Following a chaotic first day of the second Test between India and South Africa which saw a total of 23 wickets falling, South African skipper Dean Elgar refused to label the pitch as bad but said that it is challenging instead.
Aiden Markram and David Bedingham took South Africa to 62/3 at Stumps on dramatic day one of the second Test match in CapeTown on Wednesday. At the time of stumps, South Africa’s score read 62/3 – trail by 36 runs – with Markram (36) and Bedingham (7) unbeaten at the crease.
Despite managing scores of 4 and 12 in his final Test, Elgar refused to label the pitch as bad, but said that they are challenging and a batter needs to apply themselves, be mentally hard and disciplined.
“I cannot say that (the pitch is bad) because personally, I have had success on wickets that have gone around. My record on our wickets has been pretty good,” he said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“They have been challenging but I think that is what you have got to experience as a batter. For me, it is all about the balance between bat and ball and it is a fine line to get that right. In South Africa, maybe they get a little bit wrong and it is more in favour of the bowler. But as a batter, you have still got to go out and apply yourself and you have got to really be mentally hard on yourself to be disciplined, stay to a very simple game plan and execute. There is no excuse going forward. You still have to apply yourself and that is anywhere around the world. But particularly in South Africa where it is a little bit tougher,” he added.
At either end, the bounce was way different. At Wynberg End, from where Mohammed Sirah took a six-wicket haul, the bounce was up and down, but at the Calvin Grove End, from where Lungi Ngidi took three wickets in an over to trigger an Indian collapse, some deliveries reared up.
“There was a lot steeper bounce that way (from where Ngidi bowler),” Elgar said, pointing to the crease he would have been standing at with Ngidi bowling to him.
“And that side, it was a little bit lower. So I do not know what to make of it,” he added.
Having played 19 first-class matches at Newlands, Elgar came into the match confident that he knew how the wicket would play, even though its mottled look was different in comparison to its usual even tone.
“From the naked eye it actually did not look too bad,” he said.
“The wickets of the past, even domestically, have not played at all badly. They have actually been quite good. It did not look horrible.”
Elgar expected the surface to retain its bat-first quality, but had he known that the wicket was going to play like this, “I would not have chosen it,” he said.
Elgar also pointed out that India “put the ball in the right areas” and said that South African batters should have shown more application.
“As a batter, you have to play the way Virat (Kohli), Aiden (Makram) and Rohit (Sharma) applied themselves, You obviously got to take a few risks out there. And hopefully, you get a reward,” he concluded.
Coming to the match, South Africa elected to bat first and was bundled out for just 55 in 23.2 overs, with Kyle Verreynne (15) and David Bedingham (12) being the sole players to touch double digits.
Mohammed Siraj’s fiery spell of 6/15 destroyed Proteas’ top and middle order, while Jasprit Bumrah (2/25) and Mukesh Kumar (0/2) also took wickets.
In their first innings, India was 153/4 at one point, with solid scores coming from Virat Kohli (46 in 59 balls, with six fours and a six), Rohit Sharma (39 in 50 balls, with seven fours) and Shubman Gill (36 in 55 balls, with five fours), but a Lungi Ngidi three-wicket over sunk India to 153 all out in 34.5 overs.
Ngidi (3/30), Kagiso Rabada (3/38) and Nandre Burger (3/42) took three wickets each for SA.
Later in their second innings, SA ended the day at 62/3, with Aiden Markram (36*) doing the bulk of the scoring. Skipper Dean Elgar managed 12 runs in his final Test innings. Mukesh got two while Bumrah got one wicket.