Ranchi: Staring at a whitewash in the three-match Test series, South African batsman Zubayr Hamza on Monday admitted they should have been better prepared mentally before embarking on what has been a nightmarish India tour.
The 24-year-old got a chance in the Ranchi Test after an injury to Aiden Markram and the youngster impressed with an aggressive 62 in the first innings -- the only highlight for the visitors on a day they lost 16 wickets.
"I will just say that maybe we should have prepared more mentally in terms of playing them in whatever conditions that we faced," Hamza said at the end of day three's proceedings in the third Test.
The series also marked the dominance of Indian pacers who overshadowed the spinners at home.
"Indians are extremely disciplined and professional about the way they go about doing the job. So I wouldn't say we were under prepared against the seamers.
"I would say based on the general thought of playing in India, you'd assume that it would be tougher to play against the spinners. In saying that we knew, obviously first have to get through the quick bowlers that they've got."
India had declared their first innings at 497/9 and bundled out South Africa for 162 for a massive first-innings lead of 335 runs.
Following on, the visitors put up another spineless batting display and slumped to 132/8.
"To have almost been bowled out twice in just less than two days, it's pretty poor from our side. It's been tough. I think we struggled to build partnerships.
"So from our side with the bat I think we struggled in terms of our defences, and they bowled pretty attacking lines and I think that's been the key for them. I just think we haven't been good enough to keep those good balls off," the youngster said, giving an assessment of the South African batting.
Hamza added 91 runs with Temba Bavuma (32) but, apart from them and George Linde (37), no other South African batsman reached double figures.
"First half century for the national side so pretty happy with that but also disappointed in the same breath, not having gone on to make use of that opportunity. And the first time that I've been out twice in the same day, so it's been a tough day. Really disappointing for the side," Hamza said.
"To have almost been bowled out twice in just less than two days, it's pretty poor from our side. I think we struggled to build partnerships."
Asked whether they got intimidated by the Indian bowling attack, he said: "I wouldn't say intimidated, I think they bowled pretty good lengths and lines.
"I think as far as experience goes, it's good. There's always lessons to be learned. There has to be a way that you can take some sort of learnings out of it and build confidence going forward, instead of just dwell on the negatives," he concluded.
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In all likelihood, the statistics will be the final nail in the coffin when Chetan Sharma and his colleagues pick the squad for the next Test series in India.
"Huge for South Africa. Huge. And very well played. Proper post-mortem for India now," commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter.
South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said they played 'close to a perfect game'.