Game did not go according to plan in terms of bowling, says Keshav Maharaj

After being put on the backfoot against India in the first Test match, South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj on Thursday said that the plans did not prove fruitful for the team and that the side has a task on their hands when they come out to bat on day three.

His remarks came after the close of play on day two. India declared their innings at 502/7, owing to Mayank Agarwal’s knock of 215 runs. South Africa ended the day at 39/3.

Maharaj was the pick of Proteas’ bowlers as he scalped three wickets.

“We knew that in the first innings, the wicket was going to be very flat, obviously the wicket would deteriorate from there. But having said that, it did not go according to plan in terms of not controlling the run-rate. We have a task in hand in batting as long as possible,” Maharaj said.

“It was probably one of the tougher pitches that I have bowled upon in my career. There is little assistance that the pitch is offering now as compared to on day one. Toss does play a part as you want the best possible conditions for your spinners,” he added.

Agarwal had a mammoth opening stand with Rohit Sharma as the duo put on 317 runs for the first wicket. Maharaj lauded the opening pair for India and said the duo tackled the Proteas bowling lineup really well.

“Mayank and Rohit played really well. If someone comes down the wicket and smashes you, it is necessarily not a bad ball. I would just say that both Rohit and Mayank batted superbly. Whether the outcome is five wickets or no wickets, I just love bowling,” Maharaj said.

“The seamers tried hard in the beginning. Luck also did not go our way. The wicket did not assist us in the way we thought. It is a learning curve for us. When you have an opening stand of 300-plus runs, it is very hard to come back from there. Rohit and Agarwal put us under pressure and they put away all the loose balls. They had a superb game plan,” he added.

India scalped three Proteas’ wickets easily as Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets while Ravindra Jadeja got one.

South Africa will resume day three of the first Test at 39/3, still trailing India by 463 runs.

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.