THIS is the only Indian Bowler who has taken 10 Wickets in a Test in South Africa

Venkatesh Prasad is the only Indian cricket team bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test match in South Africa as he achieved the feat in the 1996 Test in Durban.

Venkatesh Prasad is the only Indian bowler to take a 10-wicket haul in Tests in South Africa. (Image credit: Twitter)

When one looks at the current Indian cricket team bowling line-up, it is intimidating. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Siraj are top performers in all conditions. Add Ravichandran Ashwin to the mix and it is deadly. However, in the early 90s, India often struggled overseas due to the penetration of the bowlers. Only two pace bowlers carried the mantle on overseas trips. While the spinners dominated at home, the pace stock in India was low in the 90s.

But, during the tour of South Africa, one individual changed the entire perspective of Indian fast bowling. Javagal Srinath was a worthy successor to Kapil Dev’s pace bowling exploits. Joining him was a tall, lanky pace bowler from Karnataka. He used his height to perfection and generated good movement off the deck. Conditions in South Africa aided his bowling. That individual was Venkatesh Prasad.

The journey of Venkatesh Prasad

Prior to his Test debut, Venkatesh Prasad had good success in limited-overs cricket. Ever since his debut in 1994, Prasad had shown his mettle in ODIs. Armed with a clever slower delivery, he found success. During the 1996 World Cup, Prasad became part of an iconic moment in which he gave Aamer Sohail a send-off during the quarterfinal match in Bangalore. That moment had pushed Prasad to superstardom status. It also resulted in a fast-track to Test debut.

Read | On This Day: The start of Sanath Jayasuriya’s magnificent run against India in ODIs

Prasad’s first year in Test cricket coincided with India’s tours to two SENA countries in England and South Africa. In England, Prasad made a name for himself by taking a five-wicket haul on his Lord’s debut against England. After the series against England in which he finished with 15 wickets, Prasad played a total of four Tests against South Africa.

In one of the Tests at Kolkata, Prasad ended with figures of 6/104 to showcase his worth on the international stage. However, when India went to South Africa in 1996/97, Prasad showed a different side of his class. The first Test at Durban proved to be the ideal setting for Prasad to showcase his talent the world over.

Venkatesh Prasad shines at Kingsmead

The wicket in Durban had everything for pace bowlers. It was quick, it had bounce and assisted movement off the deck and in the air. South Africa batted first and they were immediately rocked by Prasad. He sent back Gary Kirsten for 2 as the left-hander dragged a full ball back onto the stumps. After a stand of 62 between Adam Bacher and Andrew Hudson, India fought back with Srinath getting rid of Bacher for 25.

Prasad came on and dismissed Daryll Cullinan cheaply. South Africa was on the ropes when captain Hansie Cronje fell to Prasad for 15. With South Africa 99/4, Hudson remained firm and pushed South Africa along. The lower aided Hudson as South Africa crossed 200. But, Prasad had other ideas. The tall pacer bowled David Richardson for 15 and sent back Allan Donald as South Africa folded for 235. Prasad ended with figures of 5/60. But, India’s batsmen failed the team miserably as they were bowled out for 100. Sourav Ganguly was the top scorer with 16.

Venkatesh Prasad creates history

Armed with a massive deficit of 135, India needed a big effort from the bowlers. Prasad answered the call and put in yet another magnificent performance. For the second time, he dismissed Kirsten, Cullinan, and Cronje cheaply. Getting the South Africa top order was crucial in India restricting them to a low score. But, it was the tail that once again bailed the Proteas out of trouble. Brian McMillan hit four boundaries and three sixes to give South Africa a big boost. Prasad came back and sent back Richardson and Donald to end with 5/93. His overall figures of 10/153 gave him a slice of history.

Prasad became the first Indian bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test in South Africa. Remarkably, he remains the only Indian to have achieved the feat. Ever since the readmission of South Africa into the international fold, he had become the first bowler to take 10 wickets in South Africa.

Sadly, India could not replicate the success of Prasad as the batsmen failed yet again. In the second innings, they were bowled out for a woeful 66 as India lost by 328 runs. It was their heaviest defeat in terms of runs at that time. India went on to lose the series 2-0 after a poor show in Cape Town. Prasad ended with 17 wickets in the entire series. Although India lost the series, it ushered in a new bowling star in Venkatesh Prasad.

Sportslumo Desk

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