India in South Africa 2010-11 January 8, 2011

A stalemate to savour

Shouldn't the most anticipated Test series since the 2005 Ashes have been decided over five Tests?
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So it has ended without a winner or a loser. After 14 days of action, at times frenetic, at times tense, at times combative, at times confrontational, at times serene, at times so exciting you couldn't afford to miss a ball, at times extremely skilful, at times strangely defensive, we don't have a winner. Shouldn't the most anticipated Test series since the 2005 Ashes have been decided over five Tests?

South Africa can feel pleased with the result after effectively having been 128 for 6 in the second innings of the deciding Test. India can feel pleased with the result, having come back from the Centurion defeat and to win in some of the most testing conditions their batsmen have encountered. South Africa can feel disappointed they haven't won any of their last three home series, that when it came to pressure situations they didn't look good enough without Jacques Kallis, that this is the third time they have beaten India by an innings to take a 1-0 lead without going on to win the series. India can feel disappointed they have let slip their best chance of winning a series in South Africa, for in all likelihood they won't have the services of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid the next time they come here.

We can feel pleased we got to see Dale Steyn, Laxman, Kallis and Tendulkar at their best, with the side cast not disappointing much either. We can feel disappointed that the defensive captaincy, the spread-out fields, the fear of declaration, the fear of losing, the slow over-rates, didn't give us a clear winner.

It was a fascinating contest between two different cricketing cultures. South Africa, often good starters but not always good when in the lead, came out full of intent in Centurion. India, often poor starters but good when in a corner, came back in a manner few expected them to in Durban.

South Africa's attack was based - aside from Steyn's swing - on pace and bounce, on hurting the batsmen, on testing their courage. India's attack relied on skill of wrist, on attacking the stumps and not bodies, on getting just enough movement to get wickets. Even though Zaheer Khan's comeback was a turning point for an ailing attack, Harbhajan Singh went on to become their most successful bowler, level with Morne Morkel at 15 wickets and behind Steyn (21) on the wicket-taking chart.

South Africa's batsmen showed their better knowledge of the conditions, leaving deliveries better than India did. That South Africa took 16 catches in the slips and gully as opposed to India's four doesn't lie. India had to work hard on that aspect, on making batsmen play, and then beating them with the movement, which meant the edges - when earned - went to the wicketkeeper, and not the slips.

The cultures interchanged too. South Africa, for a change, ran away with the individual honours. Kallis was by far the most consistent batsman in the series, and it seemed only freak run-outs and freak deliveries spitting from a good-length area could get him out. Steyn's swing bowling was phenomenal. His two spells on the third day in Cape Town, 66 deliveries of pure venom, is one of the best we are likely to see. India, despite their attack's reliance on Zaheer for direction, went the traditional South African way, getting small contributions from everywhere. Their whole side registered two centuries and two five-fors; Kallis alone scored three centuries, and Steyn alone took two five-wicket hauls.

No new stars were found, but Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Cheteshwar Pujara showed promise. The old men in form continued to defy age: Tendulkar scored one of his more challenging centuries to keep India alive in Cape Town, Kallis was again the rescue man for South Africa, and Laxman was just being Laxman in scoring 96 on a pitch where 39 and 38 (Laxman in the first innings) were the next-best scores. The old men under pressure struggled, but both Dravid and Mark Boucher played their part in saving the deciding Test for their team. The setting sun can wait.

The last three series between these two top teams in the world have been drawn. Most will find 1-1 a fair result here. However, those greedy for great Test cricket will find it unfair that when it came to the last two days, neither captain showed that his will to win was greater than the fear of losing. India were scared of a South African counterattack that could take their target beyond their reach. Once safe, South Africa never thought of declaring on the fourth evening. Did they over-rate the threat of Virender Sehwag? Did they fear the sacrilege of losing to India at home? Neither of that, though, explained Paul Harris bowling with a deep point in place on the final morning, when it was abundantly clear that India had shut shop, and more importantly when he was constantly getting balls to rear towards Gautam Gambhir's chest from the rough outside the left-hander's off stump.

