Captain Faf du Plessis was confronted by several inadequacies, as the Proteas suffered an innings and 137-run defeat by India on day four of the second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Sunday.
India amassed 601-5 on the back of captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten double-century, which was flanked by the Proteas’ 275 and 189 all out.
Two ducks for opener Aiden Markram, a wicketless debut for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, injury to spinner Keshav Maharaj and more were among the tourists’ problems in Pune.
‘You don’t mind losing to a team better than you, but in this Test we didn’t even come close to where we needed to be to compete. We let ourselves down,’ said Du Plessis.
‘There’s still fight from the guys‚ hanging in there and trying to compete‚ but there’s a lot of questions that need answers and players need to put their hands up.’
The tourists, who are without recent Test retirees JP Duminy, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, have conceded a 2-0 series defeat. The third and final match will start in Ranchi on Saturday. Maharaj, meanwhile, has been replaced in the squad by the uncapped George Linde.
‘With a very young team and a lot of new faces‚ consistency would be one of the things we would try and work towards. Experience and consistency go hand in hand. We took one step forward in the first Test, but took two back through not being consistent,’ added Du Plessis.
‘Your best Test teams are those with the most experience and guys that have been through it. Even with a lot of inexperience in our team, we never came here thinking we were going to roll over and die.
‘We are a very proud cricketing nation and our performance in this Test doesn’t do that justice. I am hurting and I am sure the guys are‚ too. It’s about trying to make sure this team can get better‚ even if you do a few things wrong.’
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