Cricket-India skipper Rohit promises second test fight back

PRETORIA (Reuters) – India promised to fight back hard after a devastating innings and 32 run defeat by South Africa on Thursday when they meet again in the second, and last, test of their short series next week.

Captain Rohit Sharma, who was dismissed cheaply in both innings, said India would regroup and come back strongly despite having missed the chance to take the series.

The brief trip to South Africa had been dubbed the ‘final frontier’ as it is the last country where India have not won an away series, but they cannot do that now.

“Honestly, look, we’re not good enough to win this match,” said Rohit, whose side were dismissed for 131 in their second innings on the third day.

“I thought we got decent runs on the board on that track in the first innings, KL Rahul did brilliantly to get us that century. But then we failed to exploit the conditions with the ball.

“Then again, we didn’t show up with the bat today as well. Our batting was poor in the second innings. If you want to win test matches, you’ve got to come together collectively. But we failed to do that.”

Rohit also singled out Virat Kohli’s second innings knock as he scored 76 of the Indian runs as a one-man bulwark with wickets tumbling all around him.

“When you lose a game in three days, there’s not a lot of positives but like I mentioned, the way KL Rahul batted in the first innings showed a lot of us what you need to do on that kind of pitch. A lot of our bowlers haven’t been here before, they’re still learning. So I don’t want to be too critical of them.

“We will regroup, and we’ll fight back,” Rohit said.

Idia have never won a test at Newlands, where the second test starts next Wednesday.

“It’s important for us to regroup as quickly as we can. It’s tough to take a loss like this. But as sportsmen, we all go through these kinds of times, and you need to pick yourselves up, get ready for the next challenge, which is in front of you,” he added.

(This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Rohit in paragraph 2)

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; editing by Pritha Sarkar)