If you’re South African, LOOK AWAY NOW. For a team that is known for their competitive & ruthless nature on the cricket field, the Proteas have failed to live up to those lofty standards after a trip to India has quickly turned into an ongoing-nightmare. India are a great team, perhaps one of the best, but are they as good as South Africa has made them look?
Outclassed, outplayed and outwitted – the highlights in this test series for the South Africans have been few and far thanks to India’s home ground dominance. They certainly know how to gain the upper hand on their home soil, but the added benefit for the Indians in this case is South Africa’s lack of knowledge. With the third test likely wrapping up as is the series later today, India will walk away having comprehensively-destroyed their opposition in all three tests. A 203-run victory to kick things off at Visakhapatnam saw India’s top order & spinners thrive in the conditions, a double-century to Mayank Agarwal and back-to-back hundreds for Rohit Sharma saw the Proteas blown out of the water. Ravi Ashwin returned to his best, claiming 7/145 and helped set up a commanding-victory. Compared to India’s top order, South Africa didn’t fire a shot.
It was the Indian skipper who headlined the second test at Pune with an unbeaten 254, once again proving that South Africa’s bowlers failed to make any substantial breakthroughs with Agarwal scoring another ton and Pujara adding an additional fifty. In his 254, Virat Kohli struck 33 boundaries as Faf du Plessis could only look on. The fact that India continues to make mammoth scores and declare when they feel the time is right emphasizes just how in control they are, the Proteas spinners are having nowhere near as much impact as the Indians and it’s hurting them badly. Perhaps one of the most frustrating elements for the visitors has been their top order woes, that’s the last thing they needed. Future opening prospect Aiden Markram was dropped for the third test after scoring just 44 runs in the series including a pair at Pune. The second test was won by an innings & 137 runs, India showed no mercy taking a 2-0 lead into the final test.
And here we are, the third test at Ranchi. It came as no surprise to anybody that India won the toss and elected to bat first, however the Proteas made a decent start with the ball as the hosts stumbled early on at 3-39 which included the big wicket of Kohli. It was always going to turn sour for South Africa at some point if the series was to follow the trend, and that’s exactly what happened as ‘the hitman’ Rohit Sharma decided he was going to score his maiden double-century in test cricket. The Proteas seamers had done all the hard work early, only to see it unravel as Rohit went on to score 212 along with an Ajinkya Rahane hundred in the process. The mega-partnership between Sharma and Rahane summed up South Africa’s series, grueling hours out in the field for little reward. It’s currently stumps on day three of the third test, and South Africa are already in big trouble needing 203 runs with just 2 wickets remaining.
3-0 India, the Proteas will go home with their tail between their legs.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.