India’s long wait to win a series in South Africa continues as the hosts defended their turf with a brilliant display of consistency. Though India made a brilliant start to the series with a victory at Centurion, they failed to follow it up at the Wanderers and Cape Town. In the end, it was the Proteas middle-order that gave the hosts the decisive advantage. Keegan Petersen, Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen all played their part when they were needed the most, while the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane failed to spark once again.
The action will now shift to One Day Internationals, where Rohit Sharma will be leading the Men in Blue. We take a look at the top performers from the just concluded Test series between India and South Africa:
#5: KL RAHUL
KL Rahul’s 123 off 160 balls in the first innings laid the ground for the team’s domination through the rest of the match, allowing the team to post a mammoth total that they would then go on to defend. He followed it up with a half-century in the second Test, where he captained the team in the absence of Virat Kohli. Although he performed poorly in the third Test, Rahul finished the series as the team’s topscorer – posting a total of 226 runs at an average of 37.67.
#4: JASPRIT BUMRAH
The dominance of Indians on overseas pitches in recent years is partly thanks to a fiery Indian pace lineup led by Jasprit Bumrah. Alongside Mohammed Shami, the duo picked up 26 wickets between them, and were able to contain the Proteas to totals less than 250 in all innings of the series. Bumrah picked up five wickets in the first Test, giving support to Shami who tore through the South African batting lineup with his line and length. While he struggled with the ball in the second Test, the veteran pacer showed his full potential in the third Test by picking up a 5-fer in the first innings at an economy of 1.80. Bumrah was Dean Elgar’s nemesis during the series, picking up his scalp all four times and creating winning chances for the Indians.
#3: MARCO JENSEN
While Petersen and Elgar hogged the limelight with their superb batting performances, the trio of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jensen silently did their job of containing the Indian batsmen. While the former two are now veterans of the game, it was Jensen who had the most impact, taking crucial wickets on his debut. He posted figures of 4-55 in the second innings of the Centurion Test, before bettering those figures with a superb 4-31 in the second Test. His economical bowling was critical in containing the Indians to 202 in the first innings, giving the Proteas a decisive advantage in the match.
Jensen followed it up with seven wickets in the third Test, taking his total wicket count to 19 in the series, just one below Kagiso Rabada. He took a total of three 4-fers in the series at an average of 16.47, and has a bright future ahead of him in the longest format of the game.
#2: DEAN ELGAR
Prior to the start of the series, Dean Elgar had the difficult task of leading a relatively inexperienced team against an all-conquering Indian side. His task was compounded by the sudden retirement of Quinton de Kock midway through the series, leaving him the sole experienced batsman on the squad. Not only did he lead his team from the front on the field, but his gutsy knock at Wanderers was key to their victory. Elgar finished the series with 235 runs at an average of 47.0. That includes a 77-run knock in the second innings of the first Test and the highly praised 96 not-out in the second Test. By leading his team from the front, Dean Elgar established his credentials as South Africa’s unrivalled leader.
#1: KEEGAN PETERSEN
While Dean Elgar played the role of the anchor throughout the series, it was Keegan Petersen that surprised the Indian bowlers with his resilience. After getting out twice cheaply in Centurion, Petersen made a solid impact in the second Test, partnering with Dean Elgar to take South Africa to victory. In the third Test, Petersen was given a lifeline when he was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on the first ball, and made the most of the opportunity by going to score 82 runs in the second innings of the third Test to give South Africa a memorable series victory. By scoring 276 runs at an average of 46.00, Petersen became the top scorer of the series. For his part in winning the series for the Proteas, he was awarded the Man of the Match for the third Test as well as the Man of the Tournament.
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