Those last two days notwithstanding this series cannot be bad news for the world order. India and South Africa have been the most consistent teams over the last two years, and it shows in the rankings. South Africa's record of not having won any of their last three home series shows in their being No. 2. England have joined the race with a smashing Ashes win. We're back to the days before Australia started dominating world cricket. Bring on another year of similar hard-fought Test cricket.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rjansen on January 11, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Test matches since 2000:

    In India: SA won 4, India won 2, Drawn 2

    In South Africa: SA won 4, India won 3, Drawn 2

    Series since 2000: SA won 3 (1 away, 2 at home), India won 1 (at home), drawn 3 (1 in SA, 2 in India)

    Last 4 series: SA won 1, India won 0, 3 drawn

    Who is the better team?

  • shovwar on January 10, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    SA still holds the Ind vs SA test contest because the last time India visited SA they lost 2-1...and after that SA visited India twice but India failed to win the series...and a draw in this series means its a 5-4 for SA...India are still yet to beat SA and they could not prove they are better than SA....Maybe India are a better team than before but still not better than SA....Come on they drawn the series arent they the no.1 side? That means SA are equally no.1......They played less test than India thats why they have less points ...check the ranking stats.........In my view They are both the best teams in the world...With SA looking a bit more dangerous......

  • on January 10, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    @k.mithilesh... even though pujara hasnt scored much runs he has shown a lot of promise... got a good technique... those who have watched the match will understand.... just dont go by what the score card tells you.. @Rajesh Thadani... chasing 340 on the capetown pitch on day 5 is suicidal.... the ball was really keeping low... scoring 160-180 in t20 is common... but we should remember that we lose 6-8 wickets in 20 overs scoring 180... so it was not practical to go bang bang...

  • memoriesofthepast on January 10, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel were able to take only 3 indian wickets on day 5 of cape town test. The spinner Harbhajan took 6 and 7 wickets at Durban and Capetown which were suited for Steyn and Morkel. This SA team was the worst in terms of fielding with Tsotsobe at the receiving end of dropped catches. Jonty Rhodes will be disappointed with the SA fielding. Smith should have declared 2nd innings when new ball was taken on day 4 and made India bat the remaining overs of day 4. Gambhir fought for his three half centuries and has fixed his position as test match opener for India even on overseas tour. Indian bowlers were able to take 20SA wickets in each of Durban and CapeTown tests.

  • memoriesofthepast on January 10, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    It can be made to a 4 tests series. Smith's SA team missed out on an opportunity to win a test series at home which they have not done since 2008. Smith's team had lost a 2 tests series in India in 2004 and then levelled the next two series in India as 1-1. Dhoni's team has levelled two series vs SA as 1-1. This is the 1st time India have remained undefeated in a test series in SA and Dhoni's team has maintained its record of not losing a test series anywhere in the world. Bad light and rain made 90 overs per day play impossible in Centurion and Durban. 18 wickets fell in one day at Durban and that match ended in 3.5 days. Durban is an example of a pitch bad for 5 day test.

  • KrazyCricketKid on January 10, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    India's ODI batting line-up:

    1. Sachin Tendulkar 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli 4. Yuvraj Singh 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Suresh Raina 7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni 8. Harbhajan Singh 9. Zaheer Khan 10. Praveen Kumar 11. Munaf Patel

  • rajrele on January 9, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    To all the south africans who were gonna take the indians heads off...what happened ??? Smith got scared of declaring even with Steyn and Morkel the best fast bowlers around....he is more scared of a sub par sehwag and indian batting than confident of his bowling, which is the best new ball attack....if a captain is not confident of the best weapons available in the best conditions whats the point ? India were one wicket away from getting into a winning position and had zaheer khan and sharma been able to deliver one wicket, it would have been a very different match. SAF need to stop talking so much and first win atelast one series at home, they havent done so in 3 years, atleast india wins at home !!!! All in all this series shows that SAF is number 2 because there is no serious challenger till date, without Kallis and Steyn SAF is a number 4 side with a number 1 ego....India havent lost a series for two and a quarter years, how many teams have done that..Bring on England please...

  • Ravi_kumar_Kinnera on January 9, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Yes I recomend 5 match test series. India reallyhave missed out of winning a test series in SA. But thanks for the both teams for showing standards of test cricket. It had been a great show from little Master, Laxman, Kallis and great swing bowling from the Dale Steyn. End of the series once again it is proved how exciting is test cricket and SA bowling attack was tested indian batsmen technical ability.

