Errors in judgement rather than a lack of preparation was the main reason South Africa struggled in the first Test against India.
Those were the thoughts of captain Hashim Amla after the game, which South Africa lost by 108 runs. Amla didn’t feel the need to analyse the loss too deeply, feeling it was quite obvious for everyone to see why his side struggled, especially in the batting department.
‘I would agree that we could have applied ourselves better. There were certain decisions that we made while batting that were not the right decisions.
‘In terms of preparation there isn’t anything more you can do. It came down to errors in judgement and not bad preparation. The way we applied ourselves in the field and with the ball, especially in their second innings was very good. They could have easily gotten away from us with a lead of 250 or 300, which would have been exceptionally difficult.
‘The chats we had in our meetings is that the ball isn’t turning that much actually. A lot of dismissals in both teams were from a lack of turn rather than excessive turn. Sometimes they are the more difficult pitches to play on. There were errors on decision making that cost us. It was a matter of playing what you see and we made a few mistakes. Credit to India, they bowled and I think 200 on that wicket was a challenging target.’
Apart from that Amla felt all the bowlers walked away from the game with some confidence.
The captain made an interesting decision to let Vernon Philander open the batting in the second innings with Dean Elgar, moving Stiaan van Zyl down to No 6.
We wanted to mix it up, get a right-hander up front. Vernon has one of the most solid techniques,’ Amla explained.
‘He has done a great job for us at No 7 with the second new ball and things like that. It didn’t pay off this game, but I firmly believe it was a good idea to try and change it up, especially if Ashwin was going to bowl, with two left handers it would have been very difficult for them.
‘Jadeja got him out with a ball that didn’t turn much so it could have gone both ways. The way Stiaan played at N0 6 showed that had it worked really nicely it would have given us good depth in our batting, having Stiaan at six and Dane [Vilas] at seven.