India produced a stunning performance to crush South Africa, winning by an innings and 137 runs as they ran the Proteas out for 275 and 189 upon letting them get on with a follow on. This was preceded by a stellar batting performance masterminded and steered along by stalwart Virat Kohli, who hit a spectacular 254 not out to help India to a mammoth 601 for 5 before declaring the innings and letting India’s bowlers do the talking. The online betting community must be quite pleased with the outcome of this match, with the likelihood being that most people probably betted on India to trump South Africa, who aren’t quite the formidable force away from home.
For long now, many onlookers and former cricketing greats have been heaping praise on the Indian cricket team for its astounding balance and the bench strength it has in terms of player ability and their ability to carve out victories on a consistent basis which has seen India climb up to the top and earn the respect of its peers across the globe. Some have speculated that India is perhaps having its own little era of Australia-esque dominance, although this has not really been validated when one takes a look at how India has faltered at big tournaments, and the vacant spaces in our trophy cabinet doesn’t speak too flatteringly about our successes.
The ongoing World Test Championship is a clear vindication as to India heading towards the right direction at least in terms of how they set up in test cricket, however, as India has managed to trump South Africa again to ensure a series victory. They currently lead 2-0, and shall be confident of sealing a complete rout of this series in order to consolidate their dominance and move up the championship rankings. As we speak, India sits pretty at 1st and remains not only unbeaten, but also a side that’s on a lung-busting winning run of sorts and by the looks of it, India’s dominance isn’t about to be hurtled anytime soon.
The 2nd test shed light on how players on either side are faring and how it indicates what is to come from them, owing to their showing in the past two test matches. South Africa’s performance was quite dismal, and it doesn’t bode well for their future given how weakened their side looked. This is the same side that boasted the likes of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, AB De Villiers and so on. Although South Africa are the perennial underperformers when it comes to turning up on occasions that matter, it was quite surprising to see their debacle in this test series and even India’s most devout fans would’ve expected them to put up more fight than they did. Even though the side still boasted of a respectable line-up, with Quinton De Kock, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar forming a pretty solid backbone for the batting to take off and Kagisho Rabada being one of the most feared up-and-coming fast bowlers in the world, South Africa looked like a deer staring into headlights whenever they were put to the task either by India’s formidable batting line-up or their roster of multifarious, talented bowling attack.
Let’s take a look at the four talking points we came away with in the aftermath of the test.
South Africa look incredibly weakened
While it is perhaps unfair to compare the current dispensation with the illustrious sides of the past, it wouldn’t be off the mark if one said that this side doesn’t look quite as loaded as the South African sides of previous years. South African sides of yesteryear used to be armed with batsman of both poise and power, with the aforementioned Smith, Gibbs, Kirsten, De Villiers amongst many others having paved the path on which the likes of De Kock, Elgar and du Plessis walk. They also boasted of all-rounders like the legendary Jacques Kallis, Nicky Boje, Morne Morkel and so on, not to mention the speedy and vicious fast bowlers of the past like Dale Steyn, Ntini amongst others. While Rabada and Philander definitely aren’t shabby and are able to hold up the bowling line-up pretty competitively, perhaps South Africa hasn’t quite filled up the void left after the likes of Kallis, Smith and De Villiers stepped down. It is pretty difficult to fill a gap that massive in terms of quality since the aforementioned players were world-class players. Hopefully in the years to come, we see South Africa get back to their formidable best as more cricketing competition only equates to more entertainment for cricketing fans.
Kohli is now statistically India’s most successful Test captain
Having captained the team in 50 tests, Kohli has won 30 games, having drawn and lost 10 respectively. His win percentage sits pretty at 60%, and his legacy (which is still being built) is only bettered by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.
India’s bowling attack is firing on all cylinders
Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma consistently troubled the South African batsmen with their pace, but it was Ashwin who stole the show with this shrewd spin-bowling and ably partnered by Ravindra Jadeja.
India’s batting isn’t showing signs of slowing down
Rohit Sharma was still at his sublime best and made his case for the opener’s berth for the test side, although this means that the likes of KL Rahul shall have trouble making headway into the side.