India defeated South Africa in the Test series and has broken the unbeaten streak of South Africa of not losing an away Test series for the last 9 years. India has outplayed South Africa in all departments. The main reason is that the pitches prepared for the series have helped the Indian spinners. With one more Test match to go, India have a lot of positives in the Test series.
Here we look at the 5 positives from India’s victory over South Africa in the Test series so far.
1. Conducive pitches for the spinners
After the last One-day International at Mumbai where the pitch was helpful for the batting team, the team director Ravi Shastri asked for pitches that would help the home team. India heavily bank on their spinners to win matches, especially at home. In the first Test match at Mohali, the pitch turned from day one as batsmen from both sides struggled to score runs. In Bangalore, where the pitch was helpful for the batsmen, Ashwin and Jadeja picked 8 wickets. In Nagpur too the Indian spinners bowled brilliantly and never allowed South Africa to come back into the match and won the series. The Indian spinners bowled much better than the South African spinners in the Test series so far. Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 24 wickets. With one more Test match to go, the spinners would like to have another turner and the spin trio would like to spin the web around the South Africans. In the 3 matches so far 75 wickets have fallen to the spinners from both the sides.
2. Murali Vijay’s solidity at the top
Murali Vijay has been a consistent performer for India at the top since the last 2 years. He has performed in tough conditions in South Africa, England and Australia. He has now learnt the art of leaving the ball. In the ongoing Test series against South Africa, Murali Vijay has been special with his technique on tough pitches. In the first Test match at Mohali where the pitch was helping the spinners, he played with solid technique and scored an excellent 75 in the first innings. In the second innings of the first match, he played brilliantly and scored a vital 47. In the second Test match, Murali Vijay remained not out on 28 runs. In the third Test match in Nagpur where it was tough for the batsmen, Murali Vijay showed great application and scored important 40 which was the highest score of the match. He could not do anything in the second innings. He is the leading runs scorer in the Test series so far and with one more test match to go, his contribution in the last Test match would help India to register a 3-0 victory against the number one ranked team South Africa.
3. The spin trio having a big impact
In the Test series so far the Indian spin trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra had a big impact. In the first Test match, after India were bowled out for 201 in the first innings, Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra picked up ten wickets in all. In the second innings, Ravindra Jadeja picked 5 wickets, Ashwin 3 and Mishra 1; helping India to a 108 run victory. In the second Test match, Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin picked 8 wickets between them as the rest of the 4 days in the match were washed out due to rain. In the 3rd Test match, Ashwin, Mishra and Jadeja were brilliant; helping India to win the test match by 124 runs. Ashwin picked 12 wickets in the match while Ravindra Jadeja picked 4 wickets in the match and Amit Mishra picked 4 wickets in the match.
In the series so far, Ashwin has picked 24 wickets in the series while Ravindra Jadeja has picked 16 wickets and Amit Mishra has picked 7 wickets in the series so far. Ashwin has been the reason for the success in this Test series and if the pitch would help in Delhi then these three spinners would create havoc. Ashwin has been bowling his offspinners, causing trouble to South African batsmen while Ravindra Jadeja has looked in great form and Amit Mishra too has picked important wickets to help India win the series.
4. India’s fielding and catching
India’s fielding and catching in the Test series have been great. In the first Test match, the catching of Rahane in the slips was great. He took some wonderful catches which were tough on a pitch which was turning. Ravindra Jadeja too picked an excellent catch in the first Test match of Dane Villas. In the second Test match, Pujara picked an excellent catch at forwarding short leg to dismiss Faf Du Plessis. Apart from two to three dropped catches, the overall fielding of the India team in the Test series has been outstanding.
5. Ravindra Jadeja’s resurgence
Ravindra Jadeja was dropped from the Indian team after a poor performance. He picked lots of wickets and scored runs for his Ranji team. He was selected for the Test series against South Africa. In the first test match when India were struggling 154 for 7, Ravindra Jadeja scored a vital 38 which helped India to reach 201. In the third Test match too in Nagpur India were struggling at 125 for 6, Ravindra Jadeja attacked the South African bowlers and scored a vital 34 to help India reach a total of 215. Ravindra Jadeja has come back into the Indian team with a lot of confidence and if he continues to do in the last Test match then India will win the series 3-0. Apart from that he has been a thorn in Sout African team with bowling as well.