JOHANNESBURG - India remain confident that they can beat South Africa despite losing the first Test after putting themselves in a favourable position.
“Your confidence isn’t dented after one Test match... if your confidence goes away after one match you don’t deserve to play. You learn from the mistakes and you keep moving forward,” said Jasprit Bumrah, who made his Test debut at Newlands, and finished that match with four wickets, including dismissing AB de Villiers in both innings.
Bumrah showed signs of learning in that match, improving vastly from the first innings to the second, mainly by shortening his length. He’d conceded 73 runs for De Villiers’ wicket in the first innings - which proved costly ultimately - and in the second, in picking up three wickets, he went for just 39 runs. .
“We are not focusing on the result, because if we do, we lift away too far from our plans,” said Bumrah.
The Indian team had their first net session at SuperSport Park on Thursday morning, and there is plenty of speculation about the make up of the starting team for the second Test that starts on Saturday.
In fact Bumrah, despite his excellent performance in the first Test, may find himself sacrificed if India aim to strengthen their batting by adding Ajinkya Rahane or if Ishant Sharma’s ability to extract extra bounce is deemed a better option.
“There seems to be a good amount of bounce based on what we saw in the nets,” remarked Bumrah. “We were focused on the lengths we wanted to bowl,” he said about Thursday's training stint.
India, despite all the pre-series talk about this being their best opportunity to win in South Africa, weren’t overly disappointed about the loss at Newlands with skipper Virat Kohli adopting a reasonably philosophical attitude.
It is one Bumrah appreciates.
“My basic motto is not to get too excited after some success, or get too down when things are tough but take the confidence from the previous match and move forward,” he said.
There was enough to please India about their performance in that first Test, but also several areas that could be improved.
Whether those improvements will occur as a result of personnel changes, only the next 48 hours will tell.