Cape Town: Barry Richards, one of the living legends, believes that the Indians just didn’t have the “mental toughness” to play for a draw in the second Test, which ended in a 174-run defeat in Durban on Saturday.
“For the Indians, it was a mental thing... They didn’t want to fight... They didn’t like the conditions at Kingsmead,” Barry told The Telegraph.
He added: “After the big win at the Wanderers (first Test), the Indians were on top of the tree... That position has been surrendered and, now, the ascendancy is clearly with South Africa... The Newlands wicket may not trouble the Indians, but the home team is on a high.”
Having been an opener, Barry expressed amazement at Virender Sehwag’s repeated failures. “He can only be king in Multan, where the wicket favours batsmen... I just can’t understand... You know, great players are those who score big in all conditions, not in one part of the world... That’s how I judge...”
Sehwag, who has a career-best 309 in Multan, scored 0, 18 and 11 in the ODIs. At the Wanderers, his contribution was 4 and 33. In Durban, it was worse — 0 and 9. Unfortunately, the former vice-captain isn't learning.
It’s not confirmed, but he’s on the way out of the XI.
Barry pointed out that the collapse (84 all out) in the first innings of the first Test notwithstanding, South Africa paid the price for not bowling the correct length. “That got sorted out and the difference showed at Kingsmead... At the Wanderers, it wasn’t so much good Indian batting as bad bowling from South Africa... Momentum is important and, right now, it’s with the home team...”
Few will argue with that.
Meanwhile, South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who’d ‘predicted’ that 50 overs (on the last day) would be enough to finish off India, insisted he hadn’t fluked it. “I said it out of conviction... I had faith in our bowlers... Less than 50 were required, though.”
Not that any South African complained.