Rohit Sharma’s countenance reflected his pain at India’s failure to win a Test series in South Africa and breach the team’s ‘final frontier’ but the skipper said on Thursday they “would take pride” from their seven-wicket victory in the second Test in Cape Town. Coming off an innings and 32-run mauling in the series-opener in Centurion, India fought back strongly to emerge victorious here inside five sessions and share the spoils in the two-match rubber. “When you come to this part of the world, it’s always difficult but we take pride in our performance outside of India. South Africa always challenge us and for us to come out here and win, we can take pride in this performance,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
“We would have loved to win the series. We came back very well, especially our bowlers. Had some plans and the boys got rewarded.
“We knew that it’s going to be a short game, we knew every run matters, to get that first-innings lead was very important.”
Asked about the remarkable turnaround after the poor performance in Centurion, the captain said, “Obviously a great feat, but having said that we have to learn from whatever mistakes we made.
“The bowlers still have to put the ball in the right areas and the boys got rewarded for it. We applied ourselves well and batted to get the 100-run lead, but not pleasing to see the last six wickets (fall for no runs).”
Pacer Mohammed Siraj rattled the hosts in the first session of the opening day here, grabbing a sensational 6/15 to skittle South Africa out for 55. That set the tone for the series-levelling win.
“Siraj’s spell is something you don’t get to see often. We kept it simple and the pitch did the rest for us. You still have to come and do it. Credit to Siraj and Bumrah and to Mukesh and Prasidh to support him in whatever way they did.”
When asked about the long-serving, retiring Dean Elgar, Rohit complemented him for being a great servant of South African cricket.
“Such an important player for South Africa. Very, very gritty and his wicket – we spoke about how we want to get him out quickly. We appreciate what he has done for South Africa. Brilliant career – best wishes ahead.” Elgar, who led South Africa in this Test in the absence of injured Temba Bavuma, said he would have “liked to do more” in his farewell game.
“A tough one for us. Pretty positive coming into this game. The first innings killed us with the bat. India bowled fantastically and used the conditions to a T. Still a draw, still a lot of positives for the young players that we have within the side,” Elgar said.
The former skipper was coming off an excellent outing in the opening Test but could not replicate that performance here.
“I would have liked to do more in this game. Still very proud of my performance I had in Centurion. Nice to contribute to a winning cause. Some really tough conditions throughout. It (3-Test series) would have been fantastic,” Elgar said.
Elgar, who shared the Player of the Series Award with Jasprit Bumrah, added, “You want to challenge yourself, Bumrah is world-class, he deserves this award. You want to push yourself to limits. Glad that I don’t have to face these guys again. Fond memories.
“We’ve come a long way. Very grateful to play against these guys. A lot of good memories, I received it (green cap) in 2012, I have missed only one series. It’s got a special place. Only leaves for duty, that’s done and dusted.”
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