South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day

Dhoni upbeat despite missed opportunity

Sidharth Monga at Newlands

January 6, 2011

Comments: 135 | Text size: A | A

Unless the new FTP throws up another tour to South Africa very soon, or India discover three middle-order batsmen as good as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, this tour could well be their best chance to win a series in South Africa for the foreseeable future. It is a chance they missed out on after having fought hard to come back in Durban, and, more importantly, having attained a dominant position in Cape Town. Yet MS Dhoni, while conceding this was a really good chance of registering that elusive series win, said he wasn't bitterly disappointed.

"We were in a position where we could have done something really special," Dhoni said. "It could have been the first day of the first Test or yesterday where if we had got one more wicket quickly, it would have looked really different. There might have been a stiff target to chase, but we would have fancied our chances. It wouldn't have been really boring. Everyone tries to give his best, but at times things like these happen."

Dhoni said if the side had applied itself a little better in Centurion, where they disintegrated on a damp pitch, the series would have looked completely different. "We were always confident about doing well. What was important was to get outplayed rather than play bad cricket as a team. Bad start; could have applied ourselves better and got 50-60 more. But apart from that, we said to ourselves we should take care of the small things. That's what we did as a team. It is a very special series; we saw plenty of good performances from individuals in both the batting and bowling departments."

About letting the game slip away on the fourth day, Dhoni said he was disappointed on two counts: the partnership between Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, and then the extra runs that the tail added. "We were in a position where we could have been chasing 260-270 if we had got that extra wicket, but were not able to. Kallis batted really well with Boucher, and then [Dale] Steyn also scored runs, which meant we had to chase more than 300, which is very difficult."

The positive, he said, was the mental strength the side showed when it was down and written off. "We can still come back if we are 0-1 down in the series. The catching was brilliant throughout ... The fielding standard was quite good. But plenty to improve. Trying to improve in every game as a team."

Dhoni was happy with the fast bowling, but said they still could improve with the old ball when reverse-swing is not available. "Most of our fast bowlers are skill-oriented, rely on swing. It's not always with pace that we get batsmen out. They did a good job with the new ball, but we need to slightly improve after 40 overs especially with Kookaburra because there is no reverse. Interesting learning experience for our young bowlers. Overall, their performance was good."

This could also be India's last Test with Gary Kirsten as their coach, and Dhoni made his appreciation for the former South Africa opener very clear. "I wanted to Gary to do this press conference, but it seems to have slipped out of his mind. He has gone back home. He is getting old.

"We have had some fantastic times with him. He was one guy who didn't know much about Indian cricket as far as the dressing room is concerned. Most of the players have that aura. It is very difficult to come with a fixed mind. He came in with no plans; he came to see what individuals do and then made a plan, which worked for us. We were very free under him. Most of the credit should go to him also. Especially when being an India coach, all the media glare is on you.

"One of the great things that happened to Indian cricket. I don't know if this is his last Test as India coach but every member loves him and acknowledges and respects the amount of time and devotion that he has given Indian cricket."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by SunAndSea on (January 8, 2011, 20:51 GMT)

India were more competitive than on previous tours, but it's disappointing that they did not try to chase down the total on the final day of the final test. They could have made history - a series win was within their grasp. But that much-vaunted batting line-up showed a startling lack of ambition. India are the number 1 team in the world, but they don't yet have a winning mentality.

Posted by The_Professor on (January 8, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

Absolutely correct mrgupta (on January 06 2011, 21:05 PM GMT) - the majority (not sure if it was actually 99%) predicted India to lose. The_Professor (I) was amongst the very few that predicted SA WOULD CHOKE! India were very unlucky not to win the series altogether. In the 1st test, without a warm-up match (thanks BCCI) and without Zak, India was unlucky to lose the toss that decided the match. In the final test only one wicket (Kallis-Boucher) saved SA from defeat!! India is definitely a more 'complete side' (although there is a lot of room for improvement) than SA. India WILL WIN their next series in SA!

Posted by StJohn on (January 8, 2011, 9:36 GMT)

166-3 off 82 overs with a difficult, but worth trying for, 340 to win the series outright? I don't know what happened, but India all too frequently seem to lack the courage we'd hope for and expect from the No.1 Test side. I just don't understand why they didn't go for it a bit more. A rather anti-climactic, disappointing and safety-first end to an otherwise great series between two great teams. I think both SA and India need to be less cautious if they're to have any chance at domination, as opposed to being just the current leaders of a tightly grouped pack.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

INDIA is No. 1 according to the stats that too based on their stable performance...so no one can argue with who is no. 1 in test cricket...now INDIA need to do is dominance on the points....if they do that...no one will....hmmmm

Posted by Silverbails on (January 7, 2011, 19:48 GMT)

Poor captaincy by Dhoni on the SA 3rd innings definitely cost India their first deries win over the SA's!! Best chance now gone - will they ever win a series in SA? And, the "Holy Grail" for all Indians is still winning on Australian soil. Who know if and when that will be achieved? India need more positive captaincy. Ishant should be dropped, until he regains his form in Ranji trophy.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 18:46 GMT)

@A.Aafkar, its because of the number of 100's and 5 fors that you mentioned that India is a better team. They dont rely on a couple of individuals like SA did this series. But yes, SA do deserve the no. 2 spot. Had they lost this, they'd ve gone down to no 3 and England at no 2 which is just not right

Posted by FMatt on (January 7, 2011, 18:29 GMT)

@A.Afker et. al, India is going to play in England later this year, let's wait to make the claim that England is No. 1 until then :-). In case you forget, Aussie team is the weakest they have ever been in the last 20 years. India beat Aus 2-0 in a two test series in India.

@Seether1: So much is being made of Imran Tahir who is yet to play a Test. Sad if SA has to get a spinner from Pakistan to become No. 1.

"Eng will beat Ind in 3 days" claims: Again, let's wait and see. Do remember one thing: England is good at reverse swing, well, so is India. In fact, one of the advantages that SA had playing at home with the Kookaburra ball is that it doesn't reverse swing much. With all that SA had going for them (two toss wins, Zak injured the 1st test, home conditions), the series still ended up in a 1-1 tie. So India has more than proven their ability to play overseas for now. England and Australia series will tell us more. For now, Congratulations, TEAM INDIA.

Posted by ArdentCritic on (January 7, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

Like the Captain even care? I guess it is not in the Indians Bones. It was a best possible chance to win the series and like always they let it slip away by not attacking the SA batsmen on the 4th Day. What a pity. As a fan, somebody in BCCI answer me - How long do I have to put up with Dravid sub par (under 20 average) score. It is been like this for him for ever (atleast since 2007 for sure). What a pity!

Posted by SnowSnake on (January 7, 2011, 16:38 GMT)

Congratulations India for good performance. Now that series is over, I can say that SA as a team disappointed me due to their arrogance. They were #2, but right from the beginning they were acting as if they deserve to be #1. India, despite being #1 for a year did not show any such arrogance and were humble in their approach. It is difficult for me to support SA or any other arrogant team for that matter-- especially when they cannot back their words with performance. I will say one thing in support for SA however, which is that a few umpiring decisions went against them. Although India also had a few go against them, but SA got more of these bad decisions. In either case, SA played well and challanged India. India needs to be challanged as any other #1 team should be. Now let the fun of T20 and ODI begin.

Posted by cricketeria on (January 7, 2011, 15:01 GMT)

Full marks to India for drawing the series. I was expecting them to lose 2-0. They bowled well and tendulkar gambhir vvs played very well. But I was right about one thing. Sehwag is not a complete batsman. He was totally defeated in SA and has to raise his game beyond flat track bullying in the sub-continent. India deserve no.1 right now but England have a fair chance of becoming no.1 too. Eng are an extremely well-drilled unit right now and can beat India, esp. in England. Indian batsmen struggled against good swing bowling of Steyn and they'll need to get better or they'll suffer the same way against Anderson Broad etc.

Posted by davedave on (January 7, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

I don't think Dhoni is a good captain. India had a very fair chance of winning the game when 240 plus required from 47 overs with 9 wickets in hand left. But they were very defensive and always rely on Sehwag to fire and Dhoni was very happy for the drawn series rather and winning. When WestIndies and Aussies were no 1 for long period they always played to win. Dravid is a great player but his prime time had gone 2 years ago but he is still in the squad. Despite sachin's century in the first innings but look his second innings scored 19 from 90 plus balls. Pujara should come 1 down. I am really disappointed.

Posted by Nobleguy on (January 7, 2011, 14:46 GMT)

It is a pity that India could not take the last four wickets well in time and would have won the match and the series. They just lost the chance badly. Really strange that even after playing so much of cricket we are not able to find some really good quickies whereas right in our neighborhood they produce them in bulk! Had Dhoni's field placement been been more attacking, we could have seen a positive result. By the way, does our bowlers not know at all how to bowl yorkers?

