South Africa’s debutant left-arm spinner George Linde on Saturday said it was unfortunate that they failed to latch onto the chance given by Indian opener Rohit Sharma, whose maiden double century put the hosts on a driver’s seat in the third Test.
Rohit scored 212 and Ajinkya Rahane contributed 115 as India declared their first innings at 497 for 9. South Africa are 9 for 2 at close of play.
“Those catches they stick or they don’t. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our way, it was Rohit’s. He played well, so well done to him,” the rookie spinner said, referring to the catch that Zubayr Hamza dropped at forward short leg off his bowling when the opener was batting on 28.
“He (Rohit) played well. He gave us that one chance, it wasn’t easy and after that he didn’t give a chance,” Linde said.
The 27-year-old, who was part of the touring South Africa A side to India last month, was alled up to replace the injured Keshav Maharaj.
Linde has impressed for his domestic team Cape Cobras with 160 wickets in first-class cricket to date, at an eye-catching average of 24.05, as well as scoring 1497 runs at 25.81.
But it’s been a hard toil for Linde, who said he was a bit nervous to debut at such a short notice.
“It’s been lessons to be honest. Also I didn’t expect to play Test cricket. This year I didn’t expect to come back to play the Test series. So when I got the call-up, I was quite nervous,” Linde said.
“Luckily, I had a few days to just settle. And today few lessons learnt especially at the end.”
On a day dominated by the Indian batsmen, Linde was the pick of South African bowlers with 4/133 from his 31 overs and he was the one who terminated Rahane’s sublime innings on 115.
“Obviously, consistency is very important. Today, I was a lot better on the off side,” he said.
Linde was heavily strapped in his legs and he said: “It’s because I have been diving on it for about three times, so it’s protected.”
South Africa once have frittered away a good start and Linde said they would stay positive to force a comeback.
“Obviously, it was a bad start. It’s not the way we wanted it to go but tomorrow is another day. We were positive. Guys were smiling in the dressing room, so we are ready for tomorrow. We are not going to sit back and relax, we are going to go forward and try to take the challenge on,” he concluded.