Youngsters showed character with ball: Kohli

“Bowlers showed a lot of character. The pitch was very good and they (South Africa) got off to a good start so it was an outstanding effort from the bowlers to pull the game back from us,” he said at the post-match press conference.

“That’s exactly what we’re looking at, try out new people and see who stands up under pressure. As long as they (youngsters) show character in difficult situations, they are going to present a strong case for themselves in the future. A lot of positive signs for us and they’ll get many more games to prove their mettle. They are going in the right direction,” he added.

Asked about the mantra behind his consistency, Kohli said: “It’s the badge in front of my shirt. It’s a pride to play for my country so whatever it takes, whichever format, to get over the line, I will do. Get the team across the line anyhow. If you want to make your team win, you’ll find a way. Adapting in different formats is nothing but a mindset of making your team win. If you want to win a game for your team, you will find a way. That’s the most important thing. I never think for myself, it’s always about what the team needs. Test cricket, one-day cricket … the will should be to win the game for your country.”

South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock said Indian bowlers’ fine display in the death overs didn’t help their cause. “I think we got off to a good start. Towards the end they bowled pretty well, they understood the conditions a lot quicker than we did,” he said.

Asked about the performances of the three debutants — Bjorn Fortuin, Anrich Nortje and Temba Bavuma — of his side, de Kock said: “There was a lot of pressure coming in for some of the new guys and I thought they played really well. Obviously we didn’t get a winning start but I thought they held their nerve very well. Unfortunately, when there was pace on the ball it looked like it was easier to bat on, so it was about taking the pace off. But then they batted really well.”

‘Don’t think we were outplayed’

Inability to cash in on a good start cost South Africa but the visitors were in no way outplayed in the second T20 International against India, insists Proteas Test specialist Temba Bavuma, who had a decent outing in his debut in the shortest format.

South Africa looked set for 180 when skipper Quinton de Kock (52) and Bavuma (49) were in the middle before the southpaw’s dismissal put the brakes on the scoring rate, limiting the total to 149 for five.

“The first 10-12 overs we played really well. I think we could not really get going after a good start and lost the game between 12th to the 15th over,” Bavuma, who has played 36 Tests, said after the seven-wicket loss to India.

“When David came in the 13th over, we were in a strong position, 180 seemed very much gettable at the halfway stage. I was not really able to get that momentum and others as well. I don’t think we were completely outplayed,” said Bavuma who missed out on a well-deserved fifty by one run in his attempt to accelerate.

The 29-year-old from Cape Town said India are formidable but not unbeatable as the Proteas aim to level the series in Bengaluru on Sunday. “They are formidable but not unbeatable. It was just one phase with the bat where we let ourselves down and a quality side like India made us pay. There will always be moments in the game which we can win and it is about being aware of those moments and making sure we are in the right mental space to win those moments,” said Bavuma.