Posted by LakmalPhysics_Mom on (January 7, 2011, 14:16 GMT)

for those fans who r crying about " what india do after the big three retires? what SA do after kallis retires?...... y r u stupid like this? im asking with those funny people a simple question ...."wt will u do after ur f@ther dies?"

Posted by indianzen on (January 7, 2011, 13:59 GMT)

My choice next are - Wasim Akram/Allan Donald for bowling coach & Dav watmore or other can be a batting/fielding coach.

Posted by HerbertAnchovy on (January 7, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

A good result for India I think. South Africa must have been optimistic because of their opening bowlers, solid batting and home advantage but India have done well and shown that their bowlers are much better than many people think, particularly the wonderful ZK. I think India will do well when they come to England. India deserve to be no. 1 based on their results over a long period. England may be on the rise but haven't got the consistant track record that India have. South Africa never really seem able to fulfill their potential and are currently lacking good back up bowlers. Look forward to seeing India in England and then we'll see if England are as good as recent results suggest or whether they were flattered by the sheer awfulness of their opposition.

Posted by Hindh on (January 7, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

@afker What kind of theory is that mate ,it is not the margin that matters in fact india is better becoz they beat SA on a green top after being down ,which is the quality of a champion team. England FYI are yet to beat india in a test series since 1996.

Posted by IMObserver on (January 7, 2011, 12:12 GMT)

In the first test Dhoni might have missed a trick. Once when the pitch was dodgy Bradman reversed the batting order.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 11:58 GMT)

I don't think Eng can be No1 team beating a very weak team like Todays Australia where ever it may be... I hope as per stats India still holds it's position and nobody can deny that they have some stuff... but the debate of who is the best out of stats are always there.... Australia did not really perform in India while they were No1. Does that mean India should have been No1 at that time...

I really feel as per the current performance the Top Five will be

1) India 2) South Africa 3) England 4) Australia 5) SriLanka

This can't changed unless there are more matches among them.. and as ICC is planing to start a TEST World Cup considering the rating... This is really important.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

Dhoni's attitude as captain needs to improve. He has become more adjusting captain than aggresive captain. His body launguage also does not auger well as he was iinterested in some thing else. He did not make proper bowling changes during the fourth day after Harbajan brought was back on the 4th day. He allowed Kallis to fight back with the tailenders. As a captain he should have different plan options. But his mindset was to settle down for draw, so that he can keep his captaincy as well as keep his market value in the Ad market. BCCI should make a cap for every players for their marketing business so that they can focus on cricket. India lost a golden chance of winning in SA as the next tour will not have our great players like Sachin, Rahul ,Laxman to face the SA pace battery and save India . This was the best team to win it, but Dhoni's lack of focus lost it all in the 4th day. How long Dhoni can ride on other players success.....?We need the old aggresive Dhoni ...

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

With these performance India is definitely not the No1 Test side. Its very sorry 2 see the way did India chase with that kind of batting line up as a No 1 test side.

Posted by gargi_vizag on (January 7, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

i would say fair result at the end, both teams had their chances during the last test and both of them did not take it-India when SA were 130/6 and SA when they could have upped the ante after tea and declare with about 12-14 overs left on Day 4. Some important outcomes from the series:1. Raina is still not ready for test cricket on bowler friendly tracks 2. Ishant needs to get back to domestic and maybe a season in county cricket to rediscover his bowling,should be asked to serve at domestic level for next 2 years before being considered for intl cricket. 3. Could well be time for Dravid to say good bye than wait for people to call for his blood like Saurav. 4.If India wants to stay at No.1, their captain needs to be more aggressive and be able to take more risks. Time that Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar are brought into the test team before the England tour.

Posted by Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on (January 7, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

chasing 340 on that track on a single day is impossible especially when u r batting against steyn & co. SA could not progress further because of their club level spinner. had they got a bhajji, any batting line up would have been wrapped up.

full marks to india to identify the situation and playing according to that. they lost the winning formula when they couldn't get boucher out cheaply. and south africa lost it totally by being too afraid to stake their claim on the series by declaring early. so over all its a fair result. but for india to keep on being numero uno, their bowlers need to do some soul searching.

Posted by iamgroot on (January 7, 2011, 11:00 GMT)

There were lot of comments on this site about how India will get thrashed 3-0 before this series and question marks about the India no.1 status.. I think this series proved many things..The lowest score of the series belongs to SA 131 and that came in 2nd test after having lost the first test. just goes to show the fighting spirit and great character of this indian team led by Dhoni.. Whatever he did and spoke it worked. Remember SA still didnt take all 20 wickets in every one of the 3 tests.. so called terrific bowling from steyn and morkel was good to watch but what about the result that matters? They got only 3 wickets in 2nd innings.. that proves ineffectiveness and I read somewhere in cricinfo that SA haven't won a test series at home since 2008 .And india either won or drawn test series since 2008 so you see.India has been providing good results.If you see how India fared in last 3 yrs under Dhoni you will notice better results, 16 or 17 wins and 3 losses is awesome record

Posted by IMObserver on (January 7, 2011, 10:50 GMT)

Dhoni's captaincy was some what below par. Especially I was surprised that he didn't give Tendulkar few more overs. Tendulkar got a wicket but had only 2 overs, and was pretty economical. That certainly ceated some doubts in SA players that Tendulkar may have observed some thing about the pitch and may be taking advantage of that. I would have given Tendulkar few more overs, unless he didn't want it, until they start hitting him. Remember that the famous Culcutta win against Australia- which changed the mind set of Indians forever- would not have been possible without Tendulkar's three wickets. I personally think Ganguly was a better captain while Dhoni is benifitting due to a better team just as Ponting did when he had a fabulous team.

Posted by the_predator on (January 7, 2011, 10:49 GMT)

So everyone seems to agree on the fact that england is no 1. Ok No doubt grame swaan is a good spinner,but has he bowled well enough against INDIANS and srilankans, who are the best players of the spin bowling. Against austrelia/SA he has attacked the batsmen, but remember against these teams he himself will be the target. Secondly apart from Peterson who else plays spin with authority (so that they can survive in turning pitches like KANPUR etc)? Also the last time INDIA went to england most of the england pace bowling attack were the same. Indians did not have much trouble then. Is not it?

Also there are some people who are compareing stats of indian players VS SA players. To those fools. 96 and 38 scored by laxman at durban is much more valuable than centuries scored by SA batsmen on first test on a flat track. if you do not understand cricket please do not comment.

I shall wait for the day when these teams beats india o a real turning track (to prove their worth as no 1).

Posted by ats78 on (January 7, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

Just imagine the difference in results if India would have won the toss on the first day of the first match, I bet India would have wonthe series, they lost the toss in the second match, still came out trumps and in the last match it was even stevens, so it goes back to the toss in the first test and I personally feel india is a superior team as except for Kallis and steyn no one performed for SA, whereas gambhir sachin harbhajan Zaheer and even Sreesanth to some extent had a great match.

Posted by iamgroot on (January 7, 2011, 10:38 GMT)

1-1 is good result. SA were not dominant ..they were definitely competitive and after bowling out India for 136 a dominant team would have wrapped it up in 3 days. In that sense England look more dangerous and dominant against Australia than SA against India..they bowled out Aus for some 200 and odd in both innings.. that is dominance. here SA couldnt finish it off ..they started well Steyn, morkel , kallis alone led the fight.. India came back well in 2nd innings dragged the match till 5th day .and Won the second test ( by 87 runs ) .India on the other hand just continued to fight and it was tight in 3rd ..if the bowlers bowled well on 4th day atleast little better things wouldnt have become so dull ..but India is definitely brilliant ..India is no.1 whether anyone accepts or not and results prove it.. SA on the other should have wrapped up series but just COULDNT .they took 3 wicket in 90 overs that goes to show ineffectiveness of Steyn and Morkel. India just didnt let SA win series

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

forget about the number game. To be a solid test team you need to create those chances rather than grabbing it when the opportunity arrives. Dhoni made the mistake at 130 for 6 when he went all defensive! In saying that Smith should've declared with 310-320 on board to give 10-20 mins on day 4 to ball at the indian order. Proabably Steyn & Morne could've seized the chance and india could've been 1 or 2 down. Well all this consists of a lot of if's and but's, yet the point is these risks have to be taken. What Aussies did in their prime was to create chances and go for the kill! grab it by the scruff of the neck! And to their advantage they had the players for every occassion. SA needs a good spinner! India needs good quicks who can bowl consistently at 145-150! Eng gave an allround performance in Aus, but still need a big game performer like a Tendlya or kallis to be at the top.

