Indian pacer Mohammed Shami on Tuesday expressed surprise at South Africa rolling out a subcontinental type of pitch for the second Test in Centurion. India were reduced to 35/3 while chasing 287 for a series-levelling victory at stumps on the fourth day. "I did not expect the ball would stay so low in this wicket. Till now in overseas conditions, we have not seen such slow and low bounce wickets. So I don't know what they were thinking when they made this wicket. But whatever it is we have to play on it and the conditions are same for both teams. Tomorrow we will try to win," said Shami.
"The wicket has been slow since the beginning, even on the first day you saw that it is going low continuously. And even today, it went slow and low and you needed a lot of extra effort. We tried to give 110-120 percent. That was more important for us," he said at the post-match press conference.
Shami took 4/49 in the South African second innings as the hosts were bowled out for 258. He took three wickets in the morning session but bowled only the last over of the post-lunch session. He did not even come on to bowl when he had the chance of taking a five-wicket haul.
"It depends on the captain when he wants to bowl which bowler. It also depends on the conditions.
I bowled before lunch so I could not bowl immediately. So the captain is also thinking that we should bowl with rotation. The plan was that whenever I will get chance I will come to bowl," said Shami.
"There are some stages in front of you that you want to bowl more but the captain thinks that we should get them out quickly. So you cannot mind that, but yes, sometimes you do feel inside that maybe I could have got five wickets. But if you see from team's point of view, you will not feel like this," he added.
South Africa's lower-order stonewalled the Indian bowling post lunch and India did not take the second new ball available to them.
Asked if India should have attacked more, Shami said, "Today, the whole day, we were looking to give away as few runs as possible and we wanted to attack them fully. We went all out on the attack and gave away a few runs as possible. We wanted to bowl in good areas as we had given them a 28-run lead.
So we wanted to restrict them to as low a score as possible and bowl in good areas as much as possible.
"For any bowler, it is a lot of frustration when the fielder is there and edges are coming, what you want is happening but the batsman isn't getting out. So there is a little frustration mentally but you need to be mentally strong at that stage and how long you can persist with it, that is more important.
Like Quinton de Kock got three boundaries on three consecutive good balls, but I did the same again and I got a result on that," he added.
Talking about missed chances in the slip cordon, he said, "When you make a unit and get 15 guys to play for the country then you should have self-belief, and mix up with each other so that this is our best and we will make him stand in slips. It is part of the game that you will drop some catches but we are not robots or machines that we will catch all of them. We can only try and then the rest is dependent on luck."
Having already lost three wickets, India have a tough task ahead of them on day five tomorrow.
Asked about the team's chances, Shami said, "About the result, we have stopped them at a very good target and the rest is about luck.
(With PTI Inputs)