Ottis Gibson has expressed his disappointment over the performance of the South African batsmen who failed to perform against the Indian bowling attack. The South African coach, however, didn't mince words to praise the "experienced" Indian top-order batsmen for their spectacular show.
The fifth ODI of the India-South Africa series was played in Port Elizabeth where the visitors not only won the match by 73 runs but also recorded their first-ever series victory on the South African soil with one match to go. After winning the toss, the Proteas took the field and with the help of Rohit Sharma’s century, Team India scored 274 runs, but in response, seven batsmen failed to touch the double-digit mark and that resulted in yet another loss. The South African coach Gibson lashed out the way the home team players performed in the all-important game.
“You want to have a group of players who can adapt to certain conditions and play accordingly. We know we have those players but they haven’t produced it in this series, which is disappointing. The way we have played as a group at certain times has been disappointing but especially tonight because there was still a lot to play for in the series,” Gibson said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“I thought at the halfway stage we gave ourselves a very good chance to keep ourselves in the series. We came this afternoon very optimistic that the series was still there to be drawn. To bowl them out for 270-odd was a great effort from the bowlers, and we let ourselves down with the bat. There’s not a lot more to say than that. It’s something we have been talking about for five games now. We showed at the Wanderers that we can play better than we have done, but tonight was disappointing.”
While chasing the target of 275 runs which can’t be considered as a very big total, Hashim Amla and Markram forged a 52-run partnership. When the hosts were heading towards a stable position, Jasprit Bumrah, who is in the third position in the highest wicket-taker list of the series after five ODIs, gave the much-needed breakthrough to the Indian cricket team. Hardik Pandya, who failed to perform with the bat, sent the hosts on the back foot by dismissing JP Duminy and AB de Villiers very cheaply. After Amla was ran-out, it was just a matter of time for the Indian side to seal the series, but Heinrich Klaasen delayed the inevitable for some more overs.
“To be fair we were 50 for none and we lost a wicket with four balls to go in the PowerPlay to their best bowler. Bumrah has been their fast bowler all summer. We lost a couple more shortly thereafter and that set us back. Hash worked really hard to try and rebuild but every time we rebuilt we lost wickets. With the four bowlers, we needed our best six or seven batsmen to bat the bulk of the overs and they weren’t able to do that tonight,” he added.
After playing the first two Tests of the series, Rohit Sharma got a chance to play in the ODI games but he failed to prove his value as in the first four matches and managed to score only 40 runs. But in the penultimate ODI of the series, he got the Man of the Match award for his 115-run knock. The top three position of the highest run-scorer list is grabbed by the Indian batsmen and interestingly, all the three are the top-order batsman as Virat Kohli led the chart with 429 runs after five games, followed by Shikhar Dhawan who scored 305 runs and Rohit with 155. And Gibson said that that made the difference in the series.
“The Indian top order is very experienced and they’ve played well. They’ve seen off the new ball or been able to score freely. We haven’t been able to hold the length very well. I keep saying to the bowlers that in order to control the scoring rate you have to control your length. Otherwise, you can’t stop batsmen from scoring, and we’ve not been able to control length as well as we should be doing at this level and that’s allowed them to score quite freely at times.
“We succumbed quite easily tonight, to be bowled out in 42 overs is very disappointing from a batting point of view. Even with the bowling, there were some soft boundaries, which has gone on the whole series. So just a bit more fight with the bat,” Gibson said.