The top-order may have failed to fire against India’s well-oiled pace unit but Temba Bavuma, who has failed to live up to his reputation with the willow so far in the series, hailed the ninth-wicket partnership between Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj as a confidence-booster.
“There are a lot of positives to take. This is definitely a confidence-booster. Keshav is the big player in the team, obviously, Vernon as well. For big players, for senior players to step up when the occasion arises is definitely something we can stick out our chest on,” said Bavuma.
“Over the next two days, we are going to need a lot more of that — with the ball, bat, in every department. We are going to need guys to put their hand up, no matter which way the result goes. We will show that our pride is intact.”
While the Pune pitch has been completely different from the sandpit at the same venue two years ago, Bavuma said it still didn’t have any demons.
No demons in pitch
“From the outside, looking at the partnership between Vernon and Keshav, it doesn’t look like there are demons in the pitch. Once the ball gets soft, after the 30th or 40th over, we can really make inroads with the bat,” he said.
“I think for us the challenge is to get to that 30th or 40th over without a lot of damage and then setting a score from there. One or two balls have spun as you would’ve expected on a day-three wicket and I am sure, as the game progresses, and by the time it gets to day five, it will start acting up a little more. It’s a pitch that is probably similar to what we’ll get back home in South Africa.”