Two fielders converged on this ball… and they left it for each other!
The Test series between India and South Africa – part of the World Test Championship – has been conquered by the Proteas.
The three-match Test series between India and South Africa played in South Africa has been clinched by the hosts.
If India won the series, it would have been their first Test series win on South African soil but it was not meant to be.
India won the opening Test of the series comprehensively but received a mauling in the next two games from the Proteas’ bowlers and batters.
South Africa bounced back after the loss in the first Test and outplayed the power-packed Indian side.
India’s dominance in the first Test
The Indians were quite dominant over the hosts in the first Test.
Their vice-captain KL Rahul was a prolific run scorer by scoring a beautiful hundred in the first innings of the first Test. That gave them an admirable total of 327.
The bowlers did the rest by bowling patiently and consistently and giving hardly anything loose to the South African batsmen.
India got the South African innings wrapped up at 197, which tightened the grip of India’s dominance.
India forced the hosts to chase the target of 305. Now it was the job of the Indian bowlers to value the effort put in by the Indian batsmen and they didn’t disappoint.
They bundled out the Proteas for just 191 courtesy of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, who picked up three wickets each.
South Africa’s dominance rest of the series
After the loss in the first Test at Centurion, they bounced back ever so strongly and gave the visitors a pasting in the next two games.
Dean Elgar and company did a sensational job to win the second and third Tests.
Elgar held the things together with the bat and Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier and the youngster Marco Jansen caused havoc with the ball in hand.
India were outplayed in the second Test by the Proteas. Almost everyone in the team contributed and took the game miles away from the visitors by winning the game with seven wickets still remaining in the hut in Johannesburg. They leveled the series 1-1.
Now the series decider awaited but the story was not very different from the second Test.
India put themselves into bat after winning the toss. Their batting failed again for India. No one contributed to the scoreboard, barring the visiting team captain Virat Kohli, who scored a magnificent 79 and took India to 223 in the first innings.
The Indian bowlers did a fine job to restrict the hosts to 210. India now had a lead of 13 runs before the start of their second innings.
India couldn’t quite capitalise on the lead as the South African pacers dominated, especially Marco Jansen, who took four wickets, and Kagiso Rabada, who got three. They kept India in check until the last minute.
India were bowled out for 198 as Rishabh Pant scored an important hundered for India and forced South Africa to chase a total of 212.
The hosts did a splendid job by chasing it down quite comfortably at the end as they won the game by seven wickets and won the series 2-1.
Keegan Petersen was the man of the series, scoring 276 runs at a brilliant average of 46. He really looks like a customer with potential.
What went wrong for India?
The batting has been the major concern for India throughout this series.
The Indian batsmen, on most of the occasions, have played false shots and have chased the balls way outside off and have nicked them to the keeper or slips.
The middle order has also not delivered for India when it was needed, especially Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Despite having all the experience, they haven’t been able to deliver for India when they needed them to deliver.
Rahane has scored just 136 runs on this tour at an average of 22.6 and Pujara has scored 124 runs at an average of 20.67.
In the second and third Tests, the Indian bowlers also looked a little off-colour on a few occasions. At times they have been impatient, searching for wickets too many times and getting dispatched for runs.
Sometimes they went too full and offered the batsmen freebies intermittently, dragging the length back a little too much and asking for trouble.
That has equally contributed to India’s loss.