Batting in South Africa in Test cricket hasn’t always come naturally to Indian batters. Most players struggle to compete against the bounce and pace the fast bowlers extract from the surface. A few players have been exceptionally successful though and once-in-a-generation players like Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli have relished the chances of batting in South Africa, where the Proteas bowlers have been made to work hard to get their wickets.
In this piece, we’re looking at the top-five Indian run-getters in Test cricket in South Africa. The names on this list wouldn’t surprise anyone as they are a few of the best batters in the history of Indian cricket.
SACHIN TENDULKAR (1161 Runs)
Arguably the greatest of all time had to be the leader of the pack when it comes to runs in South Africa. Sachin Tendulkar loved batting on fast and bouncy tracks and it always got the best out of him. Tendulkar played 15 matches in South Africa, the most for any Indian player and smashed 1161 runs in those 28 innings. He averaged 46.44 in those fifteen games and scored five hundreds. He played against arguably the best fast bowlers the world has ever seen in Allan Donald or Dale Steyn at the peak of their powers. Tendulkar was never fazed by the challenge and his last century in South Africa was the real special one, his fiftieth in Test cricket.
RAHUL DRAVID (624 Runs)
The wall had to make this list and with 624 runs in South Africa, he is India’s second-highest run-getter in those conditions. Even though Dravid has scored some decent runs in South Africa, the current Indian head coach wouldn’t be overjoyed with his average of 29.71. In 11 games, Dravid just managed to score a solitary century but it is fair to say that he struggled in those fast and bouncy conditions in South Africa.
VVS LAXMAN (566 Runs)
The very special batter in VVS Laxman enjoyed his time in South Africa in Test cricket. He may not have managed to get a century in the country, but he was still a tough nut to crack for the Proteas bowlers over the years. Laxman, in 10 matches, scored in excess of 500 runs at a healthy average of 40.42. He would have loved to convert his four fifties into a century but it wasn’t to be for the Indian middle-order batter.
VIRAT KOHLI (558 Runs)
Talking about class, no one has ever looked so comfortable in South African conditions as Virat Kohli looked in the 2018 tour. Kohli has loved his time so far in South Africa and in just five Tests, he has scored 558 runs with a couple of centuries to his name. His average of 55.80 is the best for any Indian batter who has played more than two Tests in South Africa. The 2021-22 tour would be the perfect timing for him to break his run of not scoring an international century for more than two years. Kohli fans would be hoping that number 71 is just around the corner.
SOURAV GANGULY (506 Runs)
Finally, we have Sourav Ganguly as the fifth-highest scoring Indian in South African conditions in Test cricket. Dada scored 506 runs in eight games at a decent average of 36.14. He scored four half-centuries in South Africa and would be gutted not to convert even one of those into a big hundred. His best was 73 in those eight games.
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