For the second time in two Tests, the Indian bowlers failed to bowl out South Africa in the fourth innings as the hosts, after having chased 240 in the second Test, chased down 212 in the third Test in Cape Town and registered a memorable comeback series win after India had emerged victorious in the first Test.
However, the general feeling is that the batters must be put to more blame than the bowlers who were up against a gritty South African batting and also didn’t got the luck going their way. For it was the batters who failed to deliver on the same surfaces on which South Africa lost only 6 wickets across two fourth innings.
South Africa win the final Test by 7 wickets and clinch the series 2-1.#SAvIND pic.twitter.com/r3pGCbbaTx
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2022
As India fail to create history, here are 3 mistakes we believe could have turned the result in India’s favour.
1. Picking Ajinkya Rahane over Hanuma Vihari
Although Ajinkya Rahane made a flashy 58 off 78 balls in the second innings of the second Test, he never looked solid and confident – he hasn’t been for over a year. Hanuma Vihari, on the other hand, was stranded on 40* in the second innings and looked much assured than Rahane even while batting with the tail.
Rahane was dismissed for two single-digit scores in the third Test. While there is a big possibility that he would be dropped for the next series, one can wonder if the management had just been bolder by dropping him ahead of the third Test and having a more tenacious batter in Vihari in the line-up.
2. Not taking catches and half-chances
South Africa took their half-chances, India didn’t. As simple as that. While this may not be the most significant factor in the outcome of this Test, it did make a difference.
The South African slip catching has been excellent throughout the series and was once again in Cape Town. India, on the other hand, failed to grasp the half-chances that came their way, before Pujara put one down at first slip of Keegan Petersen in South Africa’s second innings when South Africa were still plenty of distance away from the target.
That will be Lunch on Day 4 of the 3rd Test.
South Africa require 41 runs to win.
Scorecard – https://t.co/rr2tvATzkl #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/wJBu8MQ5CC
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2022
3. Playing Ashwin as an all-rounder; could have played an extra batsman
India banked on Ravichandran Ashwin to do the all-rounder role at No. 7 what Ravindra Jadeja had done on the successful tour of England last year. However, it is a strong feeling that Ashwin, who didn’t play a single Test in England, wouldn’t have started in South Africa either if Jadeja was fit and available.
There is no doubt that Jadeja as a batsman is far superior to Ashwin and closely matches the champion off-spinner with the ball as well. Now, expecting Ashwin to score runs at No. 7 in South African conditions was perhaps too much to ask for, and his bowling didn’t produce much fruition either.
In 3 Tests in the series, Ashwin averaged 14 with the bat and eked out 3 wickets. Playing Hanuma Vihari, who can chip in with his part-time off-spin, as an extra batsman wouldn’t have been a bad choice. Of course, we have the benefit of hindsight to opine this.
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