Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019

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.

Most consecutive series wins at home

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? Continue reading “Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019”

Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019

Here are our talking points from the first two days of the 2nd test between India and South Africa at the MCA Stadium in Pune.

Faf’s toss Woes continue

Given his side’s struggles in Vizag, Faf du Plessis would have been desperate to win the toss in Pune. Unfortunately, The Proteas skipper called incorrectly- making it the 9th consecutive time in Asia that he has lost the toss. Batting first is a massive advantage in these conditions and India’s batsman again made merry, grinding South Africa to dust over two days in the hot Pune sun as they amassed over 600 runs.

More records for King Kohli

Indian skipper Virat Kohli made his seventh double century here, thus breaking the record for the most double centuries by an Indian (6 by Sachin Tendulkar & Virender Sehwag). Kohli also crossed the 7000 run landmark in tests, became the first Indian to hit double centuries against six different nations and also registered his highest individual score in the longest format of the game.

To his credit, Kohli also put the Indian team’s interest above his own. Such was his mastery that he could have easily hit a triple century had he batted for another hour or so. However he sensed that South Africa’s batsman were vulnerable and there for the taking after having spent two long days in the field and chose to declare instead. His bowlers reciprocated the faith and took out three of the Proteas’ top four, leaving the visitors in all kinds of trouble at the end of Day 2.

India line up against South Africa in the second test 2019 Continue reading “Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019”

The Faf leave, Second Innings Shami & More- Talking Points from India vs Proteas First Test Vizag 2019

A fine performance from India’s bowlers saw the hosts complete a resounding 203 run victory over South Africa on the fifth day of the first test in Vizag. The Proteas needed to bat out the whole day, but were unable to produce a redux of Adelaide 2012 or Colombo 2014 as they slumped to a heavy defeat.

Here are our talking points from Day 4 and 5.

A more than decent debut for Senuran Muthusamy: Muthusamy produced a fine performance with the bat, scoring 82 runs across both innings and remaining unbeaten in both. He deserved his maiden half century on Day 5, but was let down by Kagiso Rabada.

While his bowling may not have been as good, the Dolphins star’s resilience and doggedness with the bat will almost certainly earn him another test cap in Pune. He was promoted up the order in the second innings, and looked comfortable against the Indian spinners- far more than some of his team mates up the order.

Muthusamy’s debut means the likes of Dane Piedt, Theunis de Bruyn or even Vernon Philander may be shown the door if the Proteas selectors decide they need changes ahead of the second test.

Second innings Shami strikes again: The Indian pacer lived up to his “second innings Shami” moniker as he tore through the Proteas middle order in the first session. Shami had the trio of Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis and Quinton De Kock- all key players for the visitors, bowled and then returned at the end to take out Dane Piedt and Rabada. A deserved 5fer for the Moradabad bowler.

Second Innings Shami Continue reading “The Faf leave, Second Innings Shami & More- Talking Points from India vs Proteas First Test Vizag 2019”

India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019

Mayank Agarwal scored a brilliant maiden test double-century as India strengthened their hold on the Proteas at the end of Day 2 of the opening Test in Vizag on Thursday. Agarwal and Rohit Sharma put on 317 for the first wicket- the third highest ever for India in their history, and the hosts’ spinners reduced South Africa to 39/3 to leave the visitors with an uphill task to save the test. Continue reading “India vs South Africa Day 2 Match Report 1st Test Visakhapatnam 2019”

Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam

Rohit Sharma scored a masterful 115 in his maiden test innings as opener as India dominated Day 1 of the first test at Visakhapatnam. The hosts were at a commanding 202/0 before rain forced early stumps in the eastern coastal city.

Here are our talking points from the day’s proceedings.

A dream start for Rohit Sharma as test opener

India’s decision to open with Sharma was a hugely debated one in the lead up to this series. Many fans felt that the Men in Blue would’ve been better off blooding a younger opener, especially in light of the tough tour of New Zealand early next year.

Sharma is known for his weakness against the moving ball in the longest format of the game, and hadn’t exactly helped his cause with a two ball duck in the warm up game against the Proteas.

Today, he survived a probing opening spell from Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, with the former in particular causing him all sorts of trouble. To his credit, Sharma survived, and then cashed in against the spinners. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had said that they were looking for a Sehwag-like impact from Sharma and the Mumbai Indians star certainly delivered on that front today, with 5 sixes and 12 fours in his unbeaten 115.

India's Playing XI vs South Africa-2019

This is the first double century stand against South Africa in over a decade- the last pair to do so were Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer back in 2008.

