Virat Kohli: Players lived up to their strengths

The India captain praises Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal and the bowlers for their performance in the first Test against South Africa.

Rohit Sharma (right) and Mayank Agarwal scored 525 runs between them in the Test.   -  K. R. Deepak

India captain Virat Kohli praised Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal and the bowlers for their performances after their team’s 203-run win in the first Test against South Africa on Sunday.

“When you put 500 on the board, you’re always ahead. Even with the fight they showed, we still had a lead. Rohit was outstanding. Mayank brilliant,” said Kohli in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“Shami has been a strike bowler in the second innings. All the guys lived up to their strengths,” he said.

Kohli felt the SG ball used for home Tests could be more profitable for bowlers if it stays hard longer. “Batting heroes were obvious. But bowlers had it tougher in this game. This lot of SG balls is much better than the last one. If it softens up, there’s literally nothing happening after 40-45 overs. Will still like it to be harder till about 60 overs,” he said.

‘All about the bowlers’

“It was a hard grind because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions. And the pitch slowed down too. It’s all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn’t justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100 per cent. That’s when you see guys like [Mohammed] Shami, Ishant [Sharma], Jasprit [Bumrah] and Umesh [Yadav] doing well as well,” he said.

The second Test of the three-match series starts on October 10, will be played in Pune.