India captain Virat Kohli credited openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal for setting up the base for India’s 113-run win over South Africa at SuperSport Park. He added that for him, pacer Mohammed Shami is one of the best three pacers in world cricket currently.
Rahul and Agarwal stitched an opening stand of 117 in the first innings total of 327, which was crucial in giving India a 130-run lead and kept them in pole position throughout the match.”
“The discipline that the batters showed. Winning the toss, batting first overseas is a tough challenge. Credit to Mayank and KL for the way they set it up. We knew we were in pole position with anything over 300-320,” said Kohli in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kohli was elated over India winning their first Test at a venue considered to be a fortress for South Africa.
“We got off to the perfect start (as) we wanted to. Getting the result in four days and have to understand one day was washed out — shows how well we played. It’s always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with bat, ball, and in the field.”
Kohli was firm in his belief that the Indian bowlers can get the 20 South African wickets needed to win the match — skittling the hosts out for less than 200 in both innings of the match despite Jasprit Bumrah being unavailable for a longish period in the first essay due to a sprained ankle.
“Knew the bowlers will do the job. Spoke about it in the change room — the fact he (Bumrah) didn’t bowl much in the first innings, it allowed South Africa to get around 40 more runs. Just the way these guys bowl together has been a hallmark of our team getting a result in difficult situations.”
The 33-year-old heaped praise on pacer Mohammed Shami, who registered match figures of 8/107, including 5/44 in the first innings and becoming the fifth Indian pacer to reach 200 Test wickets.
“Shami is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top three seam bowlers in the world for me. His strong wrist, his seam position, and his ability to hit a length consistently. Very, very happy for him to get 200 wickets and have impactful performances.”
Kohli signed off by expressing excitement overplaying the second Test at Wanderers in Johannesburg, a place where India won in 2018 and sparked the beginning of overseas domination by the visitors.
“Got so much confidence out of Johannesburg last time. It’s a ground we love playing at.”