South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day December 29, 2010

Laxman's second-innings act

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
VVS Laxman's classy batting, and some inspired bowling set up another overseas win for India at a venue where they had a poor record

The 87-run win in Durban was yet another illustration of the remarkable improvement in India's away record over the last decade. They have won 23 overseas Tests since January 2000, which is ten more than they managed in all matches prior to 2000. Since January 2007, India have been beaten in only two away series: they lost 1-2 to Australia in 2007-08, and a few months later went down by the same scoreline to Sri Lanka.

In recent years, India have also managed to win at venues which hadn't been good for them historically. Prior to this win in Durban, they won in Kingston in 2006, at a venue where they had lost six out of nine previous Tests, and in Perth in 2008, after losing their two previous Tests there. India haven't yet won a series in South Africa, though, and the next Test in Cape Town provides a great opportunity to win in a country where they have the poorest away record.

It was also the fourth time since 2008 that India have managed to come back and win immediately after an innings defeat. In 2008, they lost to South Africa in Ahmedabad and won the next match in Kanpur. In the series in Sri Lanka, the innings defeat at the P Sara Oval was followed by the 170-run win in Galle. More recently, in the home series against South Africa, India won by an innings in Kolkata after losing the first Test by an innings in Nagpur.

After being clobbered all over the park in Centurion, the Indian bowlers put in an exceptional performance at Kingsmead, allowing South Africa only 346 runs in two innings. In fact, it's the third time since 1980 that India have bowled out the opposition for less than 225 in both innings of an overseas win (excluding Test wins in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe). India had earlier achieved the feat at Headingley in 1986, and in Kingston in 2006.

India's away record
Period Played Won Lost Draw
Since Jan 2000 63 23 21 19
Since Jan 2007 23 9 7 7
1990s 39 1 15 23

South Africa's woes at Durban continued as they lost their third consecutive Test at the venue - they had previously lost to Australia and England in 2009. Since their readmission to cricket, they have won eight and lost five Tests at Durban. However, they have won 14 and lost just three matches at Cape Town, which is the venue for the third Test.

The win further improved MS Dhoni's record as captain - he has won 14 games and lost just three. His win-loss ratio of 4.66 is second only to that of Don Bradman, among captains who have led in at least 20 Tests.

Best win-loss ratio in Tests (min 20 Tests as captain)
Captain Played Win Lost Draw W-L ratio
Don Bradman 24 15 3 6 5.00
MS Dhoni 23 14 3 6 4.66
Steve Waugh 57 41 9 7 4.55
Mike Brearley 31 18 4 9 4.50
Lindsay Hassett 24 14 4 6 3.50
Viv Richards 50 27 8 15 3.37

India may be winning matches consistently, but not tosses: in the last 14 Tests that Dhoni has captained, he has won just one toss. In contrast, in his first nine Tests as captain, he won six tosses.

Despite losing the toss yet against in Durban, India's batting was rescued in both innings by VVS Laxman, who was the highest scorer in both innings. Laxman has a superb second-innings record, but it's even better in matches that India have won. His 96 was his 11th fifty-plus score in the second innings in wins, the most by any Indian batsman. He is followed by Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, who have nine such knocks each. The record is held by Matthew Hayden who has 18 fifty-plus scores in the second innings in wins. Laxman's stunning average of over 67 in the second innings in victories is the best among Indian batsmen, and fifth overall.

Best Indian batsmen in the second innings in wins (min 600 runs)
Batsman Matches Runs Average 100 50
VVS Laxman 31 1217 67.61 2 9
GR Viswanath 18 767 54.78 2 3
Sachin Tendulkar 41 1247 51.95 3 6
Rahul Dravid 40 1231 51.29 2 7
Sourav Ganguly 28 658 50.61 0 4
Sunil Gavaskar 19 633 42.20 2 3
Virender Sehwag 24 718 37.78 0 5

Of the 51 times that India have set the opposition a target of over 300 in the fourth innings, they have won 29 and drawn 21. Their only loss came against Australia at Perth in 1977, when Australia successfully chased down a target of 339 to win by two wickets.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raman on December 30, 2010, 18:12 GMT

    VVS Laxman is Very very special. How he didn't make theCricinfo All time India Xi is beyond me. He has won India 3 tough games this year. vs SL, vs Aus & now vs SA. And saved test vs NZ.

