India completed a comfortable win over South Africa, thrashing the Proteas by an innings and 137 runs and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three test series.
Here are our talking points from Day 3 & 4 at the MCA Stadium in Pune
India enforce the follow on for the first time ever against South Africa
Some what surprisingly, Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to enforce the follow on at the beginning of Day 4. Kohli has traditionally been a captain who prefers to give his bowlers a break and does not usually ask the opposition to bat in successive innings.
This was the first time ever that India had enforced the follow on against South Africa. Kohli’s men are also the first to do so against the Proteas since England back in 2008. On that occasion, South Africa managed to come away with a draw at Lord’s thanks to third innings centuries from Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Neil Mckenzie. This set of Proteas batsmen is however far inferior to that batch, and there was to be no repeat of their 2008 great escape.
A record 11th home series win for India
This was the Men in Blue’s 11th straight home series victory, breaking the previous record of 10 held by Australia.
India are becoming neigh unbeatable on home turf- they have lost only one test in the last five years.
India’s seamers shine again.
India’s pacers have improved manifold in Kohli’s reign as captain. Even the likes of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav- initially considered to wayward and unthreatening have become forces to be reckoned with in the last couple of years. South Africa were expected to struggle against spinners but had an equally tough time against the pacers.
India’s fast bowlers have averaged 22 per wicket as compared to South Africa’s 76. Given that they were without ace quick Jasprit Bumrah, those are stunning figures indeed!
Is this the end of Theunis de Bruyn’s test career?
Thought to be the next AB early in his career, Theunis De Bruyn has flattered to deceive- a return of 398 runs from 22 innings at an average of 18.95 is not what South Africa would have expected from the Titans star who has dominated domestic bowling attacks back in the Republic.
Both of his dismissals in this test were easily avoidable- more a case of De Bruyn getting himself out instead of being undone by good opposition bowling. With Zubayr Hamza waiting in the wings and South African fans baying for change, this might well end up being TdB’s last test in a while for the Proteas.
The poorest South Africa side to tour India?
South African sides have always proven to be tough opposition for India at home. This side however looks distinctly average on paper, especially in the batting department- skipper Faf Du Plessis is the only player in the side to average more than 40 away from home. The likes of Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma and even Quinton De Kock all have lower away averages than Proteas all rounder Shaun Pollock. The bowlers who have bailed out the batsmen in recent years seemed to have got tired of doing it time and again, and have also been disappointing on this tour.
With England as their next opponent in the home summer, this looks like a tough period for South African cricket.