Mind games on, Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis bat for bowler-friendly tracks | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Mind games on, Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis bat for bowler-friendly tracks

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis have both batted for bowler-friendly pitches despite the Cape Town Test ending in three days of cricket

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 17:36 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Virat Kohli (L) and Faf du Plessis have expressed their support for bowler-friendly pitches during the South Africa vs India Test series.
Virat Kohli (L) and Faf du Plessis have expressed their support for bowler-friendly pitches during the South Africa vs India Test series.(AP)

Something’s definitely brewing when both captains laud a pitch as ‘a great advert for Test cricket’ after producing 286, 209, 130 and 135 in four innings of a Test wrapped up in just under three days of cricket. You realise that possessing a varied pace-bowling lineup is making India and South Africa indulge in an aggressive you-miss-I-hit duel where they know one good partnership might make the difference.

For South Africa, the 114-run fourth wicket first-innings partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis did the trick. India captain Virat Kohli also spoke of the near-misses --- his and Rohit’s partnership, Hardik Pandya’s fearless batting and that stand between R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar that could have been match-altering had others stood up.

“We needed, if not one big partnership, then every wicket adding 30-35 (which) would have done the job for us. We needed to show more character with the bat there is no question about it,” said India captain Virat Kohli on Monday.

South Africa too are thinking more or less on the same lines. So don’t be surprised if South Africa risk similar, if not more seam-friendly and bouncier pitches in Centurion and Johannesburg. Du Plessis, in fact, made no bones about that even though they batted in two tough morning sessions at Newlands.

“This morning felt unplayable (laughs) when we batted,” said du Plessis after the match. “I think pace and bounce is something that you look for in South Africa. There was movement in this Test match. Obviously overhead conditions and moisture could play a role. When we go to Pretoria, we will hopefully get the same and Johannesburg. Those are renowned for being a little bit quicker. Hopefully we’ll get them there,” he said.

Du Plessis explained the risk considering a better Indian seam bowling line-up this tour. “When I saw the names that came over, you almost look at what they will offer in these conditons. You know they’ve also got variety in these conditions. They’ve got guys that can swing the ball, guys that can seam the ball around and they’ve also got a bit of pace. It’s similar to our attack. So I’m not surprised,” he said.

“We wanted the wicket to be a little bit like that, so we expected the wicket to be a bit more bowler friendly. You just needed one or two guys to step up and score some runs. So we did that fortunately in that first innings. We back ourselves in challenging conditions just to try and be a little bit smart when we bat,” he said.