Theunis de Bruyn’s spot in the South African lineup appears to be under serious threat as the Proteas head to Ranchi for the third and final test against India this weekend. Already 2-0 down in this series, the third test would normally only be of academic interest, but the introduction of the World Test Championship means there are points at stake, and both teams will be taking this as seriously as they did the Vizag and Pune ones.
De Bruyn’s case is an interesting one. Hailed as the next AB in South African cricket circles, he had to wait a long time for his debut despite dominating attacks for fun back home. It came two and a half years ago in Hamilton, and in the unfamiliar position of opener. The Titans star had a nightmare debut- out for a duck in the first, and run out in the second innings after a collision with Hashim Amla.
He has been in and out of the side, and only got a serious chance to cement his place in the starting XI after De Villiers retired, which was on the tough tour to Sri Lanka last year. To his credit, a fighting 101 on a turner in Colombo effectively saved his career, but mixed returns against Pakistan in the home summer and now away in India, means that his position is under threat again.
After 11 tests, De Bruyn only averages a measly 18.95. Half of them have been played away from home. Given South Africa’s representational requirements, and the fact that Zubayr Hamza is waiting in the wings, De Bruyn looks like the person most likely to be axed ahead of the home summer.
Continue reading “The Theunis de Bruyn conundrum- Should the Proteas persist with TdB ?”
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? Continue reading “Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 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.
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”
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.
Continue reading “The Faf leave, Second Innings Shami & More- Talking Points from India vs Proteas First Test Vizag 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”
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.
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.
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”
A disappointing performance from South Africa’s Women saw them slump to a 51 run defeat in the fourth T20 international at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium. With the Proteas having also lost the first T20, this result sees India clinch the five game series 2-0.
Here are our talking points from the game.
Dropped catches galore from South Africa: The Proteas Women were their own worst enemies in the field. Lara Goodall, Nadine de Klerk and Ayabonga Khaka dropped three skiers between them in the first four overs. Smriti Mandhana was given FOUR lives before eventually falling for 13.
Had the fielding been good, the visitors would’ve certainly have been chasing a more achievable total rather than the steep 141 they had to in the end.
Young Shafali Varma comes good: One of the recipients of the Proteas’ generosity on the field was teenager Shafali Verma. Out for a duck in the first T20, she could’ve again been dismissed cheaply had Goodall held on to an easy catch at mid wicket. Verma’s powerful 46 off 33, studded with five fours and two sixes, was a key reason for India getting a match winning score.
Proteas Women disappointing with the bat: Five of India’s six batsmen all struck at over a run a ball- none of the Proteas managed to do so. Tazmin Brits and Laura Wolvaardt were the only players to cross double digits, and the visitors were never really in the chase, only mustering a feeble 89/7 in response to India’s 140/4. A 51 run defeat, by T20 standards, is a massive one, and South Africa were thoroughly outplayed here. Continue reading “Five Talking Points- India Women vs South Africa Women 4th T20 October 1 2019 Surat”
South African skipper Quinton de Kock led from the front with an unbeaten 79 as the Proteas comfortably defeated India by nine wickets in Bengaluru to level the series 1-1 on Sunday.
The home side went in with an unchanged line up, while the visitors included Beuran Hendricks in place of the injured Anrich Nortje.
Like he had in Mohali, Indian skipper Virat Kohli again won the toss, but this time surprised one and all by opting to bat first. The Chinnaswamy has a reputation of being a chasing ground and India’s win percentage in T20 internationals drops to below 50% while batting first (as opposed to a near 75% win percentage while chasing). Kohli said at the toss that it was an attempt to test his bowlers ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
The opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on a quickfire 22 run opening stand before Beuran Hendricks drew first blood, with Rohit caught at slip by Reeza Hendricks. The left armer pacer has a fine record against Rohit in T20’s- 3 dismissals in 4 deliveries across 3 innings Continue reading “India vs South Africa Third T-20 Match Report September 22 2019- Bengaluru”
India started their home season with a comfortable seven wicket win as they brushed aside South Africa by seven wickets in Mohali. Here are our talking points from the game.
Another Virat Kohli masterclass:The only player to average over 50 in all three formats of the game, Kohli produced another chasing masterclass as India went 1-0 up in the series. He ensured that the hosts always remained ahead of the asking rate, and his 52 ball 72 was studded with some fine shots- none better than the flicked six off Kagiso Rabada towards the end of the chase.
He also took a fine diving catch to dismiss his opposite number Quinton de Kock just as the latter was beginning to look dangerous. Kohli was off the field in the final stages of South Africa’s innings with an apparent back problem- the only way the Proteas might have made a match of it was if he didn’t recover in time to take the crease. But he did, and once he got into his stride, the outcome was inevitable.
Temba Bavuma’s T20 debut: South Africa handed a T20 debut to Temba Bavuma and the gritty batsman made a pretty decent fist of it- scoring 49 off 43. However numbers don’t quite tell the exact story- Bavuma was 42 (31) at the end of the 14th over, and his struggles at the death meant South Africa couldn’t quite tee off. They managed only 16 runs between overs 16-19, and only got to 149 thanks to two sixes in the last four balls from Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.
Bavuma is a decent batsman, but South Africa possess too many similar players – several who can strike at a little over a 100, but take their time to get in. If they don’t convert (like Kohli did today), it doesn’t exactly help the team’s cause. Someone like Shreyas Iyer, with his ability to strike from the word go, would walk into this Proteas T20 side comfortably. Continue reading “Talking Points- India vs South Africa 2nd T20 September 18 2019 Mohali”
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.