Posted by DINESHCC on (January 7, 2011, 10:02 GMT)

Raju_Iyer: Fantastic reply. As said Man007 before start of the series everybody (everybody means the supporters of SA, AUS, PAK and SL) predicted that it would be a 3-0 loss for India. But after the defeat of Durban test and after the dominance in the 3rd test, they could not digest this and started giving some useless statistics and concluded that India is not a No.1 team. For ODI series also they predicted 5-0. Let us see what will happen.

Posted by bluebillion on (January 7, 2011, 9:59 GMT)

Surely the BCCI wont let Kirsten leave! They cant!!! He is as difficult to replace for India as Sachin or VVS or Rahul. I hope better sense prevails and BCCI offer him a contract extension.

Posted by maddy20 on (January 7, 2011, 9:02 GMT)

@Ravishankara You will see how good England is when they come here for the World Cup. I would not be surprised if they are beaten by Bangladesh. Last time they came to India, we have beaten them 2-0 in tests and 5-0 in ODIs(Would have been 7-0 if not for the Mumbai attacks). I will place my bets on India to beat England in England just like in the 2007 series. http://www.espncricinfo.com/engvind/engine/series/258452.html On the other hand when was the last time England has won a test series in India?

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 8:52 GMT)

honi was happy with the fast bowling, but said they still could improve with the old ball when reverse-swing is not available. "Most of our fast bowlers are skill-oriented, rely on swing. It's not always with pace that we get batsmen out. They did a good job with the new ball, but we need to slightly improve after 40 overs especially with Kookaburra because there is no reverse. Interesting learning experience for our young bowlers. Overall, their performance was good."

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 8:30 GMT)

@ A.Afker, Indians scored a total 5 half centuries other than 2 of Sachin's century, compared to 2 half centuries by the South Africans. Batting Avg SA being 37.93 is due to the performance in the 1st test where things would have been highly different if India had won the toss.

Posted by mits6 on (January 7, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

@ ravishankara people were saying the same of south africa before this series but ultimately proved wrong. Before one to one clash no one can say eng is better than india .Not to offence SA but they too have big guns like amla , smith ,deviliers similar to those in england but after the result is out except kallis (the great) no one really excelled . hence, no early predictions, only time will tell . As such Ind is no. 1 at this moment ( & u sud accept it) but we all know there is real tough fight among SA, Eng & India for the spot.

Posted by world_peace on (January 7, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

@A.Afker, you are a good mathematician , i think you got a bright future in becoming a statistician or something like that. But in sports, number's game doesn't work, Every Ground is Different and so is the conditions. so the result of 1 match cant be compared with the others. the result is a fair indication of where both teams stand. If you were to go by your logic every test series should be decided at the end by adding all the runs the team scored against the runs the opposition scored and do something similar for the wickets too and give points to the 100's scored and then decide the winner. It wouldn't make sense. If you dont understand the difference in ground conditions, you should start playing club cricket to get the feel of it.

Posted by Seether1 on (January 7, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

@A.Afker: I agree with most of your points. Except about England being No 1. They have been thrashing a very average Aussie team. However I must concede that maybe England is a bit stronger than SA currently. However SA is only 1 spinner away from being No 1. Maybe Imran tahir?

Posted by mogan707 on (January 7, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

Dhoni is not suited for Test cricket only for one day cricket.Gambhir proved that he is captain in the making in the recently concluded IND-NZ odi series.So time for Dhoni to concentrate on keeping and batting(which is very poor now) to maintain his place.Otherwise there are other wicketkeepers in waiting to be replaced by him.Harsh comments it seems may be but is true.Time for change from complacent No.1 to Thirsty and aggressive No.1.India has the largest number of reserves waiting for a chance to play.West Indies series is a place to start.

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (January 7, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

SA fielding quality seemed below their level in this series with Tsotsobe at the receiving end of many catch drops. Jonty Rhodes will be very much disappointed to see that. Spinner Harbhajan was the man who made sure that India win Kolkatta test of early 2010 vs SA. This time he took 6 wickets at Durban and 7 in 2nd innings of Cape Town test. Both these pitches are the ones where Steyn or Morkel are expected to take 6 or 7 wickets per inning. Why did Smith not ask India to bat for the last 10 overs of day 4 after new ball was taken and more than 270 was required to chase by India in 4th innings? Only Smith knows the answer to this and then on day 5, Sachin and Gambhir's batting reminded me of batting of Ravi Shastri in old days and Gavaskar's 36 not out in 60 overs. At CapeTown, opener Gambhir scored hardfought 50's in both innings with an injured hand and ensured that Sachin's 100 does not go in vain. India have played 11 tests from July2010 & Sehwag got shoulder problem.

Posted by Proteas123 on (January 7, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

The tour proved their is not much between India, Eng and SA. @ Stevo_NZ - Of course Sehwag is a flat track bully we all know it and this series proved it. Can only see him doing worse in England. @ Dr.K.H.Iyer - Well put. SA, Eng and India are good teams but none of them are currently great, although there are a few great players and a legend in Kallis.

Posted by anto_446 on (January 7, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

"Only Dhoni should explain on why Shewag wasnt used for his bowling in the last test when South Africa were tottering 130/6..and no other bowler were able to break the partnership between Kallis n Boucher....atleast Shewag could have got some confidence in Bowling and if he would have got wickets ...his poor form with the bat would have been made up for!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

one thing i am proud of about the india team is that they reached the no.1 ranking and fought in this series with only 4 regular bowlers, whereas when SA lost kallis they began rueing about the fact that they have only 4 bowlers, smith even mentioned that they couldn't win coz they had only 4 regular bowlers, now thats not an excuse, remember india have won most of their test on flat subcontinent wickets with 4 regular bowlers, this is worth noting, even the attack with likes of steyn and morkel found it difficult with 4 regular bowlers

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (January 7, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

Well done India and SA. I enjoyed watching this series. Kallis is King. SRT is Maharaja. Smith is Court Jester. Dhoni used to be a dashing attacker - what happened?

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (January 7, 2011, 7:23 GMT)

Even though India won the Durban test this time in 3.5 days when a test match should last for 5 days with good light and weather conditions, it showed that outside India too there are pitches where consistently test matches finish in 3 to 3.5 days , where 18 wickets fall per day and where rain and bad light make 90 overs per day play impossible. Smith's SA team has played 3 test serieses in India of which 2 have ended up as 1-1 and SA lost the 3rd series by 1-0 in Nov 2004. Yet its problems of winning test series at home continue starting from that series vs Aus in early 2009 where Mitchell Johnson had retired hurt Kallis and Smith & Aus won the series 2-1 . Smith's SA should at least not lose a test series at home. Dhoni's Indians have twice defeated Aus in home tests series of 2008 & 2010 ,also defeated England 1-0 in 2008 home series and levelled 2 home serieses vs SA.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

@A.Afker: Since when has a victory margin of 87 runs been 'mere'? It is like saying Kallis scored 'mere' 161 and a 'mere' 109 in the last test. @Ravishankara: I understand it is difficult to digest for some people (Indians included) that India are indeed the no 1 side, and they would love to see the side fail, just to cure them of the indigestion. Wake up guys, India has done consistently well in the past couple of years to claim this spot and retain it.

I would have loved to see India win this match and the series, but it slipped out during day 4. However, statistics notwithstanding, India has dominated the series after the drubbing in the first test, which again could have been different if they had a practice game to start with.

I believe we just have to play a series against England to silence some mouths, many of whom claimed that India would get a drubbing of their lifetime in South Africa. I am glad to say most of them have been silenced.

Posted by Forceindia on (January 7, 2011, 7:22 GMT)

@A.Afker: England the No.1 team without even comin close to beating India n SA..seems a premature conclusion..Moreover Eng have just had 1 good year..whereas India has been consistently playing well home and away since 2004...which includes a series win againt Eng in England...lets see if ENG can beat India in India!!!!

Posted by vattettan on (January 7, 2011, 7:15 GMT)

@A.Afker: All those shows that SA had some brilliant individual performances but still failed to win the series. So obviously, as a team India were better. Also note that both in this series and the series in India, SA won the toss in the matches which they won. Whereas the matches India won, they lost the toss. Regarding ENG being No.1, unfortunately I don't see the same in the ranking table which is all that matters. I really do not understand what did ENG do better than India or SA in the last couple of years to be called No.1. I don't think beating the awful Australia alone can make them No.1. India may not be the Australia of the last decade or WI of 80s but someone has to occupy No.1 position in the table and I don't think there is any other team right now who can claim that position more than India can.

