South Africa bowled India out for 151 runs in the second innings of the second Test in Centurion to win the Test by 135 runs and reclaim the Freedom Series.
Lungi Ngidi, who is playing his first Test, was the wreaker-in-chief for South Africa, picking up six wickets for 39 runs. Lungi finished the match with seven wickets.
Before both teams head off Johannesburg for the last test, let’s take a look at what has gone wrong for the Indian Cricket Team in South Africa till now.
1. Lack of practice
Practice makes a team perfect but Team India like to think otherwise. India arrived in South Africa only one week before the important series and cancelled the one warm-up match scheduled. They decided to have their own practice sessions instead. The way Indian players batted, it looked like, one warm-up game wouldn’t have been enough, but since India has been playing in the sub-continent for such a long time, a practice game wouldn’t have been that bad an idea. In 2017, when India went to Sri Lanka, which is very similar to Indian condition, still they opted to play a practice match. A tour match would have given them a hang of the South African condition and the Indian batsmen could have applied themselves better.
2. Dismal batting performance
You can be a great batsman in the sub-continent, but once you go to South Africa, Australia or England, it’s a different ball game altogether. The ball moves a lot in these conditions, whereas in India, you can go through with your shots. Most of the Indian batsmen nicked themselves out. Instead of playing the waiting game and judging the movement, they hurried into the shots. The Indian batsmen were exposed on Day 1 of the first Test itself. Vijay and Kohli fished outside the off-stump, Dhawan played a rash shot. As the series, went on the Indian batsmen started leaving deliveries outside the off-stump, but didn’t look out for the one that comes in, getting out LBW in the process. Captain Kohli was the lone wolf who showed in the second Test that if one applies himself, runs can be scored against a quality bowling attack.
3. Parthiv Patel’s butter fingers
When Parthiv Patel was brought in to replace Saha in the second Test, the team knew about Patel’s mediocre record as a keeper. He may be great with the bat, who has played a lot in the domestic circuit and has gained a lot of experience, but though he is a keeper, keeping was never his forte. Catches win matches but forget catching, he didn’t even react to a catch. Dean Elgar nicked a delivery off Bumrah in the second innings, Parthiv hardly moved thinking the catch was going to the first slip, Elgar went on to score 61 runs. In the first innings also, he dropped Du Plessis. Dinesh Kartick, who has been called in from India in place of injured Saha, is likely to replace Patel in the third Test in Johannesburg.
4. Team selection
Rahane should have played since the first Test, he may have had a below average Test series against Sri Lanka, but he has been a consistent performer outside the country, His inclusion would have a made a difference. KL Rahul was brought in to replace Dhawan, unfortunately he didn’t do well. Dhawan doesn’t have a good record overseas, but if he had to be played in one of the Tests, then he should have played at Centurion. It doesn’t make sense to play him on a green top in Cape Town where he is bound to struggle. And the other selection decision which went over everybody’s head was Bhuvneshwar. He was the star bowler in the first Test and next Test he was benched.
5. Run outs adding to the misery
Cheteshwar Pujara became the first batsman to be run out in both innings of a Test match since December 2000. In the first innings also Hardik Pandya was caught napping when he fell short of his crease. Pandya was lazy enough to not drag his bat and as result lost his wicket. Meanwhile, Pujara has been part of part of six of India’s last eight run-outs in Tests. Getting run out is a cardinal sin in Test cricket yet India is guilty of committing it thrice in the second Test.