It may sound strange that the home side of South Africa has never beaten India at Johanessburg until the 6th of January when they successfully chased down 240 runs for the loss of only three wickets. Seeing Indian bowling dominance over the years, especially on the lively pitches, the match was expected to be a closely fought contest but the grit and determination shown by South African batsmen in the second innings were admirable. India will certainly have to do some homework if they want to win the last test match and conquer South Africa, which is their final frontier. In this post, we are going to discuss three reasons why India lost the test match.
While the pitch was far from batting-friendly, Indian batters could have done well in the second innings. Pujara and Rahane pounced on every opportunity for scoring runs in the second run and forged a partnership of more than 100 runs. It is true that the use of a heavy roller in the morning dampened the seam movement of the ball for the first one hour which allowed both veterans to score easy runs. However, once the duo got out, the rest of the batting line collapsed within 100 runs. This has not been the first time that India has seen a collapse in recent times. It now appears that collapsing after a good start has become normal in recent times.
The Indian team was under the impression that giving a target of near 200 would be enough to run down the South African batting lineup. Once Rishabh Pant threw his wicket after some minor banter with Rassie van der dussen, the message was clear to the tailenders to somehow get the team over 200 runs. Once India got that, they were pretty much over-confident and got out to some non-deserving wicket deliveries. The target of 300 runs would have put psychological pressure on South Africa. The fact that they got 240 runs to chase in the final innings with nearly two days allowed them to open up the innings freely as they scored at nearly 5 runs per over till the 15th over.
Grit and Determination of the South African batsman
While luck did play its part for South Africa as a lot of balls went past the bats without producing an edge, there is no doubt that South African batsmen were determined to draw the test match. The Indian bowling was anything but relentless but few luck along with the half-fit Mohammad Siraj allowed South Africa to survive the burst of Bumrah and Shami from time to time.
The third test will be played from the 11th of January and there is no doubt that India will leave no stone unturned to bounce back as they have done numerous times in the past. Virat Kohli is expected to make a return from an upper back spasm.