India conceded a seven-wicket defeat in the series decider against South Africa on Friday, as their wait for a maiden Test series victory in the country continued. The Proteas cruised to a remarkable win in Cape Town as Keegan Petersen (82) led a 212-run chase on Day 4 with ease. The victory was significant as a relatively inexperienced South African side came from 0-1 down to defeat the current world no.1 team.
While India will rue the missed opportunity, however, there were certain positives for the side on the tour and former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock listed them down during his conversation with Dinesh Karthik on Cricbuzz.
“There were only two hundreds, weren’t there? And a 96 in the series (by Dean Elgar) batting-wise. I think Day 1 at Centurion was probably the easiest of the batting conditions and KL Rahul didn’t miss up on the opportunity. He was great. It got more difficult for openers in particular with those new balls on the trampoline surfaces that we had. Rishabh Pant, that’s a natural talent and that’s why we also stressed on the point that don’t throw it away after three deliveries running down the wicket, you’re better than that. You can have a massive impact,” Pollock said.
The former Proteas skipper also praised Shardul Thakur and the bowling attack. “Thakur was brilliant at the Wanderers. I was surprised they (Bumrah, Shami and Thakur) didn’t bowl the session after lunch break. I couldn’t work that one out, thought it was almost a bit of a donation!” said Pollock.
India’s performance with the bat came under intense scrutiny throughout the series and Pollock pin-pointed the decisive moments where India “lost in the series.”
“I think where India lost in the series, twice, was in the third innings in the second and third Test. You just got around 200.. they needed to get a big score, maybe they were lured into (thinking) that 200 was enough, whereas I think they could’ve posted a lead over 300 on both occasions,” Pollock said.
“South Africa wouldn’t have been able to knock that off but I think you always do get a few positives that come out of it. I just do think India lost the opportunity coming here, having won in England and Australia. The South African side not at its strongest, having gone 1-0, you gotta feel that there’s a number one team in the world and it can ram up the home advantage there.”