After a phenomenal start to the series on Day 1 of the first Test, it seemed like India are definitely going to hammer the hosts this time but once again the hosts were the better side. This was not the first time that this happened, but also on the previous occasions India played their heart out but couldn’t manage to win the test match. Cricwizz has come up with a list of such instances when India were a better side in Africa but the luck went another way. Have a glance:
January 5-8 2018 at Cape Town
Let’s start with the fresh one! In the recently concluded game, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s opening spell outclassed the Africans on Day 1. It was looking like the hosts would be back to their rooms within 200 runs but De Villiers and Du Plessis put all their experience and played a sensible knock of 65 and 62 respectively. The hosts managed to reach 286 in their first innings. Who thought that India would be under the same conditions while batting? Apart from Hardik Pandya, no one could stay on the crease for long. India, after Pandya heroics, managed to put 209 runs on the board.
The game was very well open for both the teams! India didn’t lose their confidence and rattled the African batting line-up on just 130 runs. Now, Indians had to score 208 to win the Test. But once again things didn’t go their way and the team got all-out for 135 runs. This was one of the games till date where India could have achieved success.
January 2-6 2007 at Cape Town
Another Cape Town encounter didn’t go in favour of India and that time it was under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid. The visitors started on a terrific note by scoring 414 runs in the first innings. Wasim Jaffer was the top scorer with 116 runs. South Africa, in the first innings, scored 373 runs; credit goes to Smith and Amla. Now, just when the team was in the frame of achieving history on African soil, the team got stumbled for just 168 in the 2nd innings, thus leaving South Africa to score 211 to win the game. The hosts grab this opportunity and won the game by 5 wickets, which could be India’s game.
January 16-20 1997 at Johannesburg
Sachin Tendulkar also lost a chance to win in South Africa under his captaincy. In 1997, he had a team who could achieve a victory on African soil but remained so close at the end. India after batting first, scored a mountainous 410 in the 1st innings. South Africa, in reply, posted 321 runs on the scorecard which kept them 89 runs behind India. The visitors were too good in the 2nd innings also as they declared on 266; giving a target of 356 runs to South Africa in the 4th innings. The hosts were 95 for 7 and it seemed like India have got this but a Daryll Cullinan had other plans. He saved his team from the shocking defeat by scoring 122 not-out and the game ended in a draw.
December 18-22 2013 at Johannesburg
This was probably one of the best encounters between India and South Africa till date. And it was under the captaincy of the most successful Indian skipper MS Dhoni. Just like always, India began their innings with a positive mindset with Virat Kohli scoring a century. India put 280 on the board and sent back South Africa to 244 runs in their innings. The game was very much balanced here and India took a full advantage in their 2nd innings by scoring a mammoth 421 runs on the board. South Africans were on the edge this time and were ready to be defeated for the 3rd time but once again to hosts were lucky enough to be survived through the magical efforts India put. South Africa were in need of 458 runs in the 4th innings. They reached 450 for 7 and the game ended in a draw leaving both the sides broken. This was another instance where India almost achieve the glory.
Now, with the Test matches still remaining in the ongoing series, the Indians would be hoping to change the stats this time.
Picture credits: Cricketcountry, espncricinfo and india.com