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A crushing defeat

After playing 15 unbeaten Test series abroad during the last nine years, South Africa lost their first overseas series in India by 3-0

A crushing defeat
Photo by Ron Gaunt.

After playing 15 unbeaten Test series abroad during the last nine years, South Africa lost their first overseas series in India by 3-0.

India won the first Test by 108 runs at Mohali. The second match at Bangalore was called off due to rain. They won the third match by 124 runs in Nagpur and defeated the Proteas by a record 337 runs in the fourth and final Test in New Delhi.  It was South Africa’s worst performance ever.

The result could have been 4-0 if the second Test at Bangalore had not been drawn due to rain.

When the first day’s play closed, India were 80 for no loss against South Africa’s 214.

India have registered their third Test series win over South Africa — all in India: the first by 2-1 in 1996-97 and the second 1-0 in 2004-05.

Touring South African team won both Twenty20 and One-day International series, so a tough contest in the Test series was expected. But the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin (31) and Ravindra Jadeja (23) always kept strong South African batting under pressure.

India’s spin troika (the third one was Amit Mishra) claimed 61 out of the 70 South African wickets in the seven completed innings.

South Africa managed only one total above 200 in seven innings that showed the complete domination of the Indian spinners.

While Ashwin and Jadeja were nearly unplayable, Amit also played an important role in India’s convincing win.

After this comprehensive series win, India moved into the second place in the ICC Test Championship rankings ahead of Australia and Pakistan, who slipped one place each to third and fourth, respectively.

Despite a humiliating defeat, Hashim Amla’s side retained its number-one Test ranking but its lead at the top has been slashed from 16 points to just four points.

Virat Kohli showed that he is the right man after Dhoni to lead India. He is fearless, aggressive, takes chances and accepts challenges and focuses on results.

After the retirement of Dhoni, India have won successive series under Kohli’s leadership: first 2-1 against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka earlier this year and now this one against South Africa.

The Delhi win was the fifth in 10 Tests under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. He lost two Tests and drawn three.

India look unbeatable at home as the pitches are prepared for their spin bowlers. But they can’t be considered a great side until they win abroad, especially in Australia, South Africa and England.

India’s 124-run win in the fourth Test at Delhi was their second biggest by runs against South Africa, surpassing the 280-run victory at Kanpur in December 1996.

Indian batsmen scored two centuries and four fifties compared to just two fifties for South Africa.

Five different Indian batsmen passed 50 at least once in the series, while AB de Villiers was the only South African to do so, scoring 63 in Mohali and 85 in Bangalore.

The 154 runs partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli in Delhi was the only century partnership of the series.

South Africa set new records for slow batting to save the last Test.  Skipper Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis faced more than 600 balls and spent 12-and-a-half hours at the crease in the second innings. Amla faced 244 balls for 25 runs, de Villiers scored 43 off 297 and du Plessis faced 97 deliveries to score 10.

Man-of-the-Series Ashwin (7-66) produced his best bowling performance in Tests in Nagpur, bettering the 7-103 vs Australia at Chennai in February 2013. These figures are also the best by an Indian bowler against South Africa in Tests, surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s 7 for 87 at Kolkata in November 2004.

Ashwin’s match figures of 12 for 98 are also the best by an Indian bowler vs South Africa in a Test match, surpassing the 10 for 153 by Venkatesh Prasad at Durban in December 1996.

Ashwin took 31 wickets at an average of 11.12 in four Tests. He established a record for most wickets in a Test series involving South Africa and India, eclipsing the 21 (ave 17.47) by Dale Steyn in three Tests in 2010-11 in South Africa.

Ashwin received Man of the Series for a fourth time out of the six series he has played in India.

Ajinkya Rahane was the highest run-getter of the Test series with 266 runs, which included two hundreds, averaging 53.20.

AB de Villiers remained the top scorer for South Africa with 258 runs at an average of 36.85 with the help of two fifties.

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