Indian players are congratulated by the South African team after winning the first Test match in Visakhapatnam yesterday. Photo: IANS

South Africa may resist the temptation to boost their attack with an extra fast bowler for the second Test against India, according to captain Faf du Plessis.

The visitors employed three spinners in the first Test in Visakhapatnam, but claimed only 11 Indian wickets to slump to a 203-run defeat. Neither one of Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt or debutant Senuran Muthusamy offered the type of control Du Plessis was seeking which allowed the Indian batsmen to score freely, particularly in the second innings when Rohit Sharma took the game away from the visitors with his second century of the Test.

There has been speculation that the Proteas may turn to the pace of either Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje for this week’s second Test in Pune at the expense of one of the spinners, but Du Plessis believes it is not a foregone conclusion.

“If we leave out an all-rounder then our batting becomes weaker, if we play an extra batter when we don’t have enough bowling resources. Someone like Keshav can bowl a lot of overs so he can block up an end the whole day, similar to what Ravichandran Ashwin does with India,” Du Plessis said.

“It’s about finding the balance, which is our best wicket-taking options. But also, you definitely need to have one element of control in the sub-continent. You can’t just have guys running and bowl in fast but not hitting the stumps consistently. Those are the conversation that we will have.”

The selectors’ decision to hand Muthusamy a Test debut in Visakhapatnam initially raised a few eye-brows, but the KwaZulu-Natal all-rounder certainly showed showed his worth. He occupied the crease for a lengthy period in both innings scoring 33 and 49 without being dismissed in the Test. Muthusamy also had India captain Virat Kohli caught and bowled in the first innings.

“He batted with real maturity in both innings and is making it hard for us to leave him out of the second Test. He is putting the numbers on the scoreboard which is what we want,” Du Plessis said.

“You can see technically he is very sound against spin which is something he has worked really hard on. Obviously he bowls a bit as well so that helps. Batting in that number seven or eight position is always something we are looking for as a team.”

Further selection permutations may see Cape Cobras batsman Zubayr Hamza recalled for Theunis de Bruyn after the Titans right-hander struggled in both innings last week. Hamza made his Test debut last season against Pakistan at the Wanderers. 


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