Keegan Petersen notched up a brilliant 82 as South Africa on Friday won the decider at Cape Town by seven wickets, denying India an opportunity to win their first-ever Test series victory in the Rainbow nation. Chasing 212 at the Newlands wicket on the fourth day, Petersen anchored the Proteas innings as they scripted a come-from-behind series win.
Rassie van der Dussen (41) and Temba Bavuma (32) also chipped with unbeaten cameos to put on 57 for the fourth wicket as the South African batting unit gained control over the match.
India had won the first Test by 113 runs but South Africa registered wins in the second and third Test to clinch the series. A win in Cape Town would’ve helped the Virat Kohli-led unit achieve something unprecedented on the South African soil before Petersen entered the scene and scored 72 & 82 in both innings, finishing as the top run-scorer of the series with 276 runs in three Tests.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir also heaped praise on the 28-year-old Petersen, describing him as one for the future. Gambhir also pointed out how Petersen played a crucial role in bolstering the South African batting camp after Quinton de Kock’s departure after the first Test.
“He definitely looks like a future star for South Africa. The Proteas lost De Kock but Petersen’s form and contributions have been impressive in their series win. For me, he was the standout player for the hosts. I think a player’s form is more important than his reputation. In international sport, ultimately it’s all about form. If your form is good, you can tackle any batting unit,” said Gambhir on Star Sports.
“Also, you need to give your bowlers enough runs on the board to defend. We had hoped for a 300-350 total from the Indian batting unit but we didn’t see the batters fulfil the expectations. India managed to cross the 300-run mark only once in the series during the series opener in Centurion,” he further said.
He was also adjudged the Player of the Match for his batting display and Petersen said the feeling hadn’t sunk in yet.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s a mixed bag, to be honest. Happy, emotional. I was trying to be positive and then build on that. It’s been difficult conditions all around and was just sticking to my guns. It’s been a long journey, can’t tell the whole story now, won’t be over till tomorrow morning,” said Petersen in the post-match presentation.
After the Test rubber, the action now shifts to the three-match ODI series, beginning January 19. KL Rahul will be seen leading the side instead of Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out of the series with a hamstring injury.