    VVS VVS VVS VVS. . . . . . . . .

    That India cricinfo xi needs to be revisted - Laxman in for Hazare & Zaheer in for Prasanna. Take a bow: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Mankad, Kapil, Dhoni, Kumble, Srinath & Zaheer.

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    @chaco.. i dont think class batsman should have avg. of 50+, Laxman bats at position 6 & 5.. Allways he should depend on tail enders to score runs.. then how can u expect 50+ avg? whatever u say.. he is crisis manager for India.. hats off to him

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Laxman may be expert at merely one skill that is 2nd inn batting in tests but SRT is the biggest sporting Icon and a true great bcz of his exceptional batting in all situations and in all formats…...Whichever stats u bring Sachin is right up there among top 3 that is his true greatness whereas all others might be exceptional in only one type of stats. For instance SRT's 50+ avg in even this stat is not bad either...................... If people think SRT makes 100s in useless causes then 13 of his 50 100s have earned him MOM award go check stats guru. ....................;template=results;type=allround;view=awards_match ................ Laxman on the other hand has only 5 MOM at a pathetic rate of MOM every 23 matches whereas SRT has 14 MOM @ MOM every 12 matches......... Besides in ODI's, in 60 % of India's tournament finals victories SRT has been MOM. And has a staggering finals avg of 55.5 & has a WC avg of 58.

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Laxman is the best player on bad wickets i have ever seen. On a difficult situation and on a double pace bowler friendly wickets he is even more reliable than Tendulkar.

  • nishant on December 30, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    People who are truly great are always remembered for there failures And those who are good (but not great) are remembered for there achievements. And SRT will always be remembered for his failures

  • Ankush on December 30, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    What we fail to understand is that Tendulkar himself doesn't say that he is God . As a human being, he can be selfish to concentrate on his 100's, but without doubt he is the best cricketer of recent times and a very humble human being..

  • Nadeem on December 30, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    VVS is definately a permanent trade mark term in cricket for now on. Very Very Special Laxman. He is too good a batsman under pressure against any team.

    What a player and what a performance by Indian team in last three years.

    Salute to Dhoni and his team. Good job.

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    Hey People, Don't talk bad about SRT. He is doing what he can and RD & VVS are also doing what they can. Haven't people waited for RD to come back to form? Yes VVS was earlier not seen as much of a quality batsman but with every test match adding up some glory to him, now he is among our main batsmen. all are good. As far as SRT is concerned, he has been consistent for a long long time. It is a special achievement all in itself. We are sitting here on our computers and writing comments. Why not to try to perform like any of these in any field of our professional or personal life and then try to comment on them? What do you people say?

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    People will never understand that no runs are ever useless. Whenever runs tend to become useless captains LARA could have gone on further in his 400 knock but team didn't need any more runs, team needed time to get opposition out so WI declared..........This is always the case. No team ever wins with mere 2nd inn performance....2nd inn is just another inn....If u see that most victories that Laxman brought was while standing with last or 2nd last wicket.....If guys like Sachin & Esp Sehwag had not scored in 1st inn the target would have been at least a 100 runs more in all those situations with last wicket he wouldn't have been able to score those additional 100 runs consequently his all those efforts would have gone in vain. Another thing is that because Laxman bbats down the order & remains Not Out at the end of 2nd inn victories his avg of 67 is actually a falsely boosted one.

  • saicharan on December 30, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    those who comment on the genius(sachin)...pls check the profile of him.....if laxman plays a good innings under pressure situations he will have a good support frm ishant, zaheer, ohja r anybody else....then he will guide to victory......but in the case of sachin his fate never changed....though he z playing for the country some people criticise him by unnecessary comments....if he wont get any support frm tailender's then what can he do....for example hyd 175.....centurion 1990's so many matches r there......he had fought for the last minute but he don't had enough support frm the other end....where as laxman had that's destiny...don't comment on sachin pls....he is saviour for indian cricket

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