India smashes South Africa to smithereens

Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane celebrates his century during 4th ODI match between England and India in Birmingham, England on Sept 2, 2014. (Photo: IANS)








Rejoicing the victory, Man of the Match Ajinkya Rahane

By Kersi Meher-Homji


Yesterday was a marvellous day for Indian cricket. It can be compared to India lifting the World Cup in 1983 and in 2011!

Not only did India defeated South Africa, currently ranked no. 1 in Test cricket, 3-0 to hold the inaugural Freedom Trophy for the Gandhi-Mandela Series but smashed them to smithereens. India beat South Africa in the Delhi Test by 337 runs. This is their biggest win ever in her 83 years of Test history.

Previously her best victory by runs was their 320 run win against Australia at Mohali in 2008.

With this facile win over South Africa yesterday, India is now ranked No 2 in Test cricket, above third ranked Australia.

In the fourth and final Test in Delhi which concluded yesterday (7th December), Man of the Match Ajinkya Rahane (127 runs) outscored the South African team (121 all out) in the first innings!

Rahane not only became the only player to score a Test century in a low-scoring series but recorded an unbeaten century in the second innings as well.

He became only the fifth Indian to hit a century in both innings of a Test after Vijay Hazare (v. Australia in Adelaide 1948), Sunil Gavaskar (three times ”“ v. West Indies, Port-of-Spain 1971, v. Pakistan, Karachi 1978 and v. West Indies, Kolkata 1978), Rahul Dravid (twice ”“ v. West Indies, Hamilton, 1999 and v. Pakistan, Delhi, 2005) and Virat Kohli (v. Australia, Adelaide, 2014).

But the man behind India’s 3-0 victory is Ravichandran Ashwin, the spinner extraordinaire and Man of the Series. Normally an off-spinner, he can turn a leg-spinner at the flick of his wrist and making a batsman’s life miserable.

He captured 31 wickets in the four-Test series at an excellent average of 11.22. His best figures were in the Nagpur Test when he spun out 12 for 98. He also scored valuable runs, his 56 in the Delhi Test and his 98 run partnership with Rahane helped India total 334 runs in the first innings.

Skipper Kohli also made valuable runs in Delhi (44 and 88) and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja made vital breakthroughs with his left-arm spin.

As India scored 334 and 5 declared for 267 in Delhi, no one can say that the pitch was poorly prepared. On the same pitch South Africa struggled and was dismissed for 121 and 143.

Credit goes to skipper Hashim Amla and champion batsman AB deVilliers to defend for close to nine hours between them in the second innings. It was slow cricket but exciting as well. No way could they have chased the win target of 481 but there was a possibility of a draw in case of poor light.

Kersi - India-vs-South-Africa-2015-Gandhi-Mandela-Series-4










This kept the crowd on their toes. The overwhelmingly superior team won in the end. Congrats to skipper Kohli and his team””especially Ashwin, Rahane, Jadeja, opening batsman Murali Vijay and wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha.


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