IND vs SA | Will reconsider team combination going into Pune Test, says Faf du Plessis
South African skipper has asserted that the team management will look into the team combination heading into the second Test in Pune on October 10. In Visakhapatnam, the Proteas went in with two pacers and three spinners, a move which backfired with the spinners not being able to dictate the game.
On the morning of the first Test in Vizag, eyebrows were raised when Faf du Plessis revealed South Africa's playing XI. They had gone into the match with not one, not two, but three spinners, while only having the services of Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada in the pace department. With the pitch nowhere close to being a dustbowl, the move eventually backfired, with both Keshav Maharaj and Dane Piedt failing to get any control and the Indian openers latching onto them.
However, despite their shortcomings in the first Test, the Proteas skipper was still unsure if an extra pace bowling option would have made a significant difference. Now, heading into the Pune Test, du Plessis has stated that the management will have a look into the team combination and might very well mix it up depending on the conditions.
"It was difficult to try and slow the game down, obviously bowling a lot of spin. Whether an extra seamer would have made a difference, I am not sure if it would have," du Plessis told in the post-match press conference, reported Cricbuzz.
"Definitely day five, we saw that there was huge value in the seam. Obviously the up and down. But that is something for us to consider now moving into the next Test match. Whatever we feel is our best opportunity in getting 20 wickets because that's what you need to win Test matches and obviously we couldn't do in this Test match, couldn't bowl them out. That's something we will definitely look at and see how we can counter that," he added.
Despite folding in the second innings, the South African batters gave a good account of themselves in the first, amassing 431 runs in reply to India's 502. Du Plessis revealed that he was proud of his batsmen for the grit and courage they showed but admitted that Rohit Sharma's blistering century in the second innings took the game away from them.
"Really proud of the first innings, the way we batted. There was an opportunity for us to go the other way and we didn't. We played really well, senior players put their hands up in Quinny [de Kock] and Dean getting fantastic hundreds and to get 400 in the sub-continent is never anything easy to do. The way we responded, it was brilliant.
"There were a few half-chances [in the second innings] that didn't go our way and that's sort of where the game slipped away. We tried to stay in the fight, stay in the contest. But the way Rohit played, especially in that second innings, made it tough for us," the Proteas skipper explained.
One of the major silver linings for South Africa in the Vizag Test was the performance of newbie Senuran Muthusamy. Initially picked for his bowling ability, Muthusamy surprisingly displayed impeccable skill with the bat, showing immense grit and patience against the spinners. He eventually ended up with scores of 33* and 49* and skipper du Plessis had nothing but words of praise for the youngster and revealed that it would be impossible to now leave him out of the side.
"He played unbelievably well. You could see that technically he is very sound against spin which is something he has worked really hard on. I haven't seen much of him personally over my career but great to see that he offers us balance. Obviously bowls a bit as well, so it helps," he said of Muthusamy.
"Batted with real maturity and both innings. He still hasn't been out in Test cricket. Making it hard for us not to look at him, even leaving him out in the second Test. He is putting up the numbers on the scoreboard, which is what we want. It's not easy to get runs and he showed that he has got the technique to get through the challenging spin conditions. That's a huge attribute to have for this Test series," he added.