Posted by ns_krishnan on (January 7, 2011, 7:11 GMT)

Who is the No:1 Test batsman now ? Tendulkar ? Kallis ? Ponting ? No! It's Sangakkara. If you ask the *BEST* batsman people might argue . But No:1 ther is no argument. It's black and white. Similarly, best Team you an argue. But India clearly No1 by 9 points.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

So much was said that India will go down 3-0 to S. Afr..Indians dont stand a chance...SRT is no good...Blah Blah...well Look at the score card..we were even with S A. in all the departments and even better than them in the fielding...some how people dont digest that a subcontinent team can be no.1...look at India now..they might lack in skill but they are excelent when it comes to will...they produce hard green tops and try to bounce out people and no body says anything about that but when we have turning tracks the rooftop comes down...they say India doesnt have good pacers...well does Australia or SAfrica have good spinners??? Its a gr8 achievement by team India and we are proud to be NO. 1..any problems with the ranking then go and argue the ranking system by ICC. its the score card that matters not the sentiments of anti Indian Cricket team people..learn to give respect and try and beat us on the ground rather than with your foul mouths

Posted by loung_singh on (January 7, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

well done no 1 team in d world 2 draw d series...brillintly played but now some reality.."the best batsman in world cricket" sachin or "god" hasnt won a single series in safrica and australia.(d two best teams during his carrer)...an not a single series win in west indies (india do won bt without sachin)..and he havent won india a single world cup in 5 attempts.the point i wnt 2 make is tht sachin my be statsticlly the best batsman but he couldnt achieve the results in his 21 year long carrer.advice 4 bcci ; before going 2 england india should tour bangladesh or host nz or srilanka in india 2 boost our ranking ahead of england series so that even if we lose or draw we r no 1 in ranking...to dhoni; raina shudnt be played evn if v r playing at home bcoz on green tops u r hiding him instead of poor pujara..it is not justice...and dravid should retire nw bcoz he didnt perform when v needed him in safrica bcoz on subcontinent evn an irfan pathan ll score runs at no 3...

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

@A.Afker When was the last time SA won in home series? They were thrashed by aussies, their performance in abu dhabi just recently was average to say the least and then boast of being number 1. England still needs to prove they can play test cricket beyond ashes. By merely winning against minnows like Pak and bangladesh in England and thrashing aussies, you cannot be no.1. I think ICC rating system correctly shows where Engand and SA stand with respect to India!

Posted by memoriesofthepast on (January 7, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

Indian team under the captaincy of M.S.Dhoni has not lost a test series so far including the overseas tours of SL, NZ and now SA-great achievement by captain Dhoni's Indian cricket team. And he is an unlucky captain when it comes to winning the toss and there was no practice match before Centurion test started. Under his captaincy India managed to chase 387 vs Eng in Chennai 2008, then win Mohali test vs Aus by a wicket in oct 2010. Even after Durban victory Dhoni did not show much feelings of celebration. He has given the credit to his team players rather than to himself and even acknowledged the role played by Gary Kirsten in the results. SA missed out on a chance to beat India at home-their performance in 2007 tour was better than this. It felt sad to see Morkel and Steyn able to take only 3 Indian wickets on day 5 when 340 are needed to win on a dangerous track. Indians bowlers were able to take 20 SA wickets per tests twice in the series.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:13 GMT)

irrespective of what people say india should have won this series. But that dint happen bcos of callous application when it mattered & little bad luck. But come england in JULYAND I WOULD BET ON INDIA TO WIN OR DRAW LEVEL. i KNOW PEOPLE WOULD DISAGREE WITH ME with england on current form. Agreed englane played superbly down under-[full credit] but it was also aus playing some callous cricket/arrogant cricket[where their captain underestimated the opposition] and eventually failed himself and his team. I repeat Ind vs Eng 60-40 infavour of india. What say !!! comments welcome.

Posted by Aussasinator on (January 7, 2011, 6:12 GMT)

A great series that made for compelling viewing. This is what one likes to see in Test cricket. Congratulations to both India and South frica.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

@A.Afker Perhaps you are missing the point that India is playing a series in fast/bouncy conditions which are completely different from the sub-continental conditions. I would advice you to check when was the last time Eng, SA, Aus won a test series in India!

Posted by iluvtest on (January 7, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

A.Afker please remember that INDIA troubled by SA bowling for that one innings on that first day of first test under very favourable conditions for fast bowlers and even SA would have been found wanting if they were put to bat which is clearly shown by 131 all out in much better batting conditions and much inferior bowling attack in their home conditions. That should make u clear about who are the better team.And in the final test also India successfully defended the test by battling it out all day against a better bowling attack.That is the characteristic of this Indian team.And please do not question the ranking or you prepare your own ranking system and get it approved by the ICC.As per the present ranking system in vogue and accepted by all INDIA is no 1 test team in the world.And we hope it will be for some more time.

Posted by docsunny on (January 7, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

England is no one team by far.They have genuine fast bowling attack , the best spinner in the world , a very good wk batsman and solid batting with run machines like Cook and Trot .It would be a treat to see this English side take on Aussies of a few years back.A teams strength is determined by its bench and lack of dependence on a few players .And English team is exactly that .

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:39 GMT)

I don't have idea pujara is better. No one can judge his ability within 3,4 test in international cricket. CA Pujara 3 Matches 5 Inns Runs 107 H.S 72 Avg 21.40 S Raina 8 Matches 12 Inns Runs 373 H.S 120 Avg 33.90 If anybody have doubt U can compare now. How is better option for india's next replacement in middle order.

Posted by cricket_fan_001 on (January 7, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

Please - it was not a game between No. 1 and No 10. It was a game between two of the arguably best test sides currently playing and its not just India that missed out on pushing for a win - SA did too. In fact the onus should have been on SA to dislodge the World No 1 - and what better opportunity than to do it at home? Dont think anything slipped out of anybody's grasp as is being made out - India came up against a some really good batsmanship in Kallis and Boucher partnership. If someone missed out on something it is SA and not India, but then again it is a game and all such "could have", "would have", "missed opportunity" comments do gross injustice to the keen contest that took place.

Posted by HiyerNHiyer on (January 7, 2011, 5:22 GMT)

Guys.. Give India credit it where its due. The SA team had the better bowling attack and India the better batting pack. To those who feel SA was the better team, pls observe that without Kallis's batting, the scorline probably would be 2-0 or maybe even 3-0 in favour of India. I feel where India lost out was the first day of the first test where they could have applied better and the day four of the 3rd test where they let the game slip away after having SA at 136 for 6. Net Net.. we need a strike bowler or need to encourage Ishant to focus on Pace. Anyone saying SA is the undisputed No 1 that India are flat track bullies is talking rubbish.

Posted by East_West on (January 7, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

India did not take risks and Sehwag was useless in SA [he played this game with shoulder issues]...once he got out...our team decided go for the sagest route!!! It is time to look beyond DRAVID, RAINA, PUJARA..and bring in Badri who has better skills than last 2 players..it still amazes me, how DHONI, the selection committee keeps ignoring him. Even in T20 [in SA], Badri played well, if not now then when he is going to be played?? wonder how RAINA is going to perform in ODIs?..

Posted by Realhotshady on (January 7, 2011, 5:15 GMT)

India don't deserve to be no. 1 looking at their play in last day of the test. Any no. 1 team would have gone after the target but they only wanted draw. Shame on them. Likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Shewag and Laxman and they can't even think of chasing the target for a single moment. What a shame....

Posted by Prashant007Geetam on (January 7, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

what a run chase by world no 1 team and that too with best batting line up

Posted by shrastogi on (January 7, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

Whatever is said about not getting a wicket after SA were 130-6 in second innings India lost the plot when two of their most experienced batsmen got run out in the first innings. We were not playing one day or t-20 guys. You've to do better than this in future. We needed to bat well and get good first innings lead and then lket Harbhajan let loose. Anyway its good that series is drawn. But I was disppointed at the sportsmanship shown on camera by Indian team. When Kallis got hundred in second innings no Indian except for Sreesanth was shown as clapping and no one shook hands. It was a brilliant innings. Were you too disppointed guys ?

Posted by Neeraj07 on (January 7, 2011, 5:00 GMT)

Congrats India!"@ mrgupta & Down_Under. IND is clearly not No1" please correct your self It was only one session of first test bcoz of which SA could level this series. If our batsmen wud have added another 100 odd run that test wud have been a draw and India wud have won this series even Zal wud have been in the that test we wud have different result. Secondly in the final test India took lead in the first inning and in the second inning if we had more time we wud have won the final test. So in my view barring Steyn and Kallis SA did not perform wel in the home condition and INDIA is No1 team in the world at present.

Posted by vattettan on (January 7, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

@A.Afker: All those shows that SA had some brilliant individual performances but still failed to win the series. So obviously, as a team India were better. Also note that both in this series and the series in India, SA won the toss in the matches which they won. Whereas the matches India won, they lost the toss. Regarding ENG being No.1, unfortunately I don't see the same in the ranking table which is all that matters. I really do not understand what did ENG do better than India or SA in the last couple of years to be called No.1. I don't think beating the awful Australia alone can make them No.1. India may not be the Australia of the last decade or WI of 80s but someone has to occupy No.1 position in the table and I don't think there is any other team right now who can claim that position more than India can.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

@A.Afker: Well sir I find u very gud at stats, But do keep in mind that India i.e No.1 team did not face a minnow or No.10 team, India faced No.2 team at their den, Where the home team had maintained their supremacy for d past 19 years. Only AUS hav defeated 'em der in recent past and the supposedly best team ENG hav only dragged themselves to a series draw after crawling with 1 wkt to lose in 2 tests. If the home team does not perform better than d visitors in a drawn series then its likely to hav a weak spot.. Although by stats SA wer better, But by situation, India was at gave danger only once, But SA was twice in danger both in second n third tests... By far India has evolved itself into a superior team in the current era of cricket...

