South Africa’s top-order batsman Temba Bavuma, who was dismissed by Indian pacer Mohammad Shami after scoring mere eight runs during day three of the second Test, can feel his ego somewhat dented after the team’s lower-order performed better on the Pune pitch on Saturday (October 12).
Bowlers Keshav Maharaj (72) and Vernon Philander (44 not out) with their 109-run stand for the ninth wicket in South Africa’s 275 all-out reply to India’s huge 601/5 declared first innings showed that there were no demons on the track.
South Africa’s lower-order cricketers paved way for the squad to cross the 250-run mark after the established players came to a cropper within 170 runs.
“Look, from the guys at the top of the order, entrusted with scoring the bulk of the runs, it does kind of hurt. It does dent your ego when they (lower-order) seem to know how to go out and fight it out to do what you’re really playing to do,” Bavuma, who has not had a great series, said at the end of the third days play.
The positive aspect of the South African first essay was the fact that the pitch has remained firm and is still good for batting.
“I think looking forward to the second innings, there is a lot of confidence we can take in from the fact that it is not all demons out there. We just got to find a way to dominate with the bat just as India have done so,” said the pint-sized right-hander.
Bavuma failed to pinpoint why South Africa’s top-order save Dean Elgar in the first Test has consistently failed in three successive innings.
“I don’t have the answers to why it is going wrong. The obvious one is that we’re not able to put up partnerships. We have not been able to absorb and sustain the pressure that Indian bowlers have put on us for consistent periods of time. That is obviously something we will try to rectify,” he added.
He revealed that interim coach Enoch Nkwe did an honest assessment of the sides batting show.
“We had an honest and truthful chat with the coach. He gave us his true feelings, his true thoughts on our effort on the last two days. He was really critical of our effort. Basically he said all that has happened we have got to find a way,” he pointed.
Bavuma tried to put up a brave face when he said that this South African team is not here to make up numbers but compete hard.
“We have not come to India to lose. We have not necessarily come to India to learn. We have come to India to compete and win. That is what our goal is,” Bavuma said, trying to be optimistic.
“Yes, we have not done it in the first Test. We have not been able to do it here in the first two and a half days, but there is an opportunity to do it going forward. Like I said, there is a responsibility for us to stake our claim and do everyone justice,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)