IND vs SA: Playing in India is tough, admits Faf du Plessis

The South Africa captain expresses disappointment at the manner of his team’s defeat. Consistency will be the focus from hereon, he says.

Another nail in the coffin: Faf du Plessis falls to a diving catch by Wriddhiman Saha on the fourth day.   -  Vivek Bendre

The disappointment was showing on Faf du Plessis’ face as he addressed the scribes on Sunday afternoon. His side had just been beaten by India by an innings and 137 runs in the second Test and the South Africa captain agreed that there were many questions that required answers.

“It definitely hurts. It is really tough to play cricket in India. But even with a lot of inexperience in our team, we never come here thinking that we are just going to roll over and out,” du Plessis said.

With some of the top cricketers having retired after the World Cup, the South African team is going through a transitional phase. Du Plessis admitted that from here on, consistency will be the team’s focus.

“With a very young team and a lot of new faces in our squad, consistency will be one of the things we will work towards. Inexperience and consistency probably comes hand in hand. May be, it took one big step forward in the first Test. In this Test match, we have not been consistent,” du Plessis said.

‘Disappointing’

In the subcontinent, it is important to bat consistently in both the innings and that’s where South Africa went wrong as its batsmen failed to fire. “The fact that we did not get 400-plus in that wicket — especially the way India batted — was always going to be a massive, massive mountain to climb after that. Obviously, you don’t mind losing to a team which is better than you, but I thought we weren’t even close to where we needed to be to try and compete,” du Plessis said.

With Dean Elgar scoring 150-plus runs in the first Test, the team did show intent. But in Pune, things went haywire. “In the first Test match, there were signs of that and with a team that’s in its infant stages of rebuilding, we will have to be patient with it and also when it comes to performance, you expect better because the standards the team requires you to do better. We have let ourselves down and it is disappointing going down the way we did,” he said.

‘Character test’

“There’s lots of questions that needs answers and the players need to put their hands up. Unfortunately, a series in India is tough. It’s a real, real character test and only you can find answers for yourself,” the captain added.

Read | Du Plessis: Markram should have opted for the DRS

With the team failing in the first innings, du Plessis brought himself at No. 4 in the batting order. Though that did not have an impact, du Plessis pointed that he will continue to bat at that position for a while now.

“I thought it was important for me to step up. The batting failed in the first innings and from the starting point of view, we have not started well. Every single innings, we have been in a position where we have been — 40 or 50 for three. It’s a vital component as how you start in the subcontinent. So, it was trying to find a better start and try and take responsibility and making sure that I step up,” the captain said, explaining the reason behind the decision.

“That’s a possibility that for now needs to be considered until we feel there is growth. That’s my learning from the previous years. As a batter when you are struggling, it is a difficult place to get out of. And perhaps it is a good opportunity to get some fresh heads into the team. Just from my mental point of view, it can be a place for you like, ‘where’s my next one (hundred) going to come from,’” he said.