Posted by SujithBabu on (January 7, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

@Ravishankara Yes, India did scrape through. But even the Aussies did not win in 1998 and 2001 in India. The Australians were the No:1 side by some margin then. This is the first time that India is drawing a series in South Africa. Appreciate that. Also, your comment that England will thrash India in 3 days is far-fetched. I am assuming that your comments were based on England's performance in Australia. let me remind you that England won against sub standards Aussies. An India v/s England series would be a closely fought one and I suspect that England might sneak in a victory in England by a small margin and India in India.

Posted by AdityaUpadhyay on (January 7, 2011, 4:39 GMT)

Great performance by India. Even though there was a good chance of winning the series. But still kudos to India for coming back strongly & gave a drubbing to SA at Durban. But how long will India miss a real 150Kph + bowler on these wickets? BCCI do something. If had bowler like steyn we would have performed even better.

The greatest disappointment of the series was Sehwag flop . As I am a gr8 fan of him. He has given his critics a chance to call him a flat track bully.

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (January 7, 2011, 4:29 GMT)

To Ravishankara - before writing trash like "England will thrash India in 3 days", read the following. Ditto to A. Afker who talks big about all types of statistics without understanding the basics: Let us for a minute assume that India are not truly # 1,but stole the crown. Then what do other teams have to do to take it away from them? Simple, they have to defeat India in a home and away series (to neutralize home advantage) . Which team has done that in the last two years? NONE ! So, till that happens, just shut up and salute Team India!

Posted by Kizz23456 on (January 7, 2011, 4:29 GMT)

Yea India wasted their chance to win this match when SA were 130-6 , they didn't go for the kill, India's downfall is the bowling, if they find someone good fast bowler, they will be great, but right now England seam to have everything, can't wait till India go to England

Posted by Chncricfan_2k0 on (January 7, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

More suitably India is No. 1 team as they proved in a great manner..No Asian team has played well in SA like India did having played in spin and slow wickets.its a great improvement from a team's point of view..Dhoni got excuses for everything and blaming others without thinking about his position in the team and his responsibility.What he has done to this drawn match..If he added at least 50 or 60 runs with SRT means we get a lead of around 70 to 100 in the first innings and the result will be different (India Win).instead he just thrown away his wicket by giving catch practice to the slip fielder for 0 especially nothing in the delivery to give away his wicket.even Harbajan played gutsy shots and scored 40..Dhoni pls stop blaming always others U too in the same team and need to contribute for victory.Anyway this series is a great one for India and congratulations for the boys who played exceptionally well..!

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 4:13 GMT)

India could have wraped the series..

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (January 7, 2011, 4:10 GMT)

Where is 3-0 predictors? As I said earlier do not underestimate our bowlers too. Now everyone know how SA won the first test. If they were batting first, it will be a 0-2 for India.

Posted by eyballfallenout on (January 7, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

The most disappointing thing for me and should be for india is that they they could have won the series outright getting 300 on the last day and they didnt go for it. The number one team would and should go for those runs to win the series. Playing for a draw and then drawing the series is a disgrace.

Posted by SFGoldenGate on (January 7, 2011, 3:54 GMT)

Hi everyone, first congrats to India. To tell you the truth I was on the skeptical side and doubted India's prowess before the seier. I never doubted the ranking though. But I always thought that "not even a drawn" series in SA is a prestige issue for any team claiming no 1. But anyway, now I am here to acknowledge that India played better than SA in SA and deserves the no 1 status more than any team. I think in 3rd test they missed a great opportunity twice to let off SA. and kudos to umpiring for the 3rd test. Lets not forget about Ian Gould, he gave some excellent decisions. Another thing, India should accept UDRS (it is not perfect but better than non-UDRS). For example, Dravid was out in 2nd innings (middle stump) and umpire made mistake. At least you can get these decisions right in more crucial situation (sometimes result deciding). You can see the same in Ashes as Cook got 3 great UDRS decision and score 189 which decided the test. I hope team India continues playing good cric

Posted by triassicpark on (January 7, 2011, 3:48 GMT)

How can you say Sa or Eng are no 1? SA has about 7 players who are match winners. Prince, Harris, Tostobe, Alviro Petersen cannot win matches on their own. Eng looking very good at present, have about 8-9 who can win matches on their own. The thing is they have to sustain it. India on the other hand have about 7 players who can win on their own. At present form Dravid (sadly), Pujara, Sharma and Dhoni to some extent cannot win on their own. As I have said repeatedly the Aus team of yesteryears was, WAS a magic team. It may be another 5-6 yrs before we see a team with all 11 capable of winning on their own. So stop having this tunnel vision. I do not expect you to agree that Ind is no.1, but stop your carping. Also cric info pls post my comments. Last 3 occasions you have not and I cannot understand why so?

Posted by knowledge_eater on (January 7, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

Please Go figure out yourself: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/335431.html before commenting. Look at the opponents, look at the results. Despite our fitness problem and players form dip and selections blunders India has managed to beat enough teams. England has long way to go. India is number 1, SA 2 and England are 3. Just looking at individual ability of players can't make argument correct. Beat the team, play with them, then talk.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 3:41 GMT)

Overall a 1-1 draw is a fair result, going by how the series has gone . India can definitely be satisfied, though I see no reason to rejoice. I can't blame the Indian batsmen for their approach on day 5, as 340 in 90 overs against a challenging bowling attack was never going to be easy.But the moment India will rue is on day 4 when they could have bowled out SA for 240-260 had they set more attacking fields.But SA also were defensive; didn't declare on day 4 and have a go at the tired Indian batsmen and did not go all out on the last day.Gambhir showed admirable grit in batting under pain just like Kallis.Sehwag was the disappointment of the series.He never really got going.And I think Ishant should be sent to play domestic cricket, his line and length was totally off the mark.But Sreesanth showed a lot of spark, though it would be better if he didn't overappeal like that again, as it could get him into hot water.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

I think India have played well as a team in foreign conditions and have played better than the hosts. We have had Solid contributions from VVS, Sachin and Gambhir, Reasonable amount of resistance from Dhoni in the first two tests and good bowling from Zak, Sree and bhajji, decent support from Ishant. But SA have heavily relied on Kallis for their runs with support from Amla. When it comes to bowling it was all Dale Steyn though Morkel did trouble them. But if you look at it, remove one good toss and Kallis... they would have lost this series badly. Think about that before you start talking about India's worthiness to be n.o 1.

Posted by muski on (January 7, 2011, 3:30 GMT)

First of all for guys who were after Dravid's blood- did you see how valuable was the time he occupied at the crease for this 30 odd. Though Indian Test Cricket is the talk of the world, as an Indian Cricket fan, I shudder to think of the years beyond the fabulous 3. The Pujara's and Raina's whose talent is never in doubt have to be quick learners. Pujara's baptism by fire should do him a world of good. He should improve his technique quickly. Maybe Sunny could take some time out to help these guys. If we do not do this quickly, Iam afraid we may go downhill quickly like the Australians find themsleves to be in.I certainly felt a guy like Ashwin on the 4th day could have given a tough time to the Aussies. Cant wait for India's tour of Eng to see how they deal with the POMS who are literally on the top of the world now.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (January 7, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

@A.Afker India have beaten England home and away most recently, England haven't. Only team who have beat India in India was Aus. in 2005 I think, and I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. And there are teams who will beat England in England. I don't want to make excuse but it would have been different result if SA have batted first on Damp pitch on first day. But it is what it is. I accept the series was level. But England has long way to go being claimed Number 1.

Posted by RJHB on (January 7, 2011, 3:17 GMT)

To IndianPunter: can't really see how you can say that India lived up to its number 1 ranking. The best team should be winning everywhere, not scrapping for a draw. They get flogged first up, pull off a narrow, miraculous win in the 2nd and bring out the pillows and hit the snooze button in the third! Pretty average number 1 team in my book. And why are we not getting a four or five test series for this, the unofficial test championship playoff between the top 2 teams?? A three test series allows for a lesser team to fluke a win and square the result. If the Ashes had been a three test series it would've been drawn 1 all after Perth, would that have been a fair indication of who the better team was? Of course not! India play a lot of short test series don't they? Maybe this is why! You haven't proved a thing India. In the form they're in right now, England would flog both India and South Africa. Australia are rubbish but England are excellent.

