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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Wristspin in focus again as South Africa return to green

Big picture

Suddenly South Africa have something to play for.

After three matches of one-way traffic and few answers to India's wristspinners, South Africa were staring at 6-0. But a change of outfit was as good as a new gameplan for them. In pink, at the Wanderers, South Africa chased a target of 202 inside 28 overs, which required them to score at more than seven runs to the over. They took more than half those runs off Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, giving the pair only three wickets. That will have boosted the hosts' confidence ahead of two must-win games to share the trophy.

Crucially, South Africa's runs did not come from one person and most of them came from the two people who had a lot to prove. David Miller showed much-needed big-match temperament, Heinrich Klaasen justified his selection and Andile Phehlukwayo put on another fine finishing effort. South Africa's next challenge will be to prove it was not a one-off. Can they pull back India's line-up again? And can they tame India's spinners once again?

India were slightly guilty of taking their foot off the gas with the knowledge they cannot lose the series. After Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli gave the team a strong start, the rest of the line-up all but fell away and lost five wickets for 76 runs. They will want more from their middle-order as they aim to close out the series before they get to the final fixture in Centurion.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa: WLLLW
India: LWWWW

In the spotlight

The focus on South Africa's middle-order and India's spinners has taken some attention off the opening partnership, but Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram will only have two more opportunities to show what they can do together. Neither has managed a score higher than 33 but together shared a stand of 43 in Johannesburg and will want to work towards giving the hosts a more solid platform to launch from. Markram may also want to seek Amla's advice about a few other things, like how to stay within the stipulated time to meet the over-rate, because another offence will see him suspended.

The honours have gone to the India's spinners who have taken their combined wicket-tally on this tour to 24. Jasprit Bumrah follows them on that list. He has five wickets to his name, one more than Kagiso Rabada and more than double that of any of his non-spinning team-mates. Bumrah has set the tone well and has had the better of Amla twice in the four matches so far. Who will win the head-to-head continues on Tuesday?

Team news

A spinner is likely to be brought back into the South Africa XI and the toss-up will be between Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Though Tahir may get in on seniority, South Africa might want to check on his mindset after the incident he had with spectators at the Wanderers, which is being investigated for racial abuse. David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen have done enough to leave Farhaan Behardien fighting for a spot against one of the allrounders.

South Africa (probable): 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Aiden Markram (capt), 3 JP Duminy, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 David Miller, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Farhaan Behardien/Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir/Tabraiz Shamsi

India attended an optional practice session on the eve of the ODI. Shreyas Iyer is set to retain his spot given Kedar Jadhav's hamstring niggle is unlikely to have healed.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Shreyas Iyer/Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Pitch and conditions

Known for being one of South Africa's slower surfaces, St George's Park should suit India's attack. The average score over the last five matches - batting first - has been 227, and a warm and humid day is forecast in Port Elizabeth. There is also a highly probability of afternoon showers.

Stats and trivia

  • MS Dhoni has spent the series inching towards 10,000 ODI runs and he is now just 46 away.

  • Results at St George's Park have been marginally in favour of the chasing team, with 17 of the 32 ODIs won by the team that fields first.

Quotes

"The guys have been specific about their training. They have been doing good analysis and have good game plans. Obviously the conditions were different. So it's a game plan that we have had in our change room, to be really positive and look to score and get into good positions."
South Africa put a lot of thought into their handling of the Indian spinners, according to Andile Phehlukwayo

  • Imperfect Pandya, impactful Pandya

    This hasn't been the most consistent of tours for the allrounder, but, as he showed once again in Port Elizabeth, he has kept finding ways to make match-turning contributions

  • Gibson's tenure twist: from honeymoon to nightmare

    After easing in with wins against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the South Africa coach's term has turned disastrous early, with five losses in six matches against India

  • Rabada fined for Dhawan send-off

    The South Africa quick lost 15% of his match fee over the incident, and gained one demerit point, taking his overall tally to five; eight points within a specified period mean a weighty suspension

  • Rohit turns around misfortune with runs

    "I get out in three matches and you start saying I am out of form. If somebody doesn't have three good matches, you say he is in bad form," Rohit Sharma said after his match-winning innings

  • South Africa's worst home-series defeat

    And there's no doubt who was the biggest cause of the hosts' woes: the visiting wristspinners, who claimed the biggest tally by India slow bowlers in a bilateral series ever

Something rare

3

No. of home bilateral series of 5 or more matches lost by South Africa, including this. The first two were both against Australia in 1996-97 and 2001-02. This is India's first series win in South Africa.

Lost the way

10/3

Runs scored and wickets lost by India in the four overs from 42nd to 45th. Lungi Ngidi sent back Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer in that phase. India could add only 34 more runs in the final 5 overs.

Second-wicket high

132.50

Average 2nd-wicket partnership for India in this series, their second-highest in any ODI series or tournament of 5 or more matches. In this series they have had 3 century stands for 2nd wkt in 5 matches.

Dhawan & Kohli

2

No. of India players to score 300-plus runs in a bilateral series against South Africa. Both have been in this series - Kohli & Dhawan. Previous highest: 285 by Ganguly in 1999-00.

Win toss, bowl first

4-0

Win-loss record for chasing sides in last 4 ODIs in Port Elizabeth since 2015. However, in the two day/night matches in last 10 years at the venue, both being in 2015, the teams failed to chase down the target.