Virat Kohli praises Team India for 'showing character' to clinch Test series
Skipper Virat Kohli credits Team India for bouncing back, says the boys needed to be patient in the face of South Africa's resolute play and their perseverance was rewarded
New Delhi: South Africa's tour ended with Morne Morkel shouldering arms to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery that hit the stumps. The picture was quite symbolic of the Test series as South Africa have been undone by a heavy dose of spin.
Team India celebrate their 3-0 series win over South Africa at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTI
In the face of a 481-run target, South Africa battled it out for 143 overs and a ball for 143 runs, but India's victory seemed all too inevitable in the fourth Test here. This 3-0 series triumph has taken them to the No 2 spot in the Test rankings.
Although this is a significant achievement for Virat Kohli in his first year of captaincy, he isn't swayed by the rankings. "Obviously it's an incentive — which we don't aim for, but we want to play good cricket and be a good Test side," he said.
SA's failed marathon
South Africa began Day Five on 72-2 and maintained their defensive approach. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers (43) seemed in the zone and continued to block almost every delivery. "It was surprising to find the way they came out and decided to start defending from ball one. That helped (me) into bring in part-timers and keep my main bowlers fresh," Kohli said. If Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay were used on Day Four, Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara rolled their arms over yesterday.
However, considering South Africa's defensive approach, there was always a danger lurking of a wicket. Ravindra Jadeja got through Amla's defence after the Proteas skipper had waged a 244-ball long battle for his 25. Faf du Plessis walked in and batted nearly two hours for his 10. It took him 53 balls to get off the mark.
Determined De Villiers
At the other end, De Villiers looked resolute in defence and remained their biggest hope. The man who can rattle bowling attacks with his aggression, was the exact opposite in this innings during his 297-ball long stay. In the face of this resolute play, India needed to be patient. "That one wicket will come at some stage and after that you can cash in on with your aggressive mindset," Kohli said.
Once Ashwin dismissed De Villiers, South Africa's fight had effectively ended. Umesh Yadav gave a good exhibition of his fast bowling, picking three wickets to help India finish. However, Ashwin stood out with his fifer and took away the Man of the Series.
Kohli has now followed up the Test series victory in Sri Lanka by beating the No 1 ranked side. "Test cricket has been one format where we all have wanted to do well. I'd like to give credit to the team for showing character and bouncing back in last two series like the way we have," he said.