Centurion – South Africa coach Shukri Conrad revealed his frustration on Thursday over his players being under-rated following an innings-and-32-run win over number one ranked India in the first Test in Centurion.
With opening batsman Dean Elgar, who will retire after the two-Test series, scoring 185 and Marco Jansen making a career-best 84 not out, South Africa took their first innings score to 408 for a 163-run lead on the third day.
Their pacemen then bundled India out for just 131 in 34.1 overs, with only Virat Kohli (76) resisting their surge to victory.
Left-arm quick Nandre Burger took four for 33, giving him seven wickets on his debut, while fellow left-armer Marco Jansen took three for 36 and first-innings hero Kagiso Rabada grabbed two for 32 to add to his five first-day wickets.
“This win was massive for us and what makes it bigger is that it makes sure India have never beaten us in a Test series here,” Conrad told reporters.
“We know what a quality side India are, but we also know what we are,” the coach said after South Africa’s first innings win over India since 2010 at the same venue.
“We are a brilliant team at home and we have really gelled as a unit. A lot of the time that has been about freeing the guys up, allowing them to be the best versions of themselves.
“People have questioned whether South Africa still produce good players and we have shown that we do.
“Sometimes I think we are too humble, raving about overseas players and not realising what we have.
‘Very upsetting loss’
“These guys are absolutely phenomenal. And we have put succession plans in place. You need a bit of luck and things will fall into place,” Conrad said.
South Africa have won three Tests in a row following his appointment as red-ball national coach at the start of the year, ending a five-match winless streak.
India captain Rohit Sharma described the defeat as “a very upsetting loss” and said it was the mentality of the players that separated the wheat from the chaff at Test level.
“Obviously there was a lot we did not do right. We have some inexperienced players and it is all about mental preparation and your plans.
“Even in terms of technique, it comes down to players’ individual plans against certain bowlers.
“KL Rahul was the perfect example in his first-innings hundred of showing intent and respecting the conditions. He had a strike-rate of 70-odd and he put the bad balls away.
“But we cannot just come in and swing our bats, it was not the conditions for that. There is a thin line between intent and discipline, and the players need to show that extra bit of temperament too.
“You cannot just have one mindset of ‘this is how I bat’, you must adapt.
“Jasprit Bumrah bowled well, but all he wanted was a bit of support at the other end, which he did not get.
“Hopefully this will teach us a lot about what we need to do as a bowling group,” Rohit said.
The second and final Test in the series begins on Wednesday at Newlands in Cape Town.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com