  • on January 9, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    this was d best chance to win d series in SA but it was against d BEST SA TEAM EVER...........so it came 1-1...........great series that was great to watch.

  • Nampally on January 9, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    This series clearly showed the limitations of the India bowling. Indian bowlers were incincistent and failed to rise to the occasion. Harbhajan had no support from the other end in the second innings of the 3rd test.With 128 for 6 India needed to rise up and go for the kill. That is the sign of the Champions - never let up. India failed in the first innings too when the SA batting added 80 runs for the last 2 wickets. India need a tail end wrapper like Kumble & Irfan Pathan use to be. Too much Reliance on Zaheer is another short coming. I feel India needs to go with 5 bowlers - 3 pace & 2 spin or 4 pace & one spin. Alternately they need an all rounder like Kallis who can bowl & take wickets as the 5th bowler. Yuvraj is the only one available. He needs to take Pujara's place.In England such an all rounder needs to be a pace bowler. Unfortunately India has none. Can they find one? So this is the biggest lesson of the series - limitations of Indian bowling to finish the innings.

  • rjansen on January 11, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Test matches since 2000:

    In India: SA won 4, India won 2, Drawn 2

    In South Africa: SA won 4, India won 3, Drawn 2

    Series since 2000: SA won 3 (1 away, 2 at home), India won 1 (at home), drawn 3 (1 in SA, 2 in India)

    Last 4 series: SA won 1, India won 0, 3 drawn

    Who is the better team?

  • shovwar on January 10, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    SA still holds the Ind vs SA test contest because the last time India visited SA they lost 2-1...and after that SA visited India twice but India failed to win the series...and a draw in this series means its a 5-4 for SA...India are still yet to beat SA and they could not prove they are better than SA....Maybe India are a better team than before but still not better than SA....Come on they drawn the series arent they the no.1 side? That means SA are equally no.1......They played less test than India thats why they have less points ...check the ranking stats.........In my view They are both the best teams in the world...With SA looking a bit more dangerous......

  • on January 10, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    @k.mithilesh... even though pujara hasnt scored much runs he has shown a lot of promise... got a good technique... those who have watched the match will understand.... just dont go by what the score card tells you.. @Rajesh Thadani... chasing 340 on the capetown pitch on day 5 is suicidal.... the ball was really keeping low... scoring 160-180 in t20 is common... but we should remember that we lose 6-8 wickets in 20 overs scoring 180... so it was not practical to go bang bang...

  • memoriesofthepast on January 10, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel were able to take only 3 indian wickets on day 5 of cape town test. The spinner Harbhajan took 6 and 7 wickets at Durban and Capetown which were suited for Steyn and Morkel. This SA team was the worst in terms of fielding with Tsotsobe at the receiving end of dropped catches. Jonty Rhodes will be disappointed with the SA fielding. Smith should have declared 2nd innings when new ball was taken on day 4 and made India bat the remaining overs of day 4. Gambhir fought for his three half centuries and has fixed his position as test match opener for India even on overseas tour. Indian bowlers were able to take 20SA wickets in each of Durban and CapeTown tests.

  • memoriesofthepast on January 10, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    It can be made to a 4 tests series. Smith's SA team missed out on an opportunity to win a test series at home which they have not done since 2008. Smith's team had lost a 2 tests series in India in 2004 and then levelled the next two series in India as 1-1. Dhoni's team has levelled two series vs SA as 1-1. This is the 1st time India have remained undefeated in a test series in SA and Dhoni's team has maintained its record of not losing a test series anywhere in the world. Bad light and rain made 90 overs per day play impossible in Centurion and Durban. 18 wickets fell in one day at Durban and that match ended in 3.5 days. Durban is an example of a pitch bad for 5 day test.

