CAPE TOWN, (Reuters) – India’s batsmen must show a more positive mindset to combat the South Africa bowling attack, their captain Virat Kohli said after losing the first test on Monday.
The match was effectively over in three days with Sunday washed out as 18 wickets fell in 64 overs on day four on a seamer-friendly Cape Town wicket and South Africa won the match by 72 runs.
Set 208 for victory, India were bowled out for 135 in under 43 overs with South African seamer Vernon Philander collecting career-best figures of 6-42.
“The pitch was outstanding. I really like the type of wicket this was,” Kohli told reporters. “It was great for test cricket and we got a result within four days having lost a day.
“It was not one-sided, both teams were in it at different stages. As a team, we really enjoyed being part of this test match and so did South Africa.”
Kohli says the failure of his side to build partnerships was ultimately the difference between defeat and what would have been a sweet victory in such unfamiliar conditions.
“It was a wicket where things were happening every day and we let ourselves down with the bat,” he said. “We wanted one big partnership to get the job done, which we failed to do.”
Kohli suggested that with tracks that are likely to have even more bounce and pace to come in Pretoria and Johannesburg for the rest of the series, his batsmen needed to find a way to transfer the pressure on to the South African bowlers.
“The mindset matters when you’re travelling away from home on pitches which challenge you. You need to be positive in defence and when you’re leaving also. You need to grab scoring opportunities.
“We need to think about taking the attack to the South African bowlers more. That is something for all the batsmen, starting at the very top.
“They (South Africa) force you to play good cricket in every over that you play against them, which I think is a good credit to their bowling attack. As batters we need to step up.”
The second test in Pretoria starts on Saturday.