Hailing the technique and mental approach of the Indian batsmen in the first Test, former South African captain Kepler Wessels said the visitors are expected to continue their “brilliant” show in the second match, starting Thursday in Durban.
“They were brilliant, just brilliant in the first Test. There was a lot of talk before the series and both the Indian batsmen and bowlers were able to top that in this match with their performance on the field,” Wessels, who also played ODI cricket for Australia, said.
He was referring to ‘scared’ and ‘scarred’, two terms often used in the build-up to this Test series by the Proteas, in particular by their limited-overs captain A.B. de Villiers and their premier fast bowler Dale Steyn during the preceding three-match ODI series. In particular, Virat Kohli was the target for the latter, having been bruised by a Morne Morkel delivery in the first ODI, also at Johannesburg.
Kohli then replied with 215 runs in two innings, scoring 119 and 96 respectively. His positive attitude perhaps rubbed off on the other batsmen as well, with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 153 runs in the second innings.
“The technique displayed by the Indian batsmen was just brilliant. They were excellent. Leaving the ball was a key feature of their innings. Their mental approach in building the innings and the way almost all of them went about constructing the innings, on both occasions, was quite something,” said Wessels.
Both sides were in a winning position at different moments on day five. It was a Test match that went through more ups and downs than a roller-coaster ride. The match was drawn with eight runs and three wickets in the balance, and is already being celebrated as the greatest drawn Test match ever.