Posted by kdcricket on (January 7, 2011, 3:14 GMT)

@A.Afker...buddy the first match was played on a lottery pitch, where winning the toss was as good as winning the match...dont discount that...plus India does not need to justify its Number 1 ranking....had Saffers been number 1 perhaps they would have needed to explain why they could not win a home series against England,Austrlia and India...We trash people at home and draw abroad....better than Saffers quite evidently

Posted by A.Afker on (January 7, 2011, 2:35 GMT)

@ mrgupta & Down_Under. IND is clearly not No1,it shows in this series.When they lost they lost by an Innings margin and when they won they won by mere87 runs.Out of 6innings IND manage only 4 times they bowled out SA, whereas SA they did 5times.And also Overall SA managed to score 5x100's whereas IND only2.Where as bowling is concern SA managed 3x5 fors and IND only2.Batting Avg SA is 37.93 and IND 29.39.So all these thinhs shows how SA is Superior than IND.At present ENG is No1.

Posted by Ravishankara on (January 7, 2011, 2:32 GMT)

India is just not performing authoritatively as you would expect from the the No.1 Team. It is just scraping through. At this moment, England will thrash India in three days

Posted by Ishtiak on (January 7, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

It's not a surprise that many are asking for Dravid's head after another dismal series. Once the greatest defense of the Indian team now looks like a shadow of his own self. Dravid's run of form isn't even outright poor :/ he makes a century or two occasionally. The biggest problem is that he is not confident on his abilities anymore. I hope Dravid finds his form soon cause I believe he still has a lot to give to this Indian team. And as for the youngster's, its too too too early for them to even be close to Dravid. Raina and Pujara both looked out of sorts in SA. For me Dravid performed considerably well yesterday, he saw out more than a 100 balls, which was important given the match situation. I hope the wall rebuilds himself so that he can retire on a high.

Posted by CricketChat on (January 7, 2011, 2:13 GMT)

With a batting line up boasting of Shewag, Gambhir, Dhoni, Sachin, Rahul and Laxman (who are most likely playing in their last Test in SA), it is rather baffling they wouldn't even attempt the chase. They would have done a great service to keep Test cricket alive if they attempted it and even lost. Not something you would expect from No.1 Test team in the World. Indians have once again proved their safety first attitude.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (January 7, 2011, 1:37 GMT)

Did I miss something? I thought the series was drawn 1-1, yet still fans on this site are acting as if Ind have proven themselves to be a better team than SA? I think the series confirms SEVERAL TEAMS ARE EVENLY MATCHED. Ind are RANKED #1 and they have earned it but its extremely superficial and I can't understand why Ind fans are so obsessed over the rank. SA have drawn 2 back to back series in Ind and Ind drew a series in Sri Lanka. True, CLEAR CUT #1 teams WIN series, they don't go about drawing every other one. I personally don't think there is going to be a clear cut #1 for another 2-3 yrs at least and to be honest, Eng are probably best placed at the moment in terms of succession plans.

Posted by Silverbails on (January 7, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Well, I wonder IF India are ever going to win a Test Series in SA. Although I'm a great admirer of Dhoni's captaincy, the negativity in the fourth day of this Test Match, especially when the SA's were 130 - 6, was quite unbelievable. This certainly was the BEST chance India have ever had of winning a series in SA, especially with the batsmen of the quality of Dravid, Tendulka and Laxman, all of whom may well have seen their last tours of SA. As for the bowlers: what happened in SA's second innings, especially after SUCH a good start? Ishant needs to be dropped, and go back to playing Ranji Trophy cricket.

And, what about that other last great "Holy Grail": a Series win over the Aussies in Australia. When will that ever be achieved? No, what India needs is more positive captaincy, no matter what the circumstances. Maybe then, there may be a lot more victories overseas to talk about!

Posted by aby_prasad on (January 7, 2011, 1:30 GMT)

aaaah blah blah yakity yak, whatever, India is still the NO. 1 side in world test cricket, NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT ANYMORE! Ofcourse they're not the dominant no.1 that Australia used to be, but no.1 they are. and THEY PROVED IT HERE TO ANYBODY WHO BEGS TO DIFFER! India cant win matches abroad? India losing 3-0?think again ppl haha :P and bite your tongue hereafter, and we have pollock , a south african, saying India ran away from here with a moral victory!!! Cheers to this Indian team!

Posted by Sabharim on (January 7, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

@Stevo_NZ: Agree that Sehwag has to step up. But I would think that his presence (albeit injured) was the ONLY reason why Smith did not declare on Day 4 evening. If he would have declared, India may have lost a couple of wickets then and with a couple in the fifth morning would have exposed the middle and tail. But then, Sehwag may have stepped up and cracked one of those blistering knocks and it may have been 2-1 India! Who knows..but his presence was a factor.

Posted by NP_NY on (January 7, 2011, 1:20 GMT)

@Stevo_NZ: While I agree with you that Sehwag has generally performed better on flatter tracks, I've also seen him score centuries in very difficult pictures (I remember a series in NZ where he scored two one-day centuries in a 5 match series when all the other batsmen struggled. By the way, although he didn't make many runs in this test series, he did contribute. Want to know how? Well, the only reason Smith was afraid to declare on the 4th day was because of his fear of how quickly Sehwag scores. If he had declared and got a couple of wickets late on the 4th day, who knows how this match might have turned out!

Posted by Nampally on (January 7, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

It was extremely gracious of Dhoni to complement Gary Kirsten & his coaching. India should have won the 3rd test easily. They let it off 3 times - first due to naot taking handsome first innings lead. Secondlyletting SA off the hook and letting kallis add 80 runs with 2 tailenders. Thirdly letting SA escape again after 130 for 6 to raise the total to 342. This included 32 runs each from Steyn & Morkel. Even so, if India had played at the normal strike rate of 3.5 runs/over, they would have won 3rd test. But they wanted to play safe.Hence a draw.Highest credit to India for landing and playing first test with no practice matches at all. How many sides dare to do this. First test collapse was due to not being used to fast bouncy pitches. If India had some luck with the Toss, they could have won or drawn the first test.SA had double advantage with toss & no injuries on made to order SA pitches & bowlers.With slightly better tactics India would have won 3rd test & the Series easily.

Posted by g-man86 on (January 7, 2011, 0:43 GMT)

The end result has left me with an empty and hollow feeling..Lets not kid ourselves-there was a definite possibility that India could get decimated trying to be defensive in order to save the test - remember Sydney '08 where despite having had numerous chances to score a victory,the match ended in heartbreak chasing a similar score on the final day,although horrendous umpiring played a major part - but the position we were in at lunch yesterday was so decisive in our favour..When you're at your peak,you seize the initiative..This test and Steve Waugh's farewell in Sydney '04 were great opportunities to beat a strong side in their own backyard..India's greatest middle order in Sachin,Dravid & Laxman deserved to win an away series in Aus & SA..Can't fault the bowling-they gave it everything they had..Superhuman effort by Kallis..It's just a great opportunity squandered to show we could win when everyone questioned our skill & the legitimacy of our No.1 ranking..A numb feeling..

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 7, 2011, 0:41 GMT)

I can't beleive Indian fans are talking about how to keep the number1 ranking. Please. Losing No1 ranking is not end of the world. The team just have to play to win. The ranking will take care of itself. Safeguarding the number1 ranking and treating the ranking as precious, is only going to bring in boring cricket and ultimately losing the ranking for good.

Posted by kriskini on (January 7, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

I am a fan of Sehwag. He should never be dropped from Indian team. Because of his presence Teams will get scared to declare early and take risk. Without Sehwag Smith would have declred on day 4 and may be Inida would have lost the test. Sehwag might have failed in this series. But tell me which other Indian opener would have done a better job in this series against Styen.

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 7, 2011, 0:37 GMT)

India should learn to play to win. It looks like India only play to win when they are completely outplayed and they have nothing to lose. Otherwise, a draw was always enough. India should learn not to worry about losing. If you go for a win, you either win or you will lose. If you have the people who is capable of winning, you have to give your best efforts to win. If the series is lost, so be it. At least, you have entertained the crowd and that must be the ultimate aim for a team. No.1 ranking is good. But, if you deserve the ranking, you have to make everyone know that you can win from any position - not save from any position. The team has to perform when the chips are down. They have done well to keep their ranking. But, I am disappointed that they didn't have the killer instinct even with players like Sehwag, Gambhir,Tendulkar, Laxman, Harbhajan, Sreesanth, Khan are available in their team. I prefer 2-1 south africa than 1-1, if India had gone for the kill on the fifth day.