  • KrazyCricketKid on January 10, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    India's ODI batting line-up:

    1. Sachin Tendulkar 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli 4. Yuvraj Singh 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Suresh Raina 7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni 8. Harbhajan Singh 9. Zaheer Khan 10. Praveen Kumar 11. Munaf Patel

  • rajrele on January 9, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    To all the south africans who were gonna take the indians heads off...what happened ??? Smith got scared of declaring even with Steyn and Morkel the best fast bowlers around....he is more scared of a sub par sehwag and indian batting than confident of his bowling, which is the best new ball attack....if a captain is not confident of the best weapons available in the best conditions whats the point ? India were one wicket away from getting into a winning position and had zaheer khan and sharma been able to deliver one wicket, it would have been a very different match. SAF need to stop talking so much and first win atelast one series at home, they havent done so in 3 years, atleast india wins at home !!!! All in all this series shows that SAF is number 2 because there is no serious challenger till date, without Kallis and Steyn SAF is a number 4 side with a number 1 ego....India havent lost a series for two and a quarter years, how many teams have done that..Bring on England please...

  • Ravi_kumar_Kinnera on January 9, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    Yes I recomend 5 match test series. India reallyhave missed out of winning a test series in SA. But thanks for the both teams for showing standards of test cricket. It had been a great show from little Master, Laxman, Kallis and great swing bowling from the Dale Steyn. End of the series once again it is proved how exciting is test cricket and SA bowling attack was tested indian batsmen technical ability.

  • on January 9, 2011, 3:21 GMT

    this was d best chance to win d series in SA but it was against d BEST SA TEAM EVER...........so it came 1-1...........great series that was great to watch.

  • Nampally on January 9, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    This series clearly showed the limitations of the India bowling. Indian bowlers were incincistent and failed to rise to the occasion. Harbhajan had no support from the other end in the second innings of the 3rd test.With 128 for 6 India needed to rise up and go for the kill. That is the sign of the Champions - never let up. India failed in the first innings too when the SA batting added 80 runs for the last 2 wickets. India need a tail end wrapper like Kumble & Irfan Pathan use to be. Too much Reliance on Zaheer is another short coming. I feel India needs to go with 5 bowlers - 3 pace & 2 spin or 4 pace & one spin. Alternately they need an all rounder like Kallis who can bowl & take wickets as the 5th bowler. Yuvraj is the only one available. He needs to take Pujara's place.In England such an all rounder needs to be a pace bowler. Unfortunately India has none. Can they find one? So this is the biggest lesson of the series - limitations of Indian bowling to finish the innings.

  • TRAM on January 9, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    Sidharth Monga, I like your lines "setting Sun can wait" and "neither captain showed that his will to win was greater than the fear of losing"...etc. Keep up the Good English.

  • on January 9, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    why a snorter from Steyn to anyone is a good delivery and the same from Sreesanth to Kallis is a freak one / bad luck for Kallis. At least the batsmen from the team with the best bowlers should play such deliveries with ease. India has never been a country for seamers really but unfortunately for SA it was the Indian seamer that took the game away at Durban. India played well but I agree they missed the best chance to win the series. So I it is unfair to criticise India and praise SA - coming back from behind to equalise is good.

  • on January 8, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    Its time to add some more teams to Test Cricket and Split it into 2 Divisions.... Have a Promotion/Relegation System .... 18 Nations (9 per division) ... 2 or 3 get Relegated and Promoted after a period of 2 years. Thats how you will make Test Cricket Competitive again, so teams actually TRY and win on the Final day

  • CricketLifer on January 8, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    India really needs to fix the bowling department if they want to continue to be No 1. We gave up over 210 runs to last 4 wickets on a bowler friendly pitch on 4th day because Zaheer was sub-par, Ishant completely ordinary and non effective, Sreesanth wayward when India could least afford it and Harbhajan predictable. Ishant should be dropped and some of the other new bowlers should be given a chance. Lack of a genuine all rounder in the team also showed. When you compare the Indian bowling and fielding to SA or England, Indian side showed lack of a plan, sense of purpose and going for the kill attitude. What can India do to give incentive to bowlers and all rounders?

  • pappu_saala on January 8, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    Absolutely agree on 5 match tests among any of the top teams. But the results could have been better for the last test, but still intriguing none the less.

    I can take Sehwag getting out for a hard slash, than a defensive prod! Dhoni might have missed a master stroke by promoting himself or Bajji to No.3 just to throw Smith & co into confusion. Kallis did that to Dhoni & co by reverse sweeping, and opening up the field.

    A lot of factors leaned towards taking the risk of chasing 340 down, Sachin/Dravid/VVS probably last series in SA, No.1 seed affirmation etc. I think team India would have won as many hearts if they had gone for it and lost!

