In one of the most shocking days of test cricket that saw the fall of 18 wickets, South Africa managed to take the ascendancy over India in the three-match series. On a wicket that offered absolutely nothing for the batsmen, the hosts’ first innings lead proved enough to propel them over the finishing line.
The Proteas began day 4 on 65/2, hoping to bat the entire day and post a mammoth total on the board. To their disappointment, the rain of the previous day proved to be the catalyst for the Indian bowlers as they were offered pace and seam from the word go.
After adding just a solitary run to their total on the day, South Africa lost their third wicket. Hashim Amla seemed astounded by a delivery of Mohamed Shami, and all he did was place the ball into the hands of Rohit Sharma. And thus, their downfall began.
They managed to add only another 65 runs to their total on the day and were bowled out for 130. Even the consistent and reliable AB De Villiers struggled on this relatively queer wicket and he fell for 35 – the highest run getter in South Africa’s second innings.
The Indians came out to bat post lunch with a target of 208 set for them. Despite the peculiarities of the wicket, fans and pundits alike favoured the Asian outfit to come away with the victory, given the strength in their batting unit.
However, like the Africans, the visitors too, endured a torrid two sessions on the wicket. The odd bounce coupled by the erratic swing gave the Indian batsmen all sorts of problems. No batsman could quite settle himself as the Proteas picked up wickets at regular intervals to put the game beyond all doubt.
Vernon Philander was among the pick of the bowlers for South Africa in the game, but his second innings performance was particularly eye catching. With career-high figures of 6 for 42, he ended up winning the man of the match and ensured that the hosts did not miss their star steamer Dale Steyn.
For Virat Kohli and his men, it is time for introspection as their batsmen have often struggled on the overseas circuit outside the subcontinent. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay have had several issues with short-pitched bowling in the past and they are continuously falling prey to bowlers that have been hitting the deck hard on seaming wickets.