India coach Ravi Shastri heaped praise on his side’s pace attack as they steered the team to a famous win in the final Test of the three-match series against South Africa.

Speaking to Sony TV, Shastri said the wickets offered were quite challenging and needed a special performance from the team to end the series with a respectable result.

“Lack of preparation is not an excuse. Practice is obviously necessary, but it was the way this team performed despite those issues, which was quite commendable,” Shastri said.

“After arriving Just 5-6 days before the tour. The way the way the boys played these three thests makes me really very proud,” he added.

Shastri claimed that he had never seen wickets in South Africa which were so heavily tilted in the bowler’s favour.

“I have been coming here since 1992, I have never seen wickets, where the bowlers get so much help. Cape town and here at the Wanderers,” Shastri said.

“It was commendable how the players responded in Johannesburg, despite the team being 2-0 down.

“I have played a lot, covered a lot of cricket. I would say among all wins I have seen, this win will go in history as one of our bravest, courageous and greatest Test wins,” he added.

Shastri stressed that the team’s gritty performance was largely on account of the pace attack. The coach said that the depth of the bowling line-up, was what differentiated it from all previous teams that have toured South Africa.

“Our pace attack is the difference,” Shastri said. “We have four bowlers who bowl comfortably close to 140. Bhuvneshwar is a master of swing and seam. Hardik is also a great fifth bowler gives us an advantage.

“Ahead of the third Test, we took a risk by taking five bowlers. Here, in these conditions it is necessary for the top-order batsman to take more responsibility in my opnion.

Bold decisions

Shastri said that the decision to bat first was a difficult one, but was taken as the team did not want to bat in the fourth innings.

The former India captain added that it was the confident approach of skipper Virat Kohli that kept the team focused on the win in the third test, despite the alien conditions.

“I have not seen a competitior like Kohli,” said Shastri. “Never seen someone who wants to win from every position. When you have a captain like him, it rubs off on the others.

“Ahead of the third Test, we were confident. It will be hard to believe for most as we lost after losing two tests, but we knew we had taken 20 wickets in both.

“It was only in the key moments that South Africa had edged ahead. If you look at the sessions, in 20, the hosts won 11, we won nine.

“We knew then, that despite the result, both teams were evenly matched. The think-tank felt we can play fire with fire. If they can field five bowlers, then even we can field five bowlers,” Shastri said.

The coach insisted that players from all departments contributed towards the win.

“When 6-7 players perform, it works well for the team,” Shastri said. “All our bowlers played well. In the batting, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli were outstanding in the first innings, Vijay did well in the second. Rahane too played a luent knock in his first test on tour.

“Also when tailenders start making runs and stitiching together partnerships, then its a great sign for the team.”