Posted by ThinkCric on (January 7, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

Kudos to India ! They proved the doubters that they are worthy of the number one rank. Still rue the first day of first test... if only BCCI would spend time and money to allow a practice game before important series in alien conditions.. Who are the future middle order batsmen to replace Sachin, Laxman, Dravid? Hope they retire in a staggered fashion, else India could fall faster than we think... SA pitches proved that batsmen with overseas experience are important... Vijay and Pujara seemed a little unprepared for SA.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 0:06 GMT)

C Even Vettori , Swan and Marcus North delivers on a pacer's pitch. The genuine spinner does not depend on a Pacer's bouncy pitch of Day 1 to 3. They strike during day 4&5 when the pitch is decaying.

(5) Our so called FAST PACERS bowling at 122-125kmph speed brackets even in the most fearsome bouncy pitches (check the ball by ball commentary please) unless when they have to save their SELECTION, when suddenly Shree and Ishaant go up to 136-138 kmph bracket in very short spells, which only proves that they are not giving their 100% in most of their spells, though they are able to do so...basically they are protection & prolonging their position before the selectors, period. SHUT UP you dumb moron who just support them blindly!! (6) Bottom line.. Have we had support for Bhajji in form of Ojha (or even Mishra) we would not have got SA to reach 340, period. Even Cricinfo bulletin confirms that HARRIS was spinning at right angles.

WE SIMPLY DID NOT USE OUT CORE STRENGTH.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 0:06 GMT)

I would say that India is ahead on points. In the first test, the loss of the toss was decisive - the result in that test would have been very different if SA had batted in damp conditions and India had batted next. Also in the third test, one team came close to taking the match - at 130 for 6, SA were on the mat. In the pace bowling department, to state the obvious, SA were miles ahead. India has several holes that should not be papered over - Ishaant needs serious work, Sreesanth needs counselling, and Zaheer needs to get fit. On the batting front, India is miles ahead - it is a golden era for India. Pujara is a great find. For all those who call Sehwag a flat track bully, please see how the openers on either side have performed - he had to face Steyn/Morkel at their peak. The Sehwag factor prevented an SA declaration on Weds evening. Rahul is just a knock away from glorious form, he needs to work out his issue with wide outside off deliveries from left armers. Tendlya - speechless!

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

Disillusioned to read comment makers here who switch their opinions drop of a hat based on the day's performance without having any deep rooted or well researched knowledge about the game. They simply go with the tide of the day. ANYWAY, the following points need addressing by team management : (1) History & past precedents tell us that majority of our success has been with SPIN bowling. (2) The team made a hash of reading the pitch for SURE. (hear what Ravi Shashtri had to say) (3) If Harbhajan could take 7 wickets, imagine what Pragyan Ojha would have done, being a left handed offie (leg spinning into the RH Batsmen with all those nasty roughs) (4) Most part of hundreds of Tests played by India has had their success due to SPINNERS. I know we don't have the Bedis, Prassannas or Chandras or even KUMBLE off late, but they were the ones who won us most of our matches, not to forget Amit Mishra against Aussies.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 6, 2011, 23:57 GMT)

I don't agree with the reporter's opinion regarding how this was the best chance for India to win in SA because India still have quality players in the wings. The more games these youngsters play the better they will get. The BCCI has to be really smart here in how they manage their resources. Before every high profile foreign tours the BCCI HAS TO schedule tour games for team India (at least two) per tour. I don't care about meaningless ODI series against weak opposition. India has to agree for more away tours than home ones. India have an excellent opportunity to dominate world cricket like how Australia did for 10 years. We need a couple of things to see India dominate everyone else - a good all-rounder, a bowler who can bowl in the mid 140s and a quality leg spinner. India has PLENTY of these in the domestic circuit. The BCCI is only being reckless in their inability to hunt these gems. Congratulations India ! be proud and you have proved you are the best !

Posted by Maverick79 on (January 6, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

@ Stevo_NZ Who wouldn't keep him. His exploits more than his performance in this series scared the hell out of Smith and made him not declare and have a go at Indian team for atleast 5-7 overs on day 4. Thats what great/good players can do. With Sehwag you don't need to look at stats, you need his presence to make a bowler look clueless. Another factor/reason for India's ranking. I dont think any fan would be harsh on Sehwag as they are on Dravid. Sehwag is not known to scratch around, he tried his best today i think. Dravid is past his sell date, he's really done his share for the team/country, what more to achieve now. When others have made way for him, he should now make way for the others with his head held high. I don't expect to him to retire after scoring a century or having a good series, coz that will make him want to stay. Retire before being axed. Dont make the situation difficult for him and others.

Posted by Maverick79 on (January 6, 2011, 23:31 GMT)

@FMatt The gap between 1st and 2nd test is mainly due to the holiday season in countries like Aus, SA etc. Where boxing day test match are given importance. But honestly BCCI at times make fools of themselves. How on earth no practice match when you play a big series like this (not on the basis of no. of test matches). Whoever created cricket test matches will definitely be looking down and be proud of it not being dead unlike him. Even he named it dead right. Its an ultimate TEST of character and quality.

Posted by vattettan on (January 6, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

@_NEUTRAL_Fan_: India are only one good pace bowler away from being compared to the great teams of all time (Aus 90s-2000s, WI 70s-80s)! If only Kapil was 20 years younger!!

Posted by Maverick79 on (January 6, 2011, 23:21 GMT)

@ Dr.K.H.Iyer That was a different era all together(the first 2). With Australia you named 3-4 players. Don't forget effective players like Hayden, Martyn(Damien), Langer etc etc. Australia was a good team because when the greats had a bad day, the not so greats saved their day. Their victories were mostly team effort. With greats, our away records was still horrible. We didn't win even in Zimbabwe then. But since our players attitude changed after the T20 Championship (I personally don't rate that a lot)victory our away record has improved. Records do lie at times, Ponting whose got enviable stat as a player and captain is totally an average player after players from his dream team retired (not just a few names, but virtually everbody except him). I'm pretty confident Indian fans will see better results in future for our team playing away even after the greats retire. Provided BCCI don't select young players based on IPL performance. There wont be a shortage of talent in our country!

Posted by Stevo_NZ on (January 6, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

I think this series highlighted that Sehwag is generally a flat-track bully. An average of 20 in NZ (seaming wickets), 25 in SA, 39 in Eng, 22 in Brisbane & 36 in Perth (albeit 1 game only at each venue). Would definitely have him in my team but needs to step up in England if the wickets have a bit of green in them.

Posted by indianpunter on (January 6, 2011, 22:54 GMT)

Bravo India! You have proved the doubting thomases ( including me) wrong and have lived up to your numero Uno billing. Not many would have given India a chance to draw this series. However, we should not miss the opportunity for some introspection here. "The Wall" has to go. I predicted before the start of the sries ( along with hema adhikari, gulshan grover etal) that he will have a very poor series in SA, and he did. Our next test series is 7 months away in England and surely, there should not be any place for RD in that team. I cannot fathom why he does not have the grace to retire. Dravid fans in this forum have to see reason. Sack Dravid( if he wont go) and save India!

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:34 GMT)

Enjoyed this series thoroughly. Would have been ecstatic if India had won the series but I will take the 1-1. Kallis was awesome and I will see him in a new light now. Steyn was scary good and he seems to be the only bowler who can conjure wickets out of nothing. It does look like that time has come for Dravid to retire. When you are past 35 the only way you can justify your place in the team is if you are a consistent match winner or saver. Youth is knocking on the door and India needs a good succession plan. I still feel that we do not have a match winning bowler. Only good bowler in the team is Zaheer. Harbhajan would have won my respect if he had delivered on 4th day of last test. Yes I do know he took 7 wickets but I wanted more from him.

Adios SA. Wish Smith would not try to play mind games as he is not very good at it.

Posted by FMatt on (January 6, 2011, 22:31 GMT)

@FinchAtticus, Agree with you about India having to learn a lesson as far as including a couple of warm-up games in a big tour like this... a big break between 1st Test and 2nd Test but no warm-up game? Come on, BCCI, what are you thinking? And this is not the first time this has happened either... uh uh... I guess the monetary bottom line rules the roost at the end of the day.

Posted by justacricketlover on (January 6, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

@deepak: Except for lousy bowling by Ishant - I dont think Indian bowlers should be blamed for their performance on last day -even Steyn and Morkel struggled to get any wickets. A great series. A great display by No 1 and No2s Teams as well as greats (SRT and Kallis).

Posted by FMatt on (January 6, 2011, 22:26 GMT)

Gary K., Echo our captain Dhoni's sentiments in appreciating your contributions to Indian cricket these last 3 years or so. THANK YOU!!! I hope you will extend your tenure but understand if you don't as family does have to take precedence over career.

