Now it seems like the whole cricketing world knows that Team India have never won a Test series in South Africa and they have flown to the country with the intent of changing it this time around. Some top Indian teams have travelled to South Africa with the same intentions in the past, but the Proteas are mighty fine in their home conditions.
So in this piece, we’re looking at the last three-Test series in South Africa for India and what went wrong for the Men in Blue.
Looking back at this series we can safely say that this was the time that Virat Kohli’s Test team transformed into one of the best travelling teams in the history of the game. The words spoken by coach Ravi Shastri and captain Kohli after the tour seemed premature when they addressed this team as one of the best Indian Test teams, but by the end of 2021, these words have actually come true. The pitches prepared for this tour were difficult for the batters so much so that the last Test at the Wanderers was about to be called off midway through the game as the pitch seemed too dangerous to bat on.
Had the team had more preparation time in the country, the result could have been very different as South Africa won the three-match series 2-1. Indian cricket fans would be hoping that the same isn’t repeated before the upcoming series as well. The 2017-18 series would always be remembered as one where the Indian Test team unleashed the might of Jasprit Bumrah. The Indian fast bowler has picked up 101 Test wickets in just 24 Tests. Tells you what a success he has been at this level.
The 2013 Test series in South Africa was an intriguing one. It was a relatively young Indian Test team under the leadership of MS Dhoni that arrived in South Africa for just a two-match Test series. Not ideal for any team. The first Test at the Wanderers was one that leaves you scratching your head by just looking at the scoreboard. The Indian team batted magnificently well with Virat Kohli scoring a century in the first innings followed by a 96 in the second innings, and Cheteshwar Pujara with his dogged 157 in the second innings. India set a near-impossible total of 458 for the host and it seemed like a comfortable Indian win heading into the fifth day at Johannesburg but it all changed with Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers’ partnership. In the end, the duo of Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn decided to play for a draw with just 16 needed off 3 overs with three wickets in hand. This came as a surprise to the fans outside as the match finished as a draw with South Africa just eight runs short of a famous victory.
Next up, the teams moved to Durban and it was Jacques Kallis’ last Test. His beautiful career ended on the perfect note as the all-rounder scored a spectacular hundred in the first innings and the team won the game comfortably by 10 wickets to clinch the series 1-0.
Overall, the Indian bowling department failed to step up in conditions that were suited to batters predominantly. The team selection also seemed too conservative with just four regular bowlers in the two Tests.
The 2010-11 tour of South Africa is the only series in the history of Indian cricket where India managed not to lose the series in South Africa. This was the time where the cricketing calendar started getting so jam-packed that the travelling teams didn’t even have to play a single practice match before the start of the series. So it came as no surprise that the team bundled out for a mere 136 in the first innings of the first Test. The Proteas piled on the misery with 620 in their first innings and from there an innings defeat was the only result possible. The only positive from the first Test was the landmark reached by two great Indian batters. Sachin Tendulkar scored his 50th Test century in this game and Rahul Dravid completed 12,000 Test runs.
For the second Test, the party moved to Durban with the Indian team having point to prove. The team with its performance in this Test reiterated that they are no longer poor travellers and are capable of winning overseas Tests as well. The bowlers deserved the credit for this victory and it wasn’t any single bowler who stood out, but collectively the performance was top class to help India level the series 1-1.
It was a shame that the third Test was played on a placid Cape Town pitch. An inspired performance from India’s bowlers on the fourth day had given them aspirations of a maiden Test series victory in South Africa but, on the fifth, the batsmen ensured they achieved at least a draw for the first time in the country
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES