India tears up script
Nearly 8 months ago, I wrote about what my preferred sporting moment was. #2 on the list was a series win in South Africa
Well, India took one small baby step towards that when they beat South Africa by 123 runs in the first test at the Wanderers
. This is the first ever time India have won a test match in South Africa.
Yours truly had predicted a 2-0 loss in the tests
(for what it's worth, I've now got all three predictions wrong!). The batting in the one-day series was pathetic
, the performances in the lead-up to the tour were far
. Maybe the test team wasn't too bad, given the last test they played in resulted in a series win in the West Indies after 35 years
Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Admittedly, the pitch was a good one to bowl on, but the top order flunked in both innings (156/5 and 119/5). A lot of the batsmen got starts but didn't get the big scores - Sehwag (33), Dravid (32), Tendulkar (44), Laxman (28) and Ganguly (25). There was a definitely a scare early on today when Pollock and Prince put on 70 runs in 14 overs. VRV Singh
has promise, but looks unlikely like taking wickets. Is he going to contribute more than Pathan? I'm tempted to think so, given that he looks far more likely to contribute
to someone at the other end getting wickets than Irfan Pathan. As far as their batting abilities are concerned, Pathan is definitely better, despite VRV's merry slogging in both innings. His first innings slog was especially crucial since it added 40-odd runs, helped Ganguly get to 50 and forced South Africa's openers to spend half an hour extra on the field when they would have mentally been prepared to bat after Sreesanth got out.
As for the key contributors, the beauty of the performance was that there were so many: Sreesanth, Zaheer, Laxman, Ganguly, Kumble, the catching overall, Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag's second innings blitz, the lower order batting, etc. It was one of the rare instances when the whole was greater than the sum of the parts!
You can vote in the poll
to pick your #1 recent overseas victory by India.Update
: Lest I sounded as though I was sure that India would win the series, I'll hasten to point out that there have been, based on my findings, seven series in test history where a side has come back from 1-0 down to win a three test series 2-1 - England v Pakistan in 1982
, South Africa v New Zealand
, Pakistan v Zimbabwe
, Sri Lanka v Pakistan
(all in 1995, oddly!), Sri Lanka v New Zealand in 1998
, England v Sri Lanka
and India v Australia
(both in 2001, within a couple of days of each other!)
Labels: india, south africa