Mohammed Shami has expressed his views over the Centurion pitch and claimed that the Indians were surprised after watching a low and slow nature pitch in overseas conditions. He has talked about their game plan for the fourth day and said the team was looking to give away as few runs as possible.
On Day 4, the hosts started adding runs in their last day score which was 90/2 thanks to Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah's loose bowling at the start of the session. After Ishant and Bumrah, Virat Kohli put Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin on the attack in the search of a much-needed breakthrough and it was the former who got day’s first wicket in the form of AB de Villiers who contributed 80 runs to the total tally.
After the end of the fourth day of the second Test, the Indian pacer admitted that he was surprised by the nature of the pitch.
"The wicket has been slow since the beginning, even on the first day you saw that it is going low continuously. And even today, it went slow and low and you needed a lot of extra effort. We tried to give 110-120 percent. That was more important for us, I did not expect the ball would stay so low
After de Villiers, Shami helped the team in getting rid off Dean Elgar who completed his half-century. Next, he targeted Quinton de Kock who scored 12 runs with the help of edged three boundaries in the same over before nicking one back to Parthiv on the fourth ball and Kagiso Rabada became his last prey of the day which helped the visitors to wrap South Africa’s second innings at 258 runs.
"It depends on the captain when he wants to bowl which bowler. It also depends on the conditions. I bowled before lunch so I could not bowl immediately. So the captain is also thinking that we should bowl with rotation. The plan was that whenever I will get chance I will come to bowl, There are some stages in front of you that you want to bowl more but the captain thinks that we should get them out quickly. So you cannot mind that, but yes, sometimes you do feel inside that maybe I could have got five wickets. But if you see from team's point of view, you will not feel like this" said Shami.
The second game of the series was considered as the important clash for Team India as it was their last chance to break Australia's record of consecutive series wins. Despite that, the team has performed well below expectations on the fielding front failing to convert catches into wickets especially in the slip cordon.
"When you make a unit and get 15 guys to play for the country then you should have self-belief, and mix up with each other so that this is our best and we will make him stand in slips. It is part of the game that you will drop some catches but we are not robots or machines that we will catch all of them. We can only try and then the rest is dependent on luck," he said.
After stopping the Proteas at 258, India got a target of 287 to win the game. In response, they managed only 35 runs while losing three wickets including both openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul and the Indian skipper Kohli who scored a valuable century in the first innings.
"About the result, we have stopped them at a very good target and the rest is about luck."
In South Africa’s second innings, the Indian bowling department tried to control the flow of run restricting the South African run rate to 2.81. The Indian pacer also said that the team looked to attack right from very first ball and they wanted to give away a few runs as possible.
"Today, the whole day, we were looking to give away as few runs as possible and we wanted to attack them fully. We went all out on attack and gave away
"For any bowler, it is a lot of frustration when the fielder is there and edges are coming, what you want is happening but the batsman isn't getting out. So there is a little frustration mentally but you need to be mentally strong at that stage and how long you can persist with it, that is more important. Like Quinton de Kock got three boundaries on three consecutive good balls, but I did the same again and I got