NEW DELHI: The ongoing four-test series that kickstarted last week at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, is a golden opportunity for South Africa to try and maintain their dominance. The team decisively won the Twenty20 cup and a one day international series recently.
Having said that, the four-test series is just as important to the Indian side as well. This is just not just another test match. It’s the first one in which India will pit themselves against South Africa at home, since they climbed to the top.
The Test series is set to test the skills of both the teams to the fullest. While South Africa is striving hard to hold on to its position, India seems to be finding creative ways to end their streak.
The Big Picture
The on-going test series can be rightfully labelled as the Indian team’s homecoming since it’s been two years since India played a test match in the country, and five years since India played host to South Africa. Since then, South Africa has hosted and outstripped India not once, but twice—in the years 2010 and 2013.
A lot has changed for both teams since then. South Africa has witnessed a change of captain and coach.
India, on the other hand, will be playing a test game without a bundle of great players for the first time since 1988, viz. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VirenderSehwag, SouravGanguly and VVS Laxman. Also, the series is ViratKohli’s first home series as test captain, and undoubtedly the Delhi lad can already be seen making his mark.
For the currently fifth-ranking Indian team, this Test series is a chance to rise up to 2nd place on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) test rankings. But the ascent won’t be easy for India, as chasing down South Africa would require India to win all four tests.
On The Field
South Africa got completely outplayed in the first match, which ended on 7th of November in Mohali. Given this, the team will probably have a hard time maintaining their morale and supremacy.
India (325 & 64/2) overcame South Africa (265 & 121) in the first Test match by seven wickets and 108 runs. Following the stats of the first Test series, the defeat was a massive setback for South Africa’s quest to win in all the three formats on their marathon 72-day tour.
Apart from the impressive batting, it’s India’s tremendous bowling that is to be credited for their first win. Even premier South African batsmen, Plessis and Elgar, were fazed by the ball turning so viciously. Bowlers who proved to be a real headache for the opposition were RavindraJadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored 8 wickets each in both innings combined.
On the first day of second test match that kicked off on 14th November at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, South Africa were bowled out for 214 before India jaunted to 80-0 at stumps. Shikhar Dhawan (45 not out) and Murali Vijay (28 not out) were able to cut the deficit to just 134 runs.
The second day of the match was wiped out by the rains even before India could begin to cover the first-inning deficit and generate a lead.
The rain proved to be a blessing for South Africa since they needed to reflect on their mistakes and recover. The rain also helps South Africa since two of the premier bowlers of their pace pack, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, have been injured.
The match is on hold till the weather clears out and is proposed to be held on 18th of November, Wednesday. With two test matches still left to be played to decide the winner, it will be exciting to see which team succeeds in claiming the prestigious title.
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