, only having to land the ball in the right areas and allow the pitch to do the rest. South Africa, inexperienced as they were, seemed confused as to whether they should come forward or stay back and were caught in no man's land. Markram was the only man to fight at the top while Muthusamy and Piedt averted some embarrassment with a 91-run stand lower down the order.

    So how do you play low bounce and extra bounce? Difficult, very difficult. Probably go forward, rather than backward? And do not leave any ball. ANY. De Bruyn, Bavuma, de Kock and Piedt - all suffered the harsh consequences of the ball staying low while du Plessis chose to leave one and had to leave the field. Though the Proteas might look at that period of the first hour on the final day and call it a manic hour, it would still have been difficult for them or any team to hang around against a quality opposition on a wearing pitch. And that is why life is heaven for spinners in India on Day 5, seeming like hell in the first 3.

    Right then. Took a while to come, after a collapse this morning, but eventually, India have won convincingly, with more than a session to spare. For all the fight shown by South Africa in the first innings, sadly, the second dig was a damp squib, though they can blame the inconsistent bounce on the pitch for the same.

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