On Monday, India defeated South Africa by 337 runs in the fourth Test of the Paytm Freedom Test series and won the series 3-0. It was an emphatic victory for Virat Kohli and his boys, as they routed a team that was undefeated on foreign soil for the last nine years. Throughout the Test series, India had the upperhand over the Proteas and did not give the opposition the chance to get back in contest.
Barring the second Test in Bengaluru, which was washed away due to rain, the hosts dominated all the other three Tests and ensured their victory.
After losing out the T20 and ODI series, this particular victory would not only serve as huge morale booster, but also sends out a message to the rest of the world that Kohli's boys are ready for the next level of challenge.
On the other hand, South African batsmen need to really work hard on their batting skills as they will have to master the art of playing spin.
Let’s look the hits and flops from the Test series from both the teams:
1) Ajinkya Rahane
Jinxy became the highest run getter in the Test series. His batting performances in the final Test was outstanding where he showed his true class of batsmanship. Scoring two centuries in back-to-back innings under difficult conditions was enough to prove his mettle. He has evolved to be the most technically rich yet dependable batsman in the Indian team.
2) Ravi Chandran Ashwin
Ashwin scalped 31 wickets in the series and was duly awarded the Man-of-the-Series award. He spun a web with his magical spin around the Proteas batsmen to which the latter had no answer. After the conclusion of the series, one can boldly say that he is the best spinner in world cricket right now.
3) Ravindra Jadeja
This series marked a brilliant comeback from Jaddu who took 23 wickets and demolished the South African batting order. He played the second fiddle to Ashwin in breaking the backbone of South African batting and in the process, cementing his place in the Indian Test squad.
1) Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma may be a star in the T20 and ODI format, but when it comes to Test cricket, he has miles to go. He has no patience whatsoever that is an essential element required by any Test batsman. It’s just a matter of time before he is dropped from the Test squad.
2) Shikhar Dhawan
This has been a nightmare series for Dhawan as he would definitely like to forget this particular contest as fast as possible. Struggling with his technique and form, he might be replaced by KL Rahul for the opening slot.
3) Cheteshwar Pujara
Pujara could not do justice to his name in this particular series as he failed to get big runs and he failed at his job of providing solidarity to the Indian middle order.
1) AB de Villiers
The only South African who produced stiff resistance to the Indian team was ABD. He is the second highest run getter in the series and his batting in the final innings of the 4th Test match, where he showed tremendous resilience and defiance and tried to for push for a draw, is an example why he is the best batsmen on the planet right now. He has been consistently scoring for his team and the other batsmen could learn from him how to play Test cricket.
2) Kyle Abott
He was called as a replacement of Dale Steyn. We cannot say he filled the latter's shoes perfectly, but Abott did try his best and did his performance will definitely support him.
3) Imran Tahir
In a series where the spinners caused havoc, Tahir too gave his usual best with the ball whenever he was called for duty. It is just unfortunate that the Proteas failed to use his services perfectly, which pushed South Africa in the backfoot.
1) Faf du Plessis
The entire series has been a disappointing venture for Faf. He could hardly contribute anything to his team's cause which led to the collapse of the Proteas batting.
2) JP Duminy
A batsman of Duminy's stature is expected to perform and win matches for the team. But in this series, Duminy could hardly perform with the bat that cost South Africa the Test series.
3) Hashim Amla
Amla failed both with bat and with his captaincy. Neither could he score runs for his team, nor did his leadership skills worked, which caused South Africa to lose a Test series on foreign soil for after nine long years.
By Dipayan Saha