Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team failed in their bid to win their first-ever Test series in South Africa as they lost the Cape Town Test by seven wickets to lose the series 1-2.
Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team had come to South Africa with the main aim of securing ‘Mission World Domination’. They had made a fantastic start in Centurion. But, a loss in Johannesburg, especially unable to defend 240 in the fourth innings hurt India immensely. Four days later, their Mission ended in a brutal way. Keegan Petersen’s twin fifties, combined with hostile spells from Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen as well as India’s collapses with the bat saw them lose the Cape Town Test by seven wickets. With this, they lost the series 1-2, and their mission to win a first-ever series in South Africa will have to wait a couple of years more.
In the Cape Town Test, none of the batsmen managed to string a solid partnership. Had it not been for Virat Kohli’s 79, India might not have been able to reach 223. Jasprit Bumrah’s 5/42 set the stage for a brilliant 13-run lead. But, India failed with the bat yet again in the second innings. Take out Rishabh Pant’s 100 and extras tally of 28, the rest of the batting contributed just 70 runs.
Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen’s 78-run stand on day 3 had already dimmed India’s chances. When Petersen was dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara, the force was with South Africa. Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen’s solid stand ensured South Africa made a brilliant comeback after losing in Centurion.
The Cape Town Test, though, will be remembered for the brilliance of Keegan Petersen. It was his knock in both innings that held South Africa together. The 72 was crucial despite South Africa conceding a lead of 13 runs. But, it was the spell of Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, and Rabada that gave South Africa the platform for the win. Jansen and Rabada’s strikes of Pujara and Rahane on day 3 ensured India would find it difficult to set a big total. Pant had ensured India’s bowlers had something to bowl at in the fourth innings with a brilliant century.
But, Elgar and Petersen took South Africa past 100 and that was the body blow. Petersen, on day 4, survived a dropped chance with Pujara fluffing an easy catch off Jasprit Bumrah. Rassie van der Dussen survived a review on a couple of occasions. Together, Petersen and van der Dussen ensured the first hour went their way.
Petersen missed out on a century when he dragged Mohammed Shami’s back of a length delivery back onto his stumps for 82. For a period of four overs, India maintained the pressure. But, Temba Bavuma’s two fours off Bumrah eased the pressure and at the lunch break, South Africa needed 41 runs for a win.
The Indian cricket team seemed to have thrown in the towel after the end of the lunch break. Bavuma and van der Dussen regularly found the boundary and the target came down to under 20 runs. The end came in chaotic fashion for India. In the 64th over bowled by R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav had a wild throw at Pant. With no one backing up, five runs were conceded. Bavuma then sealed the deal with a slog sweep of Ashwin as South Africa won the match and the series.
After the win in Centurion, India had ended 2021 as a golden year in their cricket history. They had breached two fortresses. But, in the space of seven days in 2022, all their hopes of World Domination have come crashing down. With all the drama that happened on day 3 with regards to the DRS, this Indian cricket team will not leave Cape Town on a good note. The burden of not winning against a weak South Africa side that also saw Quinton de Kock quit mid-series, with potentially the best team that they had, will haunt Kohli’s team for a long time.