South Africa’s decision to play 3 spinners backfires

Somewhat surprisingly, South Africa opted to play three spinners and gave young Dolphin’s all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy his debut. India on the other hand, opted to go in with only two spinners- Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.

Proteas line up against India-2019

Between them, Muthusamy and Dane Piedt bowled only 12 of South Africa’s 59 overs and conceded 66 runs. They not only failed to pick up any wickets but were also unsuccessful in stemming the flow of runs. Keshav Maharaj toiled hard from one end, but didn’t get the support he needed from the other. Would the Proteas have been better served by taking a third pace option in the form of Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortje? Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa First Test Day 1 October 1 2019 Visakhapatnam”

Talking Points- India A vs South Africa A 1st Test in Thiruvananthapuram September 2019

South Africa A’s struggles on their tour of India continued as they were comfortably beaten by the hosts in the first test between the two sides in Thiruvananthapuram. A change in personnel from the ODI’s didn’t really help the Proteas’ cause as they were outplayed in all three facets of the game. We take a look at our talking points from the fixture.

Worrying times for Aiden Markram: Markram, the A side’s captain, and the likely partner for Dean Elgar when the official senior test series begins, made only 0 and 4 in this game. He struggled badly on South Africa’s last tour to Sri Lanka, and long-suffering Proteas fans will be hoping that this India tour doesn’t go the same way for him as it did for Stiaan van Zyl four years ago. Fortunately for Markram, he’s a more natural opener than Van Zyl, and there aren’t too many contenders knocking on the door in domestic cricket back home.

South Africa’s batsmen fail again: It wasn’t just Markram, but the likes of Pieter Malan, Khaya Zondo and co. also came a cropper. Across both innings, no Proteas batsman managed to make a single half century. The highest score came from the bat of Titans keeper Heinrich Klaasen (48)- a man who has seen his international career stall over the last eighteen months or so. Batting has been a serious issue for the Proteas for the best part of this decade, and more so after the retirement of AB de Villiers. The Proteas batting was a key component of their unprecedented success between 2006 and 2014- there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the class of De Villiers, Kallis or Amla coming up the ranks.

No Anrich Nortje in the SA XI and Muthusamy underbowled: Anrich Nortje has a strong case to be in the Proteas test side next month, given that Vernon Philander doesn’t quite have the pace required for Indian conditions and Lungi Ngidi tends to struggle with heavy workloads. Nortje wasn’t even in the squad for this game, and all rounder Senuran Muthusamy, who has been talked of as a potential third spinner option for the test side, bowled just a handful of overs.

Jalaj Saxena makes his mark: Saxena stamped his authority on this game- his 61 in the first innings bailed India out after they were in a spot of bother at 199/7, and also took two wickets in the second innings.

South Africa (164 and 186) lost to India (303 and 49/3) by seven wickets.

India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?

India have today (September 12, 2019) officially announced their test squad for their upcoming home series against South Africa.

After a mediocre performance with the bat in the recently concluded series against the West Indies, Karnataka batsman KL Rahul has been axed, with the the selectors opting to bring in young Shubhman Gill into the squad. Gill captained India A in their recent test against South Africa A in Trivandrum, a game that was comfortably won by the home side. The India U19 star opened the batting in this fixture, and scored a masterful 90 in the first innings- the highest score by an individual player across both teams in this test.

As suggested by previous media reports, the selectors have also given Rohit Sharma another chance at resurrecting his test career- this time as an opener. The MI skipper is expected to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top Continue reading “India Test Squad for South Africa Series Announced- Shubman Gill in, Rohit to open?”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 4 Kingston Match Report September 2 2019

India produced a clinical performance with the ball to crush the West Indies by 257 runs in the second test at Kingston on Monday. The result makes Virat Kohli the country’s most successful captain in the longest format of the game, with this win being his 28th in charge of the side. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 4 Kingston Match Report September 2 2019”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 3 Kingston Match Report September 1 2019

India enjoyed another day of dominance with both bat and ball as they closed in on a clean sweep on their tour of the Caribbean in Jamaica on Sunday.

Jasprit Bumrah’s stunning spell had reduced the Windies to 87/7 on Day 2, and it didn’t take too much time for the visitors to wrap up the innings today. Mohammed Shami was the first to strike, with Rahkeem Cornwall only able to fend an absolute snorter to Ajinkya Rahane at gully. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 3 Kingston Match Report September 1 2019”

West Indies vs India Second Test Day 2 Kingston Match Report August 31 2019

Hanuma Vihari’s maiden ton, followed by a magnificent spell of fast bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, put India in the drivers’ seat at the end of the second day of the second test against the West Indies on Saturday. Continue reading “West Indies vs India Second Test Day 2 Kingston Match Report August 31 2019”