Centurion — South Africa will weigh up several changes for the second Test against India next week, which might include shifting players around the batting order and bringing in new personnel.
The Proteas went down by 113 runs to Virat Kohli’s side on Thursday, to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the three match series.
One change to the Proteas starting team was confirmed before the series started, with Quinton de Kock leaving the squad to be by the side of his wife Sasha, for the birth of the couple’s first child. Kyle Verreynne will play the rest of the series.
Besides that, Proteas skipper Dean Elgar said he and the selectors would pore over what to do about the batting order and personnel. One was moving Keegan Petersen out of the no.3 spot. “We may potentially exercise that,” Elgar said in response to a question about easing the pressure on Petersen by shifting him down the order.
The diminutive right hander has a highest score of 19 from six innings, but has always come into bat before the second over has been completed. “He has come to the crease in relatively tough situations,” said Elgar.
“He’s had a rough start but it doesn’t reflect on him as a player. The stats at the moment don’t reflect his ability. I feel for him, he wants to make a play for us and is maybe a little bit anxious and as a leadership group we may have to give him a better opportunity to contribute from a run scoring perspective.”
Elgar acknowledged that he and Aiden Markram needed to improve their partnership in order to give Petersen a better chance to succeed. While both have performed competently as individuals this year, as a combination, their best partnership is only 67 and in the last six innings, they’ve scored no more than 4 for the first wicket. “We are very mindful that as an opening pair we have to start well.”
The other change will concern how to fit Duanne Olivier into the starting side. He missed the first Test due to concerns over workloads following a bout of Covid-19, while he also picked up a hamstring niggle. Marco Jansen, according to Elgar, was the Proteas’ “player of the game”. “He had a brilliant debut. He came into a really tough situation and didn't shy away from his responsibilities,” said Elgar.
Wiaan Mulder’s problems with the bat here — he made just 12 and 1 — but Elgar praised his bowling, and his catching in the slips is valuable. “ He had a pretty good game with the ball, but obviously he is not living up to the standards that he expects of himself with the bat, which is something that we’ll chat to him about. In this environment, you must have those open conversations in order for the environment and individuals to grow.”
Kohli, is just the third overseas captain after England’s Nasser Hussain in 1999 and Australia’s Michael Clarke in 2014, to lead a team to victory against South Africa at this venue.
“We got off to the perfect start,” he said reflecting on the 117-run opening stand between Mayank Agarwal and man of the match, KL Rahul. “A lot of credit goes to Mayank and KL. We were in pole position at 270 for 3 after day one.”
“Getting the result in four days shows how well we played. It's always a difficult place, South Africa, but we were clinical with the bat, ball and in the field.”