Petersen said South Africa would like to chase anything below 200 in the fourth innings on the bowler-friendly pitch

Shardul Thakur made history at the Wanderers on Tuesday. His seven for 61 is the best-ever figures by an Indian bowler against South Africa in Test cricket.

After the second day’s play, a confident Shardul said, “It is my best figures. But my best is yet to come.”

About his gameplan, Shardul said, “I wanted to keep coming hard at the batters. All I did was to hit the crack. There was an area from where the ball kicked up or kept low.”

Shardul said it was a team effort. “Shami and Bumrah are the strike bowlers. They bowled well without luck, but created pressure. Today I got the wickets. This is how we play as a pack.

“I love playing Test cricket. It is the purest form of the game. My mindset is different when I play Tests. I want to give my best,” he added.

Shardul said he was not bothered about the limited opportunities he has been getting. “The selectors and the team management have confidence in me and that is why they are playing me as a genuine bowler. In a large country like India, there is bound to be competition.”

About the state of the match, he said, “Cheteshwar Pujara is batting well now. He is feeling comfortable.”

On succeeding in overseas conditions, Shardul said, “You need to have a better understanding of the game. Every game is different and presents different challenges.”

Shardul said there was help for the seamers at both Centurion and Wanderers. “You have to bowl in good areas,” he said.

About the Ranji Trophy getting postponed, he said, “I feel for them [the cricketers]. but you also have to look at the COVID-19 scenario in the country.”

Keegan Petersen said the South Africans would like to chase anything below 200.

“Over 200, with their bowling on this pitch, it could get difficult for us. The surface is not getting any better. Hopefully, we can get them all out quickly,” he said.

Petersen, who came up with his first half-century in Tests on Tuesday, said, “The India pacemen came out guns blazing in the morning. We had to bat through that tough period.”

Asked where his solidity and technique came from, Petersen replied, “It came naturally to me. I have been batting like this since I was a kid.”

Petersen added, “My dad Dirk was a club cricketer and he would take me along to matches. And he would bowl thousands of deliveries.”

The South African was happy with the way the Proteas batted in the first innings. “A couple of us could have gone on to bigger scores, but overall it was a good performance. The quality of bowling was good.”

Petersen revealed he had worked on a couple of shortcomings after the first Test. “We identified a couple of areas and addressed them.”

He felt a blatantly attacking batting ploy might not succeed on this pitch. “You have to defend the good balls and then the scoring opportunities would come.”

Petersen will remember the Wanderers all his life. After all, this is where he came up with his first innings of substance in Tests.

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