SA vs INDIA 2nd TEST Rohit Sharma Cape Town win ‘right up there’ with Gabba


India captain Rohit Sharma has put the team’s maiden Test win at Cape Town, coming back an innings defeat in Centurion, right up there with the Gabba Test win in 2020-21. That Brisbane win sealed a miraculous series win in Australia, this one drew the two-Test series.

“It’ll be one of our best Test match victories,” Rohit said after India’s seven-wicket win in just five sessions, the shortest Test ever played. “Having not won here in Cape Town [before], obviously this puts it right up there with all the victories that we’ve had. It’s very hard to compare the Test matches that you play because every Test match has its own importance and own relevance. The Test match that we won at The Gabba as well. The last test match that was lost by Australia in Brisbane was in 1988, I think. Nearly after 23, 24 years [32 years] we won the Test match there. It kind of became like their fortress. They never lose a test match there.

“And the way we won that Test match as well was quite important. From where we came, we were 1-nil down, we won in Melbourne and then we drew the Test match in Sydney and then won in Brisbane. So you can’t really rank the Test matches, but this has to be right up there because we had not won here. That shows how important a venue this is for us to come here and perform. I give a lot of credit to our team to put up a performance like that and win the game.”

Rohit spoke about the importance of judging the conditions and then sticking to their game plan. “We knew it was not gonna be a high-scoring game,” Rohit said. “So all we wanted to do was stay disciplined in how we bowl, not get ahead of ourselves and try and do too many things. Once we got them all out for 55, we spoke to the batters that we needed small contributions in this game.

“It was not gonna be an easy pitch to bat on. So how much ever you can try and score, apply yourself, get hit on your body, it’s fine, but just go and put yourself ahead. If you have to take a blow, be ready for it. That’s something that we spoke of. To be honest, the top four or five batters showed a lot of grit. We knew that the first-innings lead here was going to be crucial.

“Never thought we would lose six wickets for no runs. Little disappointing, but again that happens. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, they spearheaded our bowling attack. They put the ball in the right areas and let the pitch do the rest, and they got rewarded for it.”

Rohit: Any target on that pitch ‘challenging’

India came to the second day 36 ahead with three South African second-innings wickets down already, but Rohit said they needed to be on top of their game to convert that advantage into a win. “Any score to get on that pitch was going to be challenging,” Rohit said. “Yashasvi Jaiswal actually played quite freely. It is something that we discussed when we went to bat that we want to take the bowlers on. If the ball is in an area, we need to put it where it’s supposed to go.

“When we came up here today, if we didn’t show up properly there was a good chance that they might get enough runs on the board. Luckily, we started off really well getting that first wicket in the first over. Then we had some plans to get Aiden Markram out, but he played a superb innings to get that hundred.

“But again, Bumrah, we know his class, we know his quality, got six wickets for us in this innings, and put us ahead in the game a little bit.”

Rohit gave his vote of trust to the young batters who might’ve found it tough on their first trip to South Africa. “Especially in this country, we know batting is very difficult,” Rohit said. “Especially when you play on pitches like that, obviously it’s tough. You’ve gotta show a lot of faith. You’ve gotta show a lot of trust. And especially in the guys who have come here for the first time, uh, you know, Shubman Gill, Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer.

“It’s important to give them that confidence and allow them to play their game as well. And that is something we discussed before the start of the Test series, that we want to allow them to play the way they want to play. And while doing that, it may not come off because they all are naturally quite aggressive in how they want to play.

“They can learn a lot from these two games as to what is required when the pitches are like that. When it is slightly challenging. It is swinging. There is a lot of lateral movement, and especially with the guys who are bowling from a little bit of height as well. They must have learned a lot from the series, and they can take a fair bit of confidence fas well. Although they didn’t get big runs, I think that’s okay.”

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