Mohammed Shami got the key wickets of Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock as India stormed to a win in the Vizag Test. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were expected to run through the South Africa batting line-up on a wearing pitch in Vizag. Ashwin picked up 7/145 in the first innings while Jadeja picked up 4/87 in the second innings as India romped home to a 203-run win against the Proteas in Vizag. However, it was the exploits of Mohammed Shami in the second innings that put India on course for a win. Shami picked up 5/35 and put up a devastating display of bowling on the final day in which he picked up Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock.
Kohli hailed the performance of the pacers and added that their contributions on spinning tracks made a huge difference to the team. "It's all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn't justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100 percent. That's when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Jasprit and Umesh as well doing well. It's all about wanting to make a play for the team even in conditions that are difficult," Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
Kohli conceded that the bowlers had a tough game due the slowness of the track, the SG balls not giving any assistance after 40 overs and due to the humid conditions in Vizag, which made life difficult for the players. "Bowlers had it tougher in this game. This lot of SG balls is much better than the last one. If it softens up, there's literally nothing happening after 40-45 overs. Will still like it to be harder till about 60 overs," Kohli said.
The Indian cricket team skipper said there were batting heroes and hailed Mayank Agarwal, who smashed his maiden double century and shared an opening partnership of 317 with Rohit Sharma, who himself hit two centuries as an opener and won the Man of the Match.
"We lost a session. When you put 500 on the board, you're always ahead. Even with the fight they showed, we still had a lead. Rohit was outstanding. Mayank brilliant. It was a hard grind because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions," Kohli said.
This was Kohli's 29th victory as Test captain and India won their third straight match in the World Test Championship. The second match will take place in Pune on October 10 while the final match will take place in Ranchi.