The second Test between India and South Africa in Johannesburg saw some great battles as the hosts eventually came on top and won the contest by seven wickets. With this win, South Africa have bounced back in the three-match series as it stands even at 1-1.
KL Rahul, who was leading the Indian unit in the absence of Virat Kohli, lauded the opponent, stating they deserved the win. However, when asked to pick a factor behind India’s defeat, the stand-in skipper noted it was the first-inning total which cost the visitors the match.
Speaking after the conclusion of the match, Rahul said: “If I want to be harsh, the first innings total of 202 was at least 50-60 runs short, we should have scored more and put them under pressure.”
He reserved special praise for Shardul Thakur, who completed his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests and returned with career-best figures (7/61). Thakur picked a total of 8 wickets in the contest.
“Shardul has been superb for us, has won us a lot of games, he bowled well in the first innings and gave us a chance today as well.”
Meanwhile, the India opener also backed senior batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane and stated that the duo have always been performing for the side in the past few years.
The pair filled in with a crucial partnership in India’s second innings and went to hit their respective half-centuries. However, India failed to build on their and 100-plus stand for the third wicket and kept losing wicket at regular intervals before getting all-out on 266, thus leaving South Africa with a 240-run target.
“They have been great players for us (on Pujara and Rahane), have always done the job for us over the years, have been under the pump recently, but we believe Pujara and Rahane are our best middle-order players, to go out there, bat in that mindset and play such an innings. It’ll give them confidence and make them do even better in the next Test,” he added.