Boucher hails 'tough nut' Keegan Petersen: 'I'm at a loss for words'

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South African batsman Keegan Petersen (Gallo Images)
South African batsman Keegan Petersen (Gallo Images)
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Proteas coach Mark Boucher hopes that newcomer Keegan Petersen just keeps getting better and better after his heroics at Newlands.
  • Petersen scored 82 off 113 balls to lead the Proteas to a 2-1 Test series win over the world number one side India.
  • Boucher was at a loss for words as he described the mental toughness of South Africa's new Test number three.

Proteas coach Mark Boucher had nothing but praise for star batsman Keegan Petersen after leading South Africa to victory over India on day four of the third Test at Newlands.

Needing only 111 runs to seal the Test series 2-1, Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen got over a tricky morning session to put on a stellar 54-run partnership.

Van der Dussen remained unbeaten on 42 with vice-captain Temba Bavuma hitting the winnings runs as South Africa won by seven wickets against the world number one side.

Petersen, who was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip off Jasprit Bumrah in 7th over of the day, notched up back-to-back half-centuries as he struck 82 off 113 balls (10 fours) to accompany his 72 in the first innings.

READ | Boucher praises fight of leaders Elgar, Bavuma in historic Proteas series win

Boucher could not be happier with Petersen's rise in the Test squad, and he stated that the 28-year-old's man of the match and series accolades were well deserved.

"Keegan probably didn't start off as well as he would've liked against the West Indies," Boucher told reporters on Friday.

"He didn't start too well at SuperSport Park either, but he always showed signs of what we're seeing right now. He just stuck to his guns and I think he is in a good position to have a guy like Dean next to him and who really does back him.

"I think he is a tough nut. Batting at number three in Test cricket, you need to be tough, you've got to know your game and technically, you've got to be sound as well.

"Hopefully, he just gets better and better. It's a very tough position in our conditions to bat at number three.

"The way he has come through the series, I'm at a loss for words because in a big series like this against big players, his man of the series was fully deserved."

Petersen ended as the highest-run-scorer in the three-match Test series, scoring 276 runs at an average of 46.00 with three-half-centuries.

His journey with the Proteas ends for now as he will probably rest for the Proteas tour to New Zealand next month.

Meanwhile, Boucher's charges will now shift their attention to the three-match ODI series against India, starting from Wednesday in Paarl.

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