South African head coach Mark Boucher hailed his players for bouncing back from going 1-0 to record a magnificent win over India in the three-Test series. Boucher felt Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar stepped up after everyone had written them off after day one of the opening Test.
The Proteas chased down 212 with seven wickets to spare on Day Four of the third Test in Cape Town. The hosts began the day needing 101 more and lost only one wicket before a dominant win. Rassie van der Dussen and Bavuma stayed till the end to see their side over the finish line.
Speaking to the reporters after the Test, Boucher admitted people thought South Africa stood no chance against this Indian side. The former keeper-batter had special words for Bavuma and Elgar. The veteran said, as quoted by News24:
"A lot of people, including the media, had written us off after day one of the first Test. It's been great. It doesn't surprise me, because you've got Dean as well who is that sort of character and he led from the front."
"You've got Temba as the vice-captain who is the same fighter with that spirit in him. So you've got two leaders like that who the guys are going to follow. The guys stood up with regards to their own games as well."
Keegan Petersen, who made 72 and 82 in the third Test, earned the Man of the Match award. The right-handed batter top-scored in the series as well, accumulating 276 runs in six innings at 46.
Boucher acknowledged that a series win against India is a breakthrough win for the Proteas. He said:
"To come back after losing the first day badly to then compete in the first Test, and then to win the second and third Tests... This Indian team is probably the best team in world cricket Test-wise at the moment. This is something that our boys certainly won't take for granted."
The 45-year-old added:
"It was quite a nervous day for the changing room. As a coach, you actually have your hands tied behind your back and you can't go out there and change the game at all. But from a nerves perspective, it was one of my more nervous Test days."
The tour moves to the limited-overs games as the three-match ODI series between the two sides will begin on January 19.