Visakhapatnam, Oct 6: India captain Virat Kohli praised pacer Mohammad Shami and batters Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal for their match-winning efforts in the first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam.
Kohli heaped praise over Shami for his bowling effort in the second innings in which the Bengal pacer becomes more lethal. The right-arm speedster returned with figures of 5/35 as the hosts folded the Protea innings for 191 to win the match by 203 runs.
"Shami has been the strike bowler for us in the 2nd innings consistently now. If you see all his 4, 5-wicket hauls, it comes in the 2nd innings where the team invariably needs it. He reverses it well. That's his strength. All the guys stood up to their strength. The bowlers had it tougher to keep going in these conditions. So they deserve a little bit of extra credit," Virat Kohli said.
Kohli praised Rohit - who slammed a ton in both the innings - and Mayank - who notched up his maiden double century in the first innings - for their performance with the bat.
"The wicket played really good for the first three days. We lost a session. When you put 500 on the board, you're always ahead. Even with the fight they showed, we still had a lead. Rohit was outstanding. Mayank brilliant. It was a hard grind because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions and the pitch slowed down too," said the Indian captain.
Revealing why he gave short spells to his pacers, the skipper said they ask for it helps them give their cent per cent.
"It's all about the attitude. If fast bowlers are going to think that spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn't justify their place. They ask for shorter spells so they can give 100%. That's when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Jasprit and Umesh as well doing well. It's all about wanting to make a play for the team even in conditions that are difficult."
The 30-year-old also praised spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for their efforts in the game. Ashwin grabbed a fifer in the first innings while Jadeja got a four-for in the second innings.
"Jaddu (Jadeja) and Ash (Ashwin) again, really good. The pitch was flat, they got a few boundaries away. Always knew it was going to be a second innings pitch.
The Indian captain also had some praise for the new SG balls as they remained hard for 40-45 overs. "This lot of SG balls is much better than the last one. If it softens up, there's literally nothing happening after 40-45 overs. Will still like it to be harder till about 60 overs," he claimed.