A disappointed India captain Virat Kohli admitted that South Africa were a better side than India as the visitors lost the second Test by 135 runs at Centurion's SuperSport Park today (January 17).
Debutant paceman Lungi Ngidi took six wickets as the Proteas bowled out India for 151 on the fifth and final day. The contest was over in the first session. India had started the day at 35/3, needing 252 more to win.
With this second straight win, South Africa won the Freedom Series 2-0 with a game to play. The third and final Test begins in Johannesburg on January 24.
In the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli said India were again let down by the batsmen. In the opening Test in Cape Town, the visitors were all out for 135 while chasing 208.
"We thought the wicket was really flat. It was surprising. We thought we have our best chance to put runs on the board. Especially after the way South Africa ended the first innings, we had the momentum. We were also in a position to get the lead," the 29-year-old said.
For Kohli this was his first series loss, across three formats, as captain. Under his leadership India had won nine consecutive Test rubbers.
"The bowlers have stuck to their guns and done well. It's the batsmen who have let the team down again," he said.
Kohli hit a superb 153 in the first innings. He could not score much in the second essay as he was trapped LBW for five by 21-year-old Ngidi.
"150 means nothing now that we have lost the match and the series. Having not won the game, personal milestones do not matter at all. Had we won, even a 50 or 30 would been good. You go out there and you give your best shot. We tried our best and we just weren't good enough. They were better than us in every department, especially with the fielding. They deserved to win," he added.