“Absolutely, cricket has won,” said Virat Kohli, while nodding his head in disbelief after the first Test threw up a cracker, albeit ending in a draw.
Asked about the way fortunes swung and both teams ending up on the same shore, Kohli said: “The way this Test match has been played over the last four days, it was pretty competitive with both teams coming back strongly in one session or the other; it was a fair finish.”
Kohli said that the Test revealed the character of the Indian team. “The guys have showed character throughout and if you see the first innings, we showed character with bat and ball. Then we played brilliantly in the second innings, we dominated four days of the Test match and then in the end, they played well and it almost went their way and that’s how cricket goes sometimes,” Kohli said.
The ‘man of the match’ praised A.B. de Villiers and Faf du Plessis and said their brilliance undid the good work of the Indian bowlers.
“I think we bowled well, but we got to accept that the two batted brilliantly. They showed a lot of character and that is why they are the No.1 side in the world. It is not easy to defeat them in a Test match, you have to fight it out and it was totally the brilliance of their batting and I don’t think we bowled badly at all,” Kohli said.
Kohli also expressed surprise at the way the South Africans played it safe in the final overs.
“Everyone was pretty shocked honestly, we didn’t think that they would stop going for the score because with eight runs an over and with (Vernon) Philander striking the ball pretty well, and he can bat, we have seen that in the past, I don’t know what happened,” Kohli said.
Meanwhile, du Plessis said that the finish was apt given the context. “No one gave us a chance in the morning, but we did well to get back, and once the wickets fell, we had to go for a draw,” the South African said, besides pointing out that he drew inspiration from an earlier fightback against Australia at Adelaide.
Later, Proteas skipper Graeme Smith said that the decision to bat time and save the game was entirely made by Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn.Abbott in squad
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott was drafted into the South Africa squad ahead of the second Test commencing at Durban on December 26. It may be recalled that Morne Morkel is nursing an ankle strain and is a doubtful starter for the key game.