  • Rushikey on January 8, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    may be for u tendulkar is not that great but the players like don bradman waugh lara mcgrath warnie murali greahme pollock allan donald viv richards,richie benaud akram wakar younis imran khan akthar bret lee etc etc etc and many england players etc etc etc .list goes on , for them sachin tendulkar is the best they have seen in modern era .may be they might not know much cricket like u do lol. comparisons after 145 test etc . we can compare many things then for example 90s the best bowlers bowled in modern era check who has the best average in 90s 58.00 for tendulkar .even lara is only 51 in 90s .so many comparisons we can make .when aussies dominated world cricket sachin tendulkar was thier main thorn .he was the most dominant .not mentioning ODI runs and centuruys undisputed king of odi .even at his retiring age he is still tough for sa too when sa have the best bowlers in current cricket world.arguably the greatest batsman.yes kallis is a great player as an allrounder.

  • nomikshah on January 8, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    No team can win against India and then expect another series from the cash cow. SA from all the nations is the one to start that trend when they brazenly rebuffed ICC after Sachin's suspension few years ago.

  • on January 8, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    The Indian and South African Cricket Boards have a good rapport and this has continued with this series leveled and 1-1 as was the last series between them in India. Now there are hopes for the ODI series and I hope to see a winner for this series. Should be hard fought though. One point which should trouble the Africans is how can they win a Test Match if the trio of Steyn, Kallis and Amla cannot perform.

  • Gower_esque_Chris on January 8, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Having watched this series I've never seen a bowler look so consistently threatening as Steyn, just scary. Would've been good to see more. It's also been interesting to see Indian batsmen play in conditions that aren't dead. I had thought Tendulkar was done 2 years ago but he continues to amaze me. Laxman continues to produce when under pressure, but not enough when he isn't. However I still dont see a 'complete' team capable of dominating world cricket. Kallis holds SA batting together and Steyn the bowling. Sehwag is hit or miss to the point of being irresponsible, Dravid looked past it and Tendulkar/Laxman held India batting together. I still think Gambhir flatters to deceive. The bowling has its moments but isn't consistent (unless you count Sreesanth always getting wound up). I agree a 5 test series would've been better to truly tst the teams.

    One last thing: shaantanu - try being english or australian before commenting on whether the ashes is overhyped. Means the world to us.

  • Alkais on January 8, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Really I feel India had let golden opportunity for winning series in SA. They were really taking their chances when they started reverse sweeping. Dhoni should have persisted with that field which was there, but the moment kallis started reverse sweeping, dhoni spreaded the field. That made the life of SA players easy.Full marks to Kallis for attacking, the way he played. 1-1 is good result. I agree with Sid, as it would have been good if it was 5 test match series than 3. Its high time, SA and India play atleast series with 4 test match(min). Sreesanth proved his class. Ishant was in all places. Its high time, he is dropped. He should be asked to work on his bowling. He was bowling well outside offstump and bringing it back which will not make the batsmen play. Bring back Munaf Patel and Mithun to test cricket as India plays test cricket in Eng. Now its high time, if a bowler is capable of bowling in high 140s, good care should be taken by BCCI to help him recover frm injury.

  • on January 8, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    I had said it before, when unbelievable hysteria was being whipped up quite unnecessarily around the Ashes, that this (the South Africa-India) series was going to be the one to watch out for. And so it has turned out to be. Number one and two teams going head to head in a tough, uncompromising slug-fest of skill, temperament, character and most important resolve. In the end the chemistry proved compelling, producing cricket that the connoisseur will savour for years. It was the most compelling endorsement for Test cricket imaginable, making the Ashes series look almost pedestrian by comparison.

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on January 8, 2011, 16:04 GMT

    In my cricket watching career,2010 has been the most fascinating year.Ind vs SA was a gem and it should repeat more often.May be we are seing the last few years of some of the greatest batsmen in history and the quality of cricket has to be high,their retirements might brign the overall standard by a fair margin.

