India vs South Africa: From Faf du Plessis' gritty knock to Parthiv Patel's drops, turning points in Centurion Test

South Africa managed to eke out important contributions from a number of its batsmen aside from the Lungisani Ngidi show; India, meanwhile, had little to show for other than Virat Kohli’s first innings hundred.

FirstCricket Staff, Jan 17, 2018 21:28:28 IST

India lost their first Test series since 2015, also their first under Virat Kohli, at Centurion’s SuperSport Park on Wednesday. Debutant pacer Lungisani Ngidi took six wickets for just 39 runs to send India hurtling towards a chastening 135-run loss.

India vs South Africa: From Faf du Plessis gritty knock to Parthiv Patels drops, turning points in Centurion Test

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi, second right, took six wickets to seal his team's win against India in Centurion. AP

Apart from Ngidi, South Africa managed to eke out important contributions from a number of its batsmen, such as Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, among others. India, meanwhile, had little to show for other than Kohli’s first innings hundred.

We take a look at some of the turning points of the match:

Dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ajinkya Rahane: In his 33 Tests as captain preceding this, Kohli had not fielded the same eleven in consecutive Tests. That he kept the streak going in Centurion was of little surprise. What did raise quite a few eyebrows was not playing Bhuvneshwar Kumar — his best bowler and among the most assured batsmen on view.

His replacement, Ishant Sharma, didn’t perform poorly either — as his five wickets in the match suggest — but that doesn’t offer much by way of explanation. Also, India did miss Bhuvi’s tenacity with the bat, especially in the first innings, where his doughty batting could have meant a meaningful partnership with Kohli, and possibly a defining lead.

Another notable absentee from the playing eleven was Ajinkya Rahane. Easily the best batsman in the side in overseas conditions, the Mumbai batsman was made to warm the bench for Rohit Sharma over better recent form. Rohit, despite scores of 11 and 10 from his twin outings in Cape Town, kept his place, while Rahane was once again ignored. A batsman of his class and pedigree would have come handy on a wicket that had variable bounce.


South Africa's batsman Hashim Amla‚ far left, plays a side shot as India's wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, second from left, and teammates watches during the first day of the second cricket test match between South Africa and India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Parthiv Patel dropped Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar in each innings. Both batsmen scored half-centuries.

Parthiv’s drops: Another change in the playing eleven, though an injury forced one since regular wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha developed a niggle, was Parthiv Patel. Patel had a below-par outing; he didn’t attempt a regulation catch from Elgar on Day 3 of the Test, and the southpaw went on to score a gritty fifty. What’s worse, he pointed towards Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip after his goof-up, evidently suggesting it was first slip’s take. It was not his only drop though. In the first innings of the same Test, he dropped Hashim Amla off Ravichandran Ashwin, and the right-hander went on to score 82.

Faf du Plessis’ batting in first innings: The South African skipper played a typically subdued knock in the first innings that not only bailed his team out of trouble, but in hindsight, laid the foundation for the win. No stranger to rearguard actions, du Plessis arrived at the fall of AB de Villiers, and was the ninth man out. By the time he was cleaned up by Ishant Sharma, he had added 134 runs with the middle and lower-order. His 142-ball 63 was a grind that was not always pleasing to the eyes, but du Plessis displayed the required temperament and skills to bat his team to safety.

No new ball: Another baffling decision from the skipper, this one could well have been detrimental to India’s fortunes in the Test. In the first session of Day 4. Mohammed Shami snared three wickets, and looked good for few more. However, Kohli didn’t take the new ball in the second session, frittering away the advantage a rhythmic Shami bowling with a shiny red ball would have brought. Even with the old ball, Shami — one of the finest exponents of reverse swing in the team — was given just one over, and instead of bundling out the hosts cheaply, India were left to chase 287.

Run-outs: Run-outs in any form of game are criminal; in Tests, they are inexplicable. India had a total of three run-outs in the match, and two of them came in the first innings when India were trying to get close to the South African tally of 335 runs. Hardik Pandya didn’t ground his bat and Cheteshwar Pujara, perhaps in the hurry to get off the mark, was done in by a direct-hit from Ngidi. The twin dismissals pegged India back. Then in the second innings, Pujara took on de Villers’ arm for a needless third run, and was run out. India surely needed better from their No 3.

The Great Diwali Discount!
Unlock 75% more savings this festive season. Get Moneycontrol Pro for a year for Rs 289 only.
Coupon code: DIWALI. Offer valid till 10th November, 2019 .

Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 21:28:28 IST

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
6 New Zealand 4784 252