South Africa's stand-in skipper Aiden Markram on Sunday conceded that the nine-wicket loss to India in his maiden game in charge was a learning experience for him. He, however, said the defeat could just lead to a turnaround for the hosts in the ongoing six-match series.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav's magical wrist spin outfoxed a depleted South Africa as India romped to a crushing nine-wicket win in the second ODI to reclaim the pole position in the ICC rankings.
India now lead the series 2-0 as they literally annihilated the home team which had the ignominy of being shot out for a paltry 118 in 32.3 overs -- their lowest-ever score at home.
"It was eye opening definitely. But it might just bring out the best in our squad and might bring some fight into the game. So I'm looking forward to seeing how the guys react, Markram said at the post-match press conference.
"Obviously the guys are very upset and disappointed. But the beauty of it is that everyone's disappointed in themselves. That's where the culture stands out and it stands strong.
"Each player will look to get better now going forward. It is a quick turnaround but it might fire the guys up going into the remaining four matches, which I think is a great thing for us," he added.
The Proteas were adamant after the defeat in the first ODI in Durban that playing India's wrist spinners -- Chahal and Yadav -- was not as big a challenge.
But for a matter of fact, South Africa's batsmen failed to counter the Indian spin duo for the second match in running.
"Obviously they (Chahal and Yadav) are two quality bowlers in their own right. I don't think we played them particularly well and that's where our downfall was today," Markram said.
"Having said that, you are never going to come across a bad attack in international cricket, and you're never going to come across a bad batting line-up either. It's just one of those things.
"I don't think we played spin incredibly well. It's obviously something we need to work on, but it's not a massive danger for us," Markram said.
Markram said the key to South Africa's batting success is all about executing their plans.
"I don't think there is too much lack of a game plan. If you speak to each individual in our top six, each person has got a clear plan. So it obviously comes down to execution on the day," he said.
"Like I said, they are two quality wrist-spinners and we give them credit. But I still think we can execute better. Plans are in place and now we just have to keep working hard to execute, that's all," he added.
South Africa will be hard pressed to pick themselves up in the third ODI in Caper Town on Wednesday after today's humiliating loss.
But Markram didn't divulge any immediate plans to shuffle the batting order.
"Hashim Amla is very valuable for us, wherever he bats. He complements Quinton de Kock very well and he has a calming effect at the top. They got us off to a fairly good start today in any case," he said.
"I just think it's each batsman who need to take responsibility for themselves at the end of the day."
Markram also refused to blame the pitches for South Africa's poor plight in the ongoing ODI series.
"I don't think the pitches have been too bad. Today's wicket, we just didn't play good cricket on it, that's all," he said.
"No excuses towards the pitch or anything along those lines. We're pointing the finger straight back at ourselves. We need to get better," Markram signed off.
(With PTI Inputs)