  • topindianfan on January 8, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Yes, a more aggressive approach by India on the 4th day could have helped. However, I'm sure they tried whatever they could till Kallis and Baoucher walled their efforts. It is noteworthy that when India resisted on 5th day, even the likes of Staen could only manage 3 wickets on the 5th day wickets. It was a battle between Bat and ball - it became a battle of defence. Passion for the game is so high in both countries that none of the captains could even remotely think of taking any risks which would make a loss a possibility. If India would have gone aggressive and lost, the same people who are blogging here condemning that 'defensive' approach, would have painted Dhoni as a villian here. So lets give our boys the credit - especially winning the second test so handsomely. They are beyong doubt, NOW, deservedly the No. 1 team in the world. Hope the same is true for the World cup. Go India Go.

  • on January 8, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    u shud actually be happy it was a three match test series indian bowling unit dismantled on the third test day four they were clearly stamina less and thus indian pacers need to work on fitness but gr8 series VVS is very very special and SRT is clearly indian team batting pillars.........neway BTW JACQUES!!!! is superhuman XD XD one can only dream wat wud happen if Jacques and SRT on da same team in a test match they wont get out unless legends bowl at them........

  • Ravishankara on January 8, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    India has been scraping through, not playing authoritative cricket. Both our batting and bowling hinge on individual performances. We just can't go on winning if we do not get our act together. Let us find a set of 5 - 6 good bowlers.

  • Vilander on January 8, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    Glorious test series, Kallis,Tendulkar,Steyn,Morkel,Zaheer,VVS,Gambir..too good.

  • on January 8, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    India lot to prove in current year since they are travelling to WI(3 Tests), ENG and AUS(4 tests each). Hopefully Dravid can retire after these series. Laxman and Tendulkar will follow the same trend as Dravid. Within this time period, India should have to build their team for future to replace these master batsmen.

  • k.mithilesh on January 8, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Mr. Monga, when did Pujara show promise on the tour???

  • on January 8, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    I totally agree, the result was due to both captain's defensive approach, modern captains are all the same, and about 5 test series, i think ICC should make it compulsory for the top 4 teams to play 5 tests series only

  • on January 8, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    INDIA WENT ON THE LAST DAY NOT FOR 340 RUN VICTORY BUT TO RETAIN NO.1 SPOT ...................THIS IS NOT CRICKET WITH MOST OF THE PLAYERS PLAYING 20-20 THEY SHLD HAVE GONE FOR IT....................IF S.A. HAD TO SCORE THEY WLD HAVE GONE FOR IT

  • on January 8, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    India HAD a good chance to win the series, but i think talk that this is their last chance in quiet sometime is premature. Australia at the time, had their best chance to win in india for 31 years in 2001 when the kolkata miracle that was Laxman and Dravid happened, and the talk here was that australia would not have the same strong squad. 3 years later on their next tour, they took a 2-0 in the 3rd test out of 4.

    India have a lot to be proud for. I dont look at them anymore as a home team specialist, they a truly a team who can now win anywhere. England V India is going to be a tasty series, tough, England with the home advantage and the belief after winning the ashes over here, and i guess it depends on which India turn up. At the same token, Australia V India, this time next year i predict a comfortable series victory for the indians, that should give india some sort of joy

  • cricinme on January 8, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Thanks India and SA for an intriguing series. Well played both. This was test cricket at its best.

  • ricardowill on January 8, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    I wonder if the History of Test Cricket will survive. It has been softened over the years that when I think of the Great batmen like Vivian Richards, and Greg Chappell batting without helmets and dominating bowlers, it is difficult to compare the present accomplishment of the great players. Not that today's players are not great, but they are not tested the same way. Every now and then they should have a true test contest on fast lively pitches and no helmets and no bouncer restrictions just to see how great these players really are.

  • redcat on January 8, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    Sidarth. I agree on a return to the 5 match series between India & SA. Not just on the strength of the teams; but this was the original series (The Frienship Series). It has always been closely fought, offers fabulous contrast in playing styles and playing conditions; all the ingredients for TEST Cricket. India was also hugely instrumental in SA's return to International cricket in the early 90's. Besides; we should be given as much chance as possible to watch some of the best cricketers in history playing the best form of the game. Roy

  • gooey_kablooie on January 8, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    This is the real deal. The real test. Riveting stuff. Such matches separates the men from the boys. I hope the rest of the Test cricket action lives up to the expectations of all the viewers. This series has set a standard and showed that real cricket is Test Cricket. Kudos to both teams for entertaining every cricket fan around the globe.

