India was chasing a target of just 208 to win, but came unstuck against South Africa’s quick bowlers on the kind of fast, bouncy pitch the Indians would have been expecting to be tested on in South Africa.
Among the “mistakes” Kohli identified were the batsmen not standing up enough, and giving away a few extra runs in South Africa’s first innings after they had been reduced to 12 for 3.
India captain Virat Kohli told the press: “We were very well prepared”. Vernon Philander alone took six wickets, with Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada picking up two apiece.
On just another of those insane, see-sawing days of modern Test cricket at this quirky venue on Monday, the Proteas’ 72-run victory on day four – though the game itself required less than three – means the tourists will have to enter uncharted waters if they are to earn that elusive maiden series triumph on our soil. Further, Morkel and Philander continued to dominate as India kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Earlier, it didn’t look so bright for the South Africans. From 72/3, India went down to 82/7.
After high-intense contest between bat and ball throughout four days, albeit only three days play happened as the third day was washed out; Vernon Philander-inspired South Africa emerged victorious over India by 72 runs at Cape Town. The previous record was nine dismissals (eight catches and one stumping) by MS Dhoni against Australia at the MCG in 2014-15, his final Test match.
Clean sweep for South Africa, even? In the end, they were found “leaving” the ground as the second best side. “It’s something we have to counter”. Much to the anguish of the capacity crowd, just when it seemed we could have some play, the rain became heavier.
Rohit Sharma was bowled comprehensively soon after Kohli went – and an over after he was dropped in the outfield. While the other batsmen, apart from Hardik Pandya in the first innings, played defensively and couldn’t score runs, de Villiers attacked in both innings. Wriddhiman Saha too did not bother the scorers as he shouldered arms to a ball from Steyn to walk back for a duck.
Then he pushed a delivery wider of Quinton de Kock but it came back sharply and the left-hander played inside it. Instead, he put the blame on his batsmen for not being able to string together partnerships in their pursuit of 208 on the fourth day. When AB de Villiers took the attack to India in the first innings and changed the momentum of the game, and when Pandya took the bowlers on in a counter-attack few could have anticipated. It wasn’t quite stealing defeat from the jaws of victory, but it was a painful reminder of why Indian teams of the past had never succeeded in South Africa.
South Africa began the day on 65 for 2 with a wonderful 142-run lead but Jaspreet Bumrah (3-39) and Mohammed Shami (3-28) wasted no time in ripping through a Proteas’ batting order that struggled with the bounce and seam on offer on a surface that was as lively as ever after a day under covers on Sunday.