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IND vs SA | We played the pressure moments pretty well, opines Mark Boucher

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Mark Boucher believes that handling the pressure moments well helped South Africa win series

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IND vs SA | We played the pressure moments pretty well, opines Mark Boucher

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SportsCafe Desk

01/15/2022

South Africa head coach Mark Boucher has opined that the team played the pressure moments really well after they won three match Test series against India by 2-1. He also added that a lot of people had written them off after the first day of the Test series but they bounced back to win the series.

South Africa won the third Test of the three match series against India by seven wickets winning the series by 2-1. The hosts lost the opening Test and it was looking like the team was struggling for form after the series opener. However, they bounced back to win the remaining two fixture shattering the dream of visitors to earn a miden series win. 

The pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen bowled superbly throughout the series. In batting, Keegan Petersen might be the new find for the team with his solid technique. Also, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma showed resistance with the bat. South Africa head coach Mark Boucher that the team played pressure moments pretty well which was crucial for series win. 

"If you've got fighters as leaders and they are prepared to show that with bat or ball, it's going to be the character of the team. It wasn't ideal losing the first match. We were a little bit undercooked, and that's through no fault of any of the players [who had a practice match cancelled due to pandemic reasons],” Boucher said in a virtual press conference. 

"We knew we were going to get better as the series got along. It's never nice playing from behind and playing under pressure. But we played the pressure moments pretty well. We are not winning all of them but when we lose a session, we are not losing it badly and that keeps us in the game."

India scored 272/3 on the first day of the first Test and that had tilted the match in favour of the visitors. The key contributions from Elgar, Bavuma and Petersen helped South Africa make a comeback. Boucher believes that the fighting spirit shown by captain Dean Elgar and vice-captain Temba Bavuma helped the team make a comeback.

 "When we lost that first session in the first Test [India were 83/0 at lunch], we lost it so badly, we couldn't get back into the game although we did try very hard. We probably lost too much in one session,” he explained. 

“Pulling it back from there was a tribute to the leadership. It doesn't surprise me. Dean is that sort of character, and he led from the front. You've got Temba - same sort of fighter, same spirit. When you've got two leaders like that, the guys are going to follow them. Both of them stood up with regards to their own games.”

Boucher also revealed that a lot of people had written his team off after day one of the Test series but they bounced back against a very strong opposition to win the series. 

"A lot of people had written us off after day one of the Test series. To come back, after losing the first day badly, and win the second Test and this Test - after losing all three tosses - puts these things into perspective about where this team is and where the Indian team” he revealed.  

"They are probably the best Test team in world cricket. This is something our boys won't take for granted. There are a couple of youngsters who have come through really nicely and they'll take a lot of confidence from this win, and not only the win but getting ourselves into good positions and winning games where it was hard, hard Test cricket."

South Africa were in need of 111 runs with eight wickets in hand going into the Day 4 of the Cape Town Test. South Africa handled the first session very well and Kegan Petersen led the charge playing a knock of 82 runs. Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma finished the match for the hosts building a winning partnership. Boucher revealed that not losing any wicket in the first hour was important for the team and both the batsmen batting at the crease ensured to keep their wickets safe. 

"When you're in the batting changeroom, the runs always seem a mile away. When you're in the fielding changeroom, you always feel like there are never quite enough," he stated.

"Getting through the first hour unscathed was very important; it just settled the changeroom. That first hour was exactly what we needed. I like the intensity the guys batted with. We went out saying we've got to look to score. As we saw in the second Test, once you start getting to 50, 60 required and you start upping the tempo, it's difficult as a bowling unit to slow the game down. It went according to plan today. It was a tense day but it's a day the guys will remember for how to win in tough situations."

Keegan Petersen was the find of the series for South Africa as he batted superbly and scored 276 runs from 6 innings with an average of 46 and was the highest run-scorer in the series. Boucher said that he is very happy for the way Petersen performed and is hopeful that he will get better and better

"Keegan has always shown signs of the batting we're seeing right now. He just stuck to his guns. He is in a good position having a guy like Dean next to him who really does back him. Batting at No. 3, you've got to be tough, you've got to know your game, you've got to be technically sound,” he elaborated.

“Hopefully he gets better and better. It's a very tough position to bat in, in South Africa, in our conditions. The way he has come through in this series, I am lost for words. In a big series like this, against big players, he was man-of-the-series. It's fully deserved and I am very, very happy for him."

The left-arm pacer, Marko Jansen was another youngster who impressed everyone with his bowling. He picked 19 wickets in three matches and was the second highest wicket-taker in the series. Boucher opined that the team has found a new superstar in Jansen at a young age. 

"We saw what he had in Pakistan [in January and February last year], he was with us in West Indies [in June and July]. It was just a matter of time before he came through. You can see the skillset that he's got. It's a variation that is hard to find in cricket these days,” he concluded.

“He didn't start off too well, but after that first day, we look at him now and everyone is looking saying what a find we've got. At 21, he has got a lot of cricket to learn. We've seen great signs with the bat as well. We've found a superstar in him as well, at a very young age.”

South Africa will now play a three match ODI series against South Africa from January 19.

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