  • shaantanu on January 8, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    thanks india and SA for an intriguing test series.wish it was a five test series though.Ashes was overhyped.always been one sided affair except maybe in 2005.wont blame india though for not playin for a win.for cynics tht may be negative,but 1-1 sounds so much better than 2-1.had they played for a win they most likely would have lost the plot.kallis and steyn were unbelievable.tendulkar as always superb.what is satisfying is that indias was more of a team effort than individual brilliance.now we are in an era which is so much different than the WI and aus one.now we have 3 teams who are vying for the no 1 position and that bodes well for test cricket.......INdia and England bring it on.

  • misterjoeyman on January 8, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Nice finish: "Bring on another year of similar hard-fought Test cricket." Couldn't agree more. I can't remember another year when i have enjoyed linking to the cricket, wherever it has come from. Or maybe it's the facility of following cricket with cricinfo. Or maybe even it's the fact that my team, Westindies, has hardly played any Tests this year. It's been a joy to follow the Ashes, and the SA v India series has been gripping. I think even NZ v Pakistan offers promise. And maybe my team will finally, FINALLY find a consistent return, at least, to parity with the best. Someday.

  • on January 8, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    Yes Sidharth, it certainly demanded a 5 test series for this quality of cricket. And as far as the 'race' is concerned why not include Sri Lanka if you're including England? I mean both teams win an odd series against a weak opposition away and win predominantly at home

  • on January 8, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    India let themselves down badly...This was the best chance they could have ever got.They had the Proteas absolutely on the mat at 98/5 and afterwards at 130/6.Of course Kallis was incredible,but still it was rather confounding to see the ta...ctics of Dhoni.He should have gone for the kill.Yes a drawn series is creditable given India's horror shows in SA in the past.But the fact remains that a series win continues to elude...Remember the underrated Proteas won a test series in India long back and they have also drawn the lat two test series against India......So it is indeed a lost opportunity...The momentum was with India and SA wasnt exactly at the peak of their powers....Next time around India minus the likes of Sachin,Dravid and even Laxman may be hard pressed to push for a series win here!!!!

  • gone4aduck on January 8, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    After the first 3 tests in the ashes the score was 1-1 and the contest looked even. After 5 test, England showed they were by far the better team. Surely when the top 2 or 3 teams are play each other they should be 5 test series. Maybe then more risks would have been taken or players would be better able to showcase their ability. 1 piece of luck or one good spell of bowling or batting could change the direction of a game. If Kallis had not been freakishly run out in Durban or Dhoni had won the toss in Centurion, either game may have gone the other way and we would have talked about the total dominance of either team. We should have 5 test matches for marquee series.

  • on January 8, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    this is bad v r never giving the due credit to the indian saviour vvs laxman who made this a memorable tour for the indians...

  • intcamd on January 8, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    India have another 1 or 2 years near the top, max. When Tendulkar, Laxman, and Dravid hang up their hats, there will be a huge drop in the side's quality. England seem to have a side for the longer term, and SA are also pretty close with only Kallis nearing retirement.

  • iphone1 on January 8, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    To all those ppl who say India do not deserve no.1 and instead gunning for SA or ENG... here goes.....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?

  • Bhatin on January 8, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    Their whole side registered two centuries and two five-fors; Kallis alone scored three centuries, and Steyn alone took two five-wicket hauls. ... Well Sidd, for India also Sachin alone scored 2 centuries, Laxman missed out. It sounds like the cricinfo author also does not want to give the credit where it is due.. thats poor statement.

  • bhushya on January 8, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    Wonderful assessment by Siddharth. I would have loved to have 5 tests.

