Johannesburg: They came close to record a historic win against India but eventually had to settle for a draw and South African batsman Faf du Plessis' says his team was satisfied with the end result.
Du Plessis' superb knock of 134 runs and his 205-run partnership with AB de Villiers had set South Africa up for a world record win but they fell short by eight runs while chasing a 458-tun target.
"This morning a lot of people wrote us off and the character that we have shown to pull this off, I am very satisfied with the result," he said.
His third Test hundred came in the post-tea session, when South Africa set themselves up for the win. But then AB de Villiers got out and du Plessis himself was run-out. It changed the complexion of the game.
"I was batting very well until the hundred, but then emotion took over me. There was a lot of work to be done and we would have liked to win the game and be part of the best Test match ever. But I am very satisfied. We did something similar in Australia and then we turned the momentum around, so we can hope for the same here," du Plessis added.
He was referring to the Proteas' 2012-13 tour of Australia, where they saved the Test in Adelaide thanks to his hundred scored over four and a half sessions. Later, at Perth, they defeated Australia.
"We drew a lot of experience from that Adelaide game. I batted for a long time there and then I realized that I could actually bat for so long in a Test match. Obviously, the conditions there were different. In Australia, the ball doesn't seam as much and this pitch was harder. I wanted to see through the new ball, that was vital for us and I am happy we were able to do that and set ourselves up in the final session," he said.
Thanks to their fifth wicket partnership, South Africa did not lose a wicket in the second session of the day and as a result were very well placed for the win in the third session. But India did not give up and the end was perhaps a fair result for both sides.
"It was tough in the middle. With AB, I got some momentum and we wanted to bat until the last ten overs and then see what we could do. But he got out and then JP (Duminy) got out, and I decided to stay on till the end.
"India bowled well and fielded very well. They had two chances for a direct hit and they got run-outs for both. Then Vernon Philander was batting well and I didn't give any advice to Dale Steyn. It was upto them in the middle," he said.
"I would have liked to cross the finish line myself, having come so close. So that was disappointing from the team's point of view."
"But, from a personal point of view, I am very happy with what I achieved. I liked batting up the order. Jacques Kallis will not be bowling 25 overs every innings so I need to enjoy my chance. I was disappointed to not be included in the one-day squad, so may be this innings will get me back in the reckoning," du Plessis said.