South Africa's ultra-defensive strategy surprising, but will be tough to survive: Umesh Yadav
Chasing 481, South Africa scored 72 runs in 72 overs in the fourth innings, even in the presence of AB de Villiers.
New Delhi: Indian speedster Umesh Yadav on Sunday expressed his surprise at the ultra-defensive strategy employed by the South African batsmen in the fourth and final cricket Test here but reminded them that one cannot last an entire fifth day by "just blocking" deliveries.
Asked if 72 runs scored by the South Africans in 72 overs today came as a shocker, Yadav admitted that it was indeed so.
"Yes it's a surprise as we did not think that they would play like this. The way they are defending is a surprise and they are not even trying to play a shot. Even deliveries they can score are being defended," Yadav told mediapersons at the day-end conference.
Yadav admitted that it can become a challenge for the bowling side when the batsmen are not ready to attack.
"Yes it becomes a challenge when batsman does not play a shot as chances of getting a player out decreases. When a batsman does not take any initiative then even if you bowl a good delivery, he will just block it out. I can tell you this kind of cricket can be very boring, because you just are bowling over after over and nothing is happening," he said.
"It becomes so boring that you start thinking as to whether something will happen or not," Yadav said in reference to Hashim Amla's unbeaten 23 off 207 balls.
Amla's effort is the second least number of runs scored in the history of Test cricket for any batsman who have faced 200 deliveries.
Yadav said the Proteas would not be able to survive an entire fifth day tomorrow by mere defending.
"Yes, there is pressure on them and that is the reason they are blocking everything and trying to stretch this game. Our first target tomorrow morning will be to dismiss them as quickly as possible. So I don't think that they will survive the whole day without giving any catches," he said.
"You never know that the character of the wicket might change tomorrow. Today also they gave catches, but they were lucky that those catches fell in the gaps rather than going to the fielders."
Yadav said that the objective behind not enforcing follow-on was to bat the visitors out of the game.
"It is a strategy that we took. We wanted to score runs and set a target, which makes the team comfortable and then we thought of attacking. We felt that the more we scored in the first hour, the better it will be for us," said the Vidarbha fast bowler.
"And we did score runs in that first hour. Normally, I don't think there will be much of a problem to get them out as we have lot of time at our disposal," said Yadav.
With the Kotla pitch getting slower with the passage of time, reverse swing is going out of play, assessed Yadav.
"If you see any pitch -- after third or fourth day, it starts getting slower and slower. You don't get the desirable pace or bounce from the wicket. This is happening with this wicket also as the pace off the track is gone. Even if you are bowling a bouncer, you are not able to work up the desired pace. It's travelling easy (towards the batsman)," he said.
In fact, both Yadav and Ishant Sharma were brought round the wicket to create rough for the spinners in a bid to try something different.
"Yes, we tried to create a few patches so that the spinners get some kind of help. With no pace or bounce, it was difficult to get the deliveries to reverse. So we thought any patches that we could create will be good for our spinners."
Asked about the team strategy tomorrow, Yadav said: "Hopefully, we can have some other strategy tomorrow. They have been beaten on occasions, they have provided catches. It is difficult to defend and pass the whole day, they have to play shots."