20's and 30's were not enough on this track, says Kohli

20's and 30's were not enough on this track, says Kohli

South Africa defeated India by 72 runs in the first match of the three-Test series despite losing Steyn to injury in the second inning.

Skipper Virat Kohli (28) made an effort to salvage the innings, but he too failed to convert his good start into a big score and fell cheaply, further reducing the total to 82-7. Instead, he put the blame on his batsmen for not being able to string together partnerships in their pursuit of 208 on the fourth day. But I think we let ourselves down with the bat.

India removed eight South African batsmen for just 65 runs in the first session, with South Africa's own collapse in the morning forcing injured fast bowler Steyn to come out to bat to try to prolong the innings.

"Taking 20 wickets to win a Test match is the priority. We felt we could chase 208, it felt very realistic but again we needed someone to go out there and get 75 or 80 and not 25 or 30 runs, wanted a big partnership". I knew that the new ball was going to be key for us and that if we could get wickets with the new ball we feel like we can get through their batting line-up.

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India is ranked No. 1 in tests by a wide margin after nine straight series wins, but only one of those series victories came outside Asia. "If you are not getting close to their total, it doesn't matter if you have taken 20 wickets or not. We needed to bat better than what we did", Kohli didn't beat around the bush after yet another humiliating defeat outside the sub-continent. If we had taken our chances in the first innings, even after them counter-attacking, we could have kept them to 220 which would have been ideal. "We needed to show more character with the bat there is no question about it", he added. "The pitch was outstanding". We were in the game for the three days and it was a wonderful match to be part of. I think it's a great way to start the series.

South Africa are hosting India in a three-test series this month, with matches to come in Pretoria, starting on Saturday, and Johannesburg. Look, these things can always be looked at in hindsight. "But we made a decision to go with that combination and current form was definitely the criterion". At the same time we need to have intent because the kind of bowling attack they have, especially on these pitches they get extra bounce and they get extra pace off the wicket so you can't even be in a zone of not having intent and see off 35-40 overs. "Mohammed Shami bowled his heart out, Bhuvi was good as well and not having done the job, they will also be gutted about it", the disappointment was palpable in skipper's voice. At the same time, they know that they can repeat that performance, and if we get a lively wicket again we can exploit those conditions.

Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram got off to a good start, but Hardik Pandya who was having an incredible day, got 2 late wickets to send both the openers back by the end of Day 2.