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Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma selections surprise SA skipper Faf du Plessis

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis expressed surprised over the selections of Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma in the Indian cricket team for the Cape Town Test

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 13:14 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Cape Town
South Africa vs India,Jasprit Bumrah,Rohit Sharma
Jasprit Bumrah put in an impressive performance for India in his debut Test, which South Africa won by 72 runs in Cape Town.(REUTERS)

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said he was surprised by India’s decision to blood Jasprit Bumrah and select Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane in the first Test which the hosts won by 72 runs at Newlands on Monday. (SA v IND 1st Test HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)

“We didn’t think Bumrah would play. We know he’s done really well in one-day cricket, but we were preparing more for the other seamers because they’ve played a lot of Tests. The other guy was Rohit ahead of Rahane. He’s been in a bit of form one-day cricket wise, so they’re probably just running with that. Apart from that, we made sure we looked at all other guys,” said du Plessis after taking a 1-0 lead in the series.

South Africa too had chosen one less batsman after choosing four pacers and a spinner in Keshav Maharaj. But du Plessis said it was a risk worth taking. “The decision of picking a team was definitely the hardest I have been involved in. Playing seven batters on a pitch that offers a bit more seam is a very good call. But I just thought if you have Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Rabada – that’s four bowlers -- you can’t look past,” he said.

South Africa had asked for a pitch with bounce and assisting seam bowling, but they got a taste of their medicine when India snuffed out eight wickets for 65 runs.

Sure of getting India batsmen

“We expected that first hour to be tough. But we knew if we could get through that -- our assessment of the pitch was that it would speed up. That was a great contest between bat and ball. India would be the first to say it wasn’t ridiculously sporting,” said du Plessis, who admitted to being nervous defending 207.

“I knew the new ball was going to be key for us and that if we got wickets with the new ball, we can get through their batting line-up. They’ve got a few quality players in there but once you can put a bit of pressure on them, I thought we can get through them. I came here this morning hoping to get a 350 lead and bowl to them tonight, so obviously that didn’t go to plan.”

Du Plessis praised Philander’s match-winning 6/42.

“If there’s something in the wicket, he’s as good as you get around the world. What impressed me most today was he wanted to bowl overs. He didn’t say after three or four overs ‘that’s enough’. He wanted the ball and he wanted to make a plan, that’s all you ask for from a senior player’s point of view.”

Working Kohli out

Philander said keeping Virat Kohli quiet was crucial to their plans. “Virat is an aggressive player and the key is to keep him quiet and make sure you set him up for the other one. Initially, it was for me to keep him quiet, and I always knew I had the one coming back,” said Philander, who ultimately dismissed Kohli leg before with a delivery that cut in sharply.

“I think it was two-and-a-half overs of away swingers and then the one back into him. It was definitely a plan to keep him quiet, and also to drag him across to make sure that when you do bowl the other one, he’s on the other side of the off-stump.”

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 23:53 IST