Home > General > India draw the series 1-1 against South Africa

India draw the series 1-1 against South Africa

Source: Cricinfo.com

India showed grit and determination to bat out the 5th day of the final test match at Cape Town to draw the 3rd test and the series 1-1, to reaffirm their No 1 ranking in Test Cricket. The No 1 ranking was questioned by many before the start of the series, on the argument that it was achieved only on the back of good performances at home and that India would be found wanting on pitches in South Africa, Australia, England and so on.

And after a demoralizing defeat in the 1st test, the pressure on Indian team was immense. They had to silence the critics and prove their worth against a fired up South African side. And India came back spectacularly to win the 2nd test and draw the 3rd to achieve what no other Indian team had been able to in the past. This is the first time India has managed to draw a series in South Africa after 4 previous attempts had resulted in 0-1, 0-2, 0-1 and 1-2 scorelines. Also, with this series result, MS Dhoni kept his record intact of being unbeaten in a test series as captain so far.

The match had begun with MS Dhoni winning the toss for a change and asking South Africa to bat first. It was expected to be bowling friendly conditions on the first morning and India did make some early inroads. But, it was that man again, Jacques Kallis who played a sensational knock of 161, which put to rest India’s hopes of bowling out South Africa cheaply. This was Kallis’ 39th test century bringing him level with Ricky Ponting at the second position in the all time list of century makers behind Sachin Tendulkar. South Africa hence reached a good total of 362.

India’s first innings was built around 2 wonderful knocks from Tendulkar and Gambhir. Tendulkar amassed his 51st test century and carried the innings through till the end, scoring a crucial 146, while Gambhir had given a solid foundation with a gritty classy 93. Tendulkar’s innings was so similar to Kallis in the context of the game as both of them had to bat with the lower order and the tail and get their teams to respectable totals. Infact, India’s eventual score of 364 was just 2 runs more than South Africa’s, signifying how closely matched the teams were.

With the match even after first innings, everything hinged on the second innings. After beginning with a solid 50 run stand for the opening wicket, South Africa suffered a mini collapse, and were staring down the barrel at 98/5. India were cocker hoop and had victory in their sights. What they didn’t realize was that there was Kallis standing tall between them and a potential victory. Batting with excruciating pain (due to side strain) throughout the innings, Kallis proved why he is among the best ever batsmen in history of Cricket as he stood like a rock and scored his second century of the match, becoming the first South African to achieve the feat in South Africa. His 109 not out was instrumental in allowing South Africa to virtually bat India out of the match, setting a target of 340 on the final day of the series.

India had a tough task of having to bat out the 90 overs on the final day, on a wearing 5th day pitch against a raring to go South African attack, with fielders all around the bat. It was going to be a test of character, skill, determination, courage and much more if India had to avoid another series defeat in South Africa.  India showed exactly that as they defied all South African plans, batting with a lot of patience and discipline. Gambhir was the star with his 64, wherein he played out 184 balls. Dravid (31 of 112 balls), Tendulkar (14 of 91 balls) and Laxman (32 of 67 balls) were all solid and never allowed South Africa a sniff of a win. In the end, the match ended in a draw when Smith decided to call it a day at end of 82 overs of toil for the bowlers. India had lost just 3 wickets in the whole day, which was a significant achievement, showing the resolve and mental strength which this Indian side has developed under Kirsten and Dhoni.

Hence, the most keenly anticipated series between the top 2 teams in the world came to the conclusion. A 1-1 result was a fair reflection of how the series went, the series which had it all from brilliant batting by the likes of Kallis, Tendulkar, Laxman, Amla, Gambhir, sensational bowling from Steyn, Morkel, Zaheer, Sreesanth, Bhajji, some scintillating fielding efforts, and some real aggression, verbal duels, drama, controversy and so on. It was really a complete series and a treat to watch. It was also a series where India gave more credibility to their ranking and status in test Cricket, silencing many a critic.

Ironically, the last 3 test series between India and South Africa have all ended with 1-1 scoreline, showing how tough it is to separate these 2  wonderful test teams. Kallis was the deserved Man-of-the-Match as well as Man-of-the-Match series for being the highest run getter in the series and also picking up few important wickets.

The action now shifts to 5 ODI’s which begin on 12th January and end on 23rd January. Before that, there is the one off T20 on 9th January. Let us see who comes out on top in the shorter versions of the game.

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