@mrgupta, Couldn't agree with you more. So where are all the folks who said y'day: "India's OLD MEN will get bundled out for 150", "cannot survive against Steyn and Morkel"...blah blah blah! So do enlighten us, Graeme Smith et. al: which team did take 20 wickets in the last two tests once Zak was back? Which team did bat better under South African conditions in the last two tests? We didn't realize that winning the toss as well as Kallis' batting AND bowling was an absolute necessity for SA to win a test! OK, apologize for being sarcastic but SOME South Africans, you've asked for it! Please learn to show better respect for your opponents.

Congrats, team India. Please stay humble and continue to improve in the limited overs version now.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:26 GMT)

i am sure Pujara is a good player but on the strength of only one, maybe 2 innings he has played, suddenly he is considered to be a future replacement for Dravid, and a mainstay of the Test squad; that's quite surprising to me. Having said that, I hope he gets tested a lot more and proves his worth.

A very solid Test series between well matched sides with some Titans of the game, who may not face each other again. Cements the fact that Test matches are very much thriving.

Posted by Dr.K.H.Iyer on (January 6, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

@Maverick79 : Great players make great teams! Viv Richards, Roberts, Marshall (WI) Miller, Lindwall, THE DON (The Invincibles) McGrath, Warne, Ponting, Gilly (Not Very Long Ago)! Of course good players make very good teams! But they never are a Great team!

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

is there a slightest chance India can get back John Wright as the coach!! He was the one instrumental in moulding these greats!

Posted by BillyCC on (January 6, 2011, 22:08 GMT)

India have proved they are the world No.1 with two drawn series against South Africa. It does not mean they are a clear No.1 and the series against England will be their next big test. A loss in that series would probably make it a three-way tie for No. 1. I also had a look at the schedule for that series and India definitely need to play more tour matches to make the adjustments required for their batsman and bowlers.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:07 GMT)

hey SeaforthA1 whatever happened t the dude Phil Jaques/Jacques...

Dhoni might have missed a trick or two..maybea n additional spinner in the squad instead of ishant..offcourse hindsight is 20/20 but we need a little more majik mojo...a (kapil devish bhajjish yusufish )live wire who can shake things a bit score a 40 off 18 balls..the KILLER..i agree a draw is better than a lost series but play like there is no tomorrow and the result could have been 2-1 either way..right?

Posted by landl47 on (January 6, 2011, 21:45 GMT)

Credit to India for coming back after losing the first test. That leaves things as they are in the rankings. Now India have to take on England in England- that should be an exciting series.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 21:18 GMT)

This shouls have been a 5 nmatch series so that there was a clear winner.

Posted by rohanblue on (January 6, 2011, 21:09 GMT)

gary kirsten is d bst, we will miss u gary..........

Posted by mrgupta on (January 6, 2011, 21:05 GMT)

I remember just at the start of Dec2010, there was lot of India haters comments here. Most predicted 2-0 Win for SA, some even said 3-0. Most (99%) predicted Steyn and Morkel will thrash Indian batting lineup on Bouncy and Pacy SA wickets. One person even predicted that Indian bowlers will struggle to take 30 wickets in the entire series and they will be exposed when playing Steyn. Now almost everyone in SA is relieved that Kallis was able to bat in pain and SA managed to escape the defeat (yes they cudnt take 20 Indian wickets). India managed to take 20 SA wickets in both of last 2 tests, One Indian scored 2 centuries in the series and if only Zaheer had played the first test series's result wud have been far different than it is now. Take out Steyn for a single test and then try and compete with India, SA will not stand a chance against us. In India also they won the first test because we were not full strength and the same happened here. We proved we are the real No.1.

Posted by Lahori_Munde on (January 6, 2011, 20:48 GMT)

I am convinced India is deservingly #1 Test nation. I had my doubt before this series, but not any more. South Africa very much trailed in the 3rd test. Even all of the commentators admitted except Kepler Wessle, who was of the opinion that SA was slightly ahead in the thrid test. Show some spirit - bow your head and give 'em respect-they have earned #1 rank and they deserve it..

Posted by johnsrini on (January 6, 2011, 20:48 GMT)

If India lost this test then Curd Rice and co who post commemts here would have field day at Dhoni's expense. As seen in the first two tests its easy to be bundled out within 3 sesions. It was safer to let SA bat the whole of day four than have India batting after tea. Even if the target was 290 we would have lost 2 wickets and started day five at 43 for 2 wickets and anything could have happened. Dhoni's Captaincy saved the test . Better a series draw than series loss.

Posted by FinchAtticus on (January 6, 2011, 20:24 GMT)

What a wonderful series. Its a bit disappointing to see Steyn not receiving any awards. Third-day post lunch spell will be etched in my memory forever . Hope in the post-mortem analysis, India learns an important lesson about the importance of warm up matches prior to test series when you are moving across continents. They sure have a thing or two to learn from England. India has two main worries in the coming year. Finding a good coach and finding 3 replacements for spots.4,5 and 6 (assuming pujara grabs no.3). Its high time they start baptizing the younger players in test matches.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 20:05 GMT)

that is a nice thing to acknowledge coach....i like that

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

I certainly agree with Dhoni ,Gary is One of the great things that happened to Indian cricket,Gary we will surely miss u..

Posted by _Australian_ on (January 6, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

Congratulations to both India and South Africa for a well fought series. If only my declining Aussie team could play this way but alas those days are in the past.

Posted by Maverick79 on (January 6, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

" Unless the new FTP throws up another tour to South Africa very soon, or India discover three middle-order batsmen as good as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, this tour could well be their best chance to win a series in South Africa for the foreseeable future. " What does that mean Sid ? To win a series abroad you don't need a bunch of GREATS. And who said India doesn't have good players to replace them ? Unless players like Dravid give way to younger ones, you just can't say we don't have good middle-order batsmen. As long as cricket is played in India we will never have shortage of talent. Maybe greats like Dravid, Tendulkar etc won't be able to show away victories in SA or Aus. But with time there will be good players if not greats that will have won us a series in these countries. SA proved it years back with a bunch of effective cricketers playing abroad. And I see Indians going that way too. Indian cricket should never be rated on the basis of a few great players

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 19:43 GMT)

it feels good,but india is no.1 test side and they cant get the last 4 wickets of south africa in both innings quickly thats why they r not on winning side.This is their major problem for many years .The bowling attack of india always behaves like this in crunch situations . congrats to indian team for this great achievement,nice captaincy accept last test's last two days .hats off to kallis .he played superbly and always looked like superman amongst the players n no one could be able to get him out.Sachin always plays perfectly and he is the indian hero of the series.VVS plays classy cricket n we could see more from if luck had supported him. gambhir also played nicely but no other of batsmen contributed as required. but in bowling... god help is needed in next world cup if they perform their like this.ishant should take leave for somewhile n fresh legs likes of abhimanyu mithun,dhawal kulkarni should be introduced.rotation is a nice option in bowling .

Posted by candyfloss on (January 6, 2011, 19:38 GMT)

Yes we will really miss Gary Kirsten.I have never seen Indian batsmen play the short ball so well.Riding the bounce and playing into the ground with soft hands,text book technique.However I think the tone for a draw was mostly set by Graeme Smith when he failed to throw in the bait and make a sporting declaration.When you have bowlers of the quality of Steyn and Morkel and enough rough for the spinner you should have backed yourself to defend 290 or 300.Both the teams in the end failed to hit the final blow.Would have loved a 4 match series.

Posted by jammyisgreat on (January 6, 2011, 19:36 GMT)

Good to see 2 very good underrated players doing a fabulous job as coaches.. Gary Kirsten and Andy Flower.

Posted by iamgroot on (January 6, 2011, 19:35 GMT)

Fantastic..I am happy that Dhoni acknowledged the fact that series slipped out because two bad days.. First day of the first test match and 4th day of this last test match.. After getting bundled out for 131 it was remarkable to drag that test match till 5th day and not get wrapped up in 3 days..and then showing great character, mental strength to win the 2nd test match when SA was upbeat and being 1-0 up in the series and with such a terrific bowling stars like steyn and morkel..they should have wrapped up but it was brilliant performance from Indian team and Dhoni and co gave wonderful fight back and brought Indian team back into the series..and in 3rd test they almost had SA on mat on 4th day untill the kallis and boucher partnership scored that vital runs..Still all in all Indian Team is brilliant.. no doubt about this team under Dhoni has proved what other indian teams in the past couldnt and in the 2nd innings of this test match SA took just 3 wickets..in 90 overs WOW.1-1 is OK.

Posted by NP_NY on (January 6, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

What a great series by the two tops in the world! One or two more tests would have been fantastic. Understandably, the critics of India's number 1 test ranking have gone absolutely quiet now :-).

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (January 6, 2011, 19:27 GMT)

I think the series result is fair. As for the future, SA are only one good spinner (Tahir?) away from being a better team than Ind, the value of a good spinner was shown in this test match.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 19:22 GMT)

Yep..India missed a big opportunity of registering their first series win in SA but the way two teams played, draw was the fair outcome.

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