Keshav Maharaj: Vernon Philander kept me in a good frame of mind

Keshav Maharaj, who scored a gritty 72 against India on day three of the second test in Pune, opened up on his 109-run partnership with Vernon Philander.

South Africa's Keshav Maharaj scored 72 runs off 132 balls, which included 12 fours, against India on day three of the second Test in Pune.   -  Twitter (@DelhiCapitals)

South African lower-order batsman Keshav Maharaj, who braved a sore shoulder to hit a gritty 72, said not going into a shell was key to his splendid rearguard action in the second Test against India in Pune.

Maharaj said his colleague Vernon Philander (44 not out) kept him in good frame of mind throughout. They shared a 109-run ninth wicket stand as South Africa made 275 in reply to India’s 601/5 declared on day three.

“Vernon and I said to ourselves that we’ll just get through to tea and see after that. Being a lower order batsman your fingers do itch to play a big shot but Vernon kept me in a good mind space,” Maharaj said after the third day’s play.

READ| Ashwin four-for gives India 326-run lead despite Maharaj, Philander fightback

“But I remained be positive, because if you go into your shell a ball with your name will come along sooner or later.”

Team India is now 326 runs ahead and has the option of enforcing a follow-on on the visitor.

Maharaj talked about the planning he had done with the support staff on how to bat against the Indian bowlers.

“I sat with Prasanna (analyst) last night and look at the gameplan for me going forward. I wanted to stay outside off stump to spin, I tried to stay legside of the ball for Jadeja. We saw Shami got the ball to reverse, and the wicket is deteriorating, but the longer you bat the easier it is.”

Asked about his shoulder, he said: “It (shoulder) is very sore. Yesterday I dived on it so lot of bruising. But hopefully I’ll be fine for the rest of the series. After a few pulls I felt normal.”