Bhuvneshwar: 'Could have been better had we got de Villiers early'

Bhuvneshwar Kumar felt the 25-30 extra runs conceded by the Indian batsmen to the South African tail could have been avoided.

Dale Steyn looks on as Bhuvneshwar Kumar unsuccessfully appeals in Cape Town on Friday.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar felt the 25-30 extra runs conceded by the Indian batsmen to the South African tail could have been avoided.

The Indian paceman, whose four-wicket haul was the highlight for the side on day one here, was candid when he said, “We need to bat well tomorrow, stay at the wicket for long periods.”

Bhuvneshwar added, “But I would say things are even on the first day. It could have been better for us had we got AB de Villiers out early. He counter-attacked, took the game away from us, even if not completely.”

The Uttar Pradesh paceman said he enjoyed bowling on the track here. “We like to play Test cricket in these conditions.” 

Bhuvneshwar said the rate at which South Africa scored was a point of concern for the Indian team. “They were scoring at over four runs an over and, during breaks, we discussed ways to slow down the rate of scoring.”

READ: South Africa puts the pressure back on India

South African batting coach Dale Benkenstein said the ‘sending off’ that India captain Virat Kohli gave to his South African counterpart Faf du Plessis after his dismissal – the umpires had a word with Kohli subsequently – did not really concern the home team.

He was all praise for AB de Villiers’ scintillating half century. “The genius of his batting changed the game, made the bowlers alter their length. Skipper du Plessis batted with tenacity. The conditions for batting were tough.”

Benkenstein noted the decision to bat was not an easy one. “We looked at the over-head conditions and the possibility of the pitch becoming quicker as it became drier. We had to bat through difficult early conditions.”

Calling Dale Steyn “a huge weapon for South Africa,” Benkenstein said, “He bowled beautifully. The pace was there with the new ball. The mental part of the overs he bowled today will be huge for Steyn going into the series.”

Benkenstein said runs from the tail always helped in these conditions. “They give us a bit of a cushion.”