CAPE TOWN – AB de Villiers has admitted that India “were all over us” in the first session of play of the first Test at Newlands.
South Africa were reeling at 7/2 when De Villiers walked to the crease, and slipped further into the quagmire when Hashim Amla was dismissed shortly afterwards to leave the home at a precarious 12/3.
But it was through De Villiers’s brilliance and captain Faf du Plessis’s tenacity that South Africa recovered with the pair sharing a 114-run partnership for the fourth wicket. South Africa’s senior batsmen both hit half centuries to push the Proteas to a credible 286 all out.
“It was really tough out there in the first hour. There were lots of plays and misses. India were all over us It felt like there was always a delivery with your name on it. But Faf also played really well which helped us to get up to a good total,” De Villiers told SABC before the start of the second day’s play.
De Villiers, who is only playing his second Test since returning from a two-year absence, played the type of counter-attacking innings that Newlands patrons will be talking about for years. He attacked India’s premier bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had picked up all three early wickets to fall, with disdain by smashing the right-arm seamer for four consecutive boundaries.
Equally, the innings had greater gravitas for the pitch was green-tinged and the ball was seaming all over the place.
“I was looking to be positive, and I think I bat better when I am trying to score because I get into good positions. My gameplan was to play with a positive mindset. I think it was the same with Faf. He also tried to be positive,” De Villiers said.
South Africa’s four-pronged pace attack were certainly grateful their batsmen gave them something to bowl at in the 11 overs delivered on Friday evening. It was enough for Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to pick up a wicket apiece, which included the big one of Indian captain Virat Kohli.
“It actually didn’t do that much last night, and I thought there were actually some soft dismissals by the Indian batsmen. They played loose shots at wide balls,” he said.