The Indian cricket team put on a dominant performance in the Test series against South Africa. Rohit Sharma capitalised on his new life as an opener by smashing twin centuries in Vizag and a maiden double ton in Ranchi. Virat Kohli notched up his highest individual score in the Pune Test while centuries from Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane made the Indian batting intimidating. Crucial contributions from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja ensured South Africa never took 20 wickets in all the three Tests. Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, has likened his team's batsmen to a Ferrari car.
"Our batting is pretty much like a Ferrari taking off. Ajinkya Rahane was always there. He just needed to rediscover himself. When you need to open in Tests, you might get out in the first 10 balls. But Rohit did well to hang in there for the first two hours. And things changed after lunch for him to take advantage of that. The job satisfaction that an opener gets is wonderful. You have a captain who leads with example and gets a double hundred. You have Pujara chipping in, you have Rahane scoring the runs in the middle order," Shastri said.
Focus on taking 20 wickets
Shastri's compliment for the batsmen, though, did not take away the core focus of the Indian cricket team which was to take 20 wickets irrespective of the conditions. The pitches in the current series against South Africa helped both the pacers and the spinners, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja complimented well by Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.
"We had a wish that we could take pitch out of the equation. 'Bhaad me gaya pitch' (to hell with the pitches). Whether it’s Johannesburg or Melbourne or Mumbai, we want to take the pitch out of the equation. We always wanted to take 20 wickets irrespective of where we were playing. We are just focussed on taking 20 wickets. Normally, in India you have two players hogging the limelight. But here you have 6 or 7 chipping in," Shastri said.
Shastri complimented Shahbaz Nadeem, the debutant who made a good impression in the Ranchi Test. Nadeem's first wicket of Temba Bavuma was hailed by former India spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi and his four wickets in the match was an impressive return after slogging away in the past decade in domestic cricket.
"Extremely impressed with Nadeem. He comes over the top and has a great wrist position. The guy has put in the yards at the domestic level and am glad he finally had his chance at his home ground. He had no nerves and bowled three maidens on the trot," Shastri said.