CAPE TOWN - India skipper Virat Kohli believes his team will bounce back after their demoralising 72-run loss to South Africa in the thrilling first Test at Newlands, despite the tour now moving up to the Highveld.
The surface in Cape Town offered the seam bowlers assistance throughout with 18 wickets falling on the fourth and final day – all to the pacemen. However, the pitches at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers – the venues for the second and third Test respectively – traditionally offer even more pace and bounce.
“Look, they had collapses too. Even in the first innings, if you take AB’s innings out, and Faf to an extent, the batting hasn’t clicked for them either. We felt we were in the game as well throughout,” Kohli said.
“I think if we get a lively wicket again, we will really exploit those conditions. If we apply ourselves, we will give ourselves a chance to have a crack at the result, which was there in this game also. Not having got the job done hurts, and it should hurt because that’s the only way you can rectify the mistakes and come out with more motivation in the next match.”
India certainly had a chance to pull off a historic win after bowling South Africa out for 130 in their second innings. This left the tourists a target of 208, which ultimately proved too much with Vernon Philander claiming 6/44 to propel the home side to victory.
Philander claimed the final three Indian wickets in just four balls which hastened the collapse.
“Losing wickets in bunches never helps winning Tests or consolidating your position,” Kohli said. “Getting them out for 130, 208 felt chaseable, felt very realistic; but again, we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80, and not 20-25-30 runs.
"We wanted one big partnership to get the job done, which we failed to do and again we lost four wickets in four overs. If you do that, it is very tough for you to come back and win Test matches.”
The Indian skipper also didn't make any excuses about the pitch, and in fact was delighted to be part of the drama that unfolded at Newlands over the four days.
"The pitch was outstanding. I really liked the kind of wicket this was. I think it was great for Test cricket and definitely getting a result in four days despite losing a day’s play, and not one sided, both sides were in it at different stages, so I think as a team we really enjoyed being part of this Test match and so did South Africa. I think it’s a great way to start the series,” he added.