|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
South Africa went into the series as clear favourites, and will be disappointed they could only manage a 1-1 draw against India
January 7, 2011
The pre-series talk centered on South Africa exploiting their own conditions, in particular bouncy tracks, to assert their authority. They did so in the first Test, came badly unstuck in the second and were embroiled in a tough battle in the third. Two men, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, stood tall. The rest have reason to be disappointed.
Tour and tournament reports : South Africa v India, 2010-11
Analysis : A stalemate to savour
Analysis : Tendulkar endures, Sehwag disappoints
Features : South Africa take the stats honours
Matches: South Africa v India at Cape Town | South Africa v India at Durban | South Africa v India at Centurion
Series/Tournaments: India tour of South Africa
Teams: South Africa
South Africa's captain was the bunny, the brat and the bully. His series was defined by his relationships with two Indian bowlers. His nemesis, Zaheer Khan, was able to dismiss him twice in four innings, as Smith continued to show technical ineptitude against a world class left-armer. As though that was not enough, he became a target for another Indian quick: Sreesanth. Smith's bat-waving altercation with the sledging Sreesanth was one of the defining images of the series. The bowler allegedly said something personal; Smith took the bait, and then got out.
He played one handy knock. His 77 runs in Centurion should have been the launch pad for a string of strong scores in the series, but it wasn't. Petersen is a much prettier opener to watch than Smith. He shows class and elegance in his driving but he gets out too easily. He either goes for a drive and finds the edge, or falls victim to close catchers on the leg side. He has a lot of work to do on his technique before his next Test.
It was a quietly anti-climatic series for Amla. After notching up centuries in four consecutive matches against India and three in a calendar year, he looked set for a big series. His century in Centurion was overshadowed by Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers and that was as good as he got. Like the South Africa team itself, the Durban hoodoo followed him (he only averages 16 in Test cricket at his home ground). His aggressive 59 in Cape Town was crucial to the match but he failed to set the series alight the same way he did in India early in 2010.
The stuff of legend. The minute Kallis removed his cap to reveal a crop of new hair, it was a sign that he would break new ground in the series. He scored his first double-hundred in Centurion, and then became the only South Africa batsman to score two centuries in a Test twice, and the first to score two centuries in a Test at home, with his heroic performance in Cape Town. He batted though pain - he will be out of the game for four weeks - and was the architect of South Africa drawing the series instead of losing it. He also became the second highest century scorer in Test cricket - with 40 hundreds - and been acknowledged as the best cricketer South Africa has ever produced.
AB de Villiers
He was unusually quiet. After scoring the fastest century by a South African, in 75 balls, in Centurion, he just about disappeared. Uncharacteristically, he dropped a few catches in Cape Town.
P is for Pressure. Every time Prince goes out to bat, it seems as though he is playing for his place. His 39 in Durban will quickly be erased from most memories, but the patience he showed on a tough pitch while the rest of the line-up crumbled deserves some recognition.
His 103-run stand with Kallis allowed South Africa to bat their way to safety when Boucher's was the wicket that would have given India the chance to make history. The gusty 55 he scored will also go a long way to prolonging his Test career.
He managed to spin a ball or three. When he does that, it's always going to be talked about. Harris got some turn in all three Tests, although it didn't always translate into wickets. He did a fine job when playing a containing role while not posing much of an attacking threat. His future Test place will depend on whether South Africa want to continue using a spinner in a defensive capacity, or opt for an attacking, wicket-taking approach.
He swung the ball with sensational success to end up as the highest wicket-taker in the series. His 21 scalps came at the outstanding average of 17.47, and he had magical spells in all three matches, none more so than the seven-over burst in Cape Town where he took two wickets for three runs. He won the contest with Virender Sehwag easily, getting the India opener out once in each match. His lines and lengths were spot on, he bowled the short ball and the follow-up to good effect, and he worked to plans well.
With height on his side, Morkel and the short ball were going to be the happily married couple of the series and the union only grew stronger. He used his height to extract bounce out of all three surfaces, which were largely bowler friendly. Morkel was exceptional in the first Test but struggled with consistency as the series wore on. He is still a best available partner to Steyn, but needs to be more disciplined.
He was luckless but lively. Despite having umpteen catches dropped of his bowling in the series, Tsotsobe was still able to capture all the Indian big fish. He claimed the scalps of Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni, all to loose shots. Tsotsobe capitalised because he was underestimated. He was always going to look third best after Steyn and Morkel, but he toiled hard and did his best to complement them. His moment of the series was when took a blinder of a catch to dismiss VVS Laxman in Durban.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Sri Lanka's marks out of 10 following their 2-0 series win against Pakistan
Former players react to India's humiliating 1-3 series defeat in England
Why does the man who is possibly England's greatest fast bowler occasionally turn into Mr Hyde on the field?
With too great an emphasis on limited-overs cricket, MS Dhoni's side have a set of skills and a level of concentration that are not commensurate with the necessities of Tests