  • rach13 on January 8, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    All in all, it was a fair result. Two one sided tests, and one which could have gone either way. The series is a clear representation of good test cricket between two of the world's best. All of the expected players had starred, with Steyn and Morkel with the ball, and Kallis with the bat for South Africa, and Tendulkar and Laxman with the bat with the entire Indian bowling lineup contributing. Looking forward to a thrilling T20 and One Day series. Having said that, one does feel that India may have a bit of an upper hand, as Steyn and Morkel are not as threatening in the one day scene, and the Indians thrive in the limited overs game. Their only slight concern is their bowling and fielding. Morkel and Steyn should employ the short ball quite a bit if they are to jolt this lineup. Mention must be given to Makhaya Ntini, who is calling it quits to the game, after a remarkable career. Wish him all the luck in the future. I predict a win in the T2O for India, and a 3-2 series win

  • nlambda on January 8, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    As an Indian, definitely disappointed at not winning the 3rd test. This was a marquee clash. That said, our team has problems with maintaining intensity. We beat NZ only 1-0 and the bowlers were clearly flat on Day 4 after lunch. So a deserving draw? Still feels bad. Steyn and not Kallis was the difference. If Dale was not there India would absolutely have thrashed SA.

  • indianpunter on January 8, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    This series has really elevated Jacques Kallis o the rarified heights of greatness, so far only accorded to Tendulkar and Lara. He has been an immovable object and although he does not have the flair of tendulkar, he is brilliant at what he does. What this review fails to mention are the passengers in the Indian team. I wonder if Sehwag's injury is far worse than initially thought. If yes, why did he play the 3rd test. Sehwag looked out of sorts and out of place. At least he has a future. What about the other elephant in the room. Is it sacrilegious to say that Dravid has to go. For the sake of Indian cricket, RD should have played his last test. It s sad to see a great struggle and fumble the way he has. Please call time on your illustrious career, Rahul.

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  • indianpunter on January 8, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    This series has really elevated Jacques Kallis o the rarified heights of greatness, so far only accorded to Tendulkar and Lara. He has been an immovable object and although he does not have the flair of tendulkar, he is brilliant at what he does. What this review fails to mention are the passengers in the Indian team. I wonder if Sehwag's injury is far worse than initially thought. If yes, why did he play the 3rd test. Sehwag looked out of sorts and out of place. At least he has a future. What about the other elephant in the room. Is it sacrilegious to say that Dravid has to go. For the sake of Indian cricket, RD should have played his last test. It s sad to see a great struggle and fumble the way he has. Please call time on your illustrious career, Rahul.

  • nlambda on January 8, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    As an Indian, definitely disappointed at not winning the 3rd test. This was a marquee clash. That said, our team has problems with maintaining intensity. We beat NZ only 1-0 and the bowlers were clearly flat on Day 4 after lunch. So a deserving draw? Still feels bad. Steyn and not Kallis was the difference. If Dale was not there India would absolutely have thrashed SA.

  • rach13 on January 8, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    All in all, it was a fair result. Two one sided tests, and one which could have gone either way. The series is a clear representation of good test cricket between two of the world's best. All of the expected players had starred, with Steyn and Morkel with the ball, and Kallis with the bat for South Africa, and Tendulkar and Laxman with the bat with the entire Indian bowling lineup contributing. Looking forward to a thrilling T20 and One Day series. Having said that, one does feel that India may have a bit of an upper hand, as Steyn and Morkel are not as threatening in the one day scene, and the Indians thrive in the limited overs game. Their only slight concern is their bowling and fielding. Morkel and Steyn should employ the short ball quite a bit if they are to jolt this lineup. Mention must be given to Makhaya Ntini, who is calling it quits to the game, after a remarkable career. Wish him all the luck in the future. I predict a win in the T2O for India, and a 3-2 series win

  • bhushya on January 8, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    Wonderful assessment by Siddharth. I would have loved to have 5 tests.

  • Bhatin on January 8, 2011, 1:36 GMT

    Their whole side registered two centuries and two five-fors; Kallis alone scored three centuries, and Steyn alone took two five-wicket hauls. ... Well Sidd, for India also Sachin alone scored 2 centuries, Laxman missed out. It sounds like the cricinfo author also does not want to give the credit where it is due.. thats poor statement.

  • iphone1 on January 8, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    To all those ppl who say India do not deserve no.1 and instead gunning for SA or ENG... here goes.....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?

  • intcamd on January 8, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    India have another 1 or 2 years near the top, max. When Tendulkar, Laxman, and Dravid hang up their hats, there will be a huge drop in the side's quality. England seem to have a side for the longer term, and SA are also pretty close with only Kallis nearing retirement.

  • on January 8, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    this is bad v r never giving the due credit to the indian saviour vvs laxman who made this a memorable tour for the indians...

  • gone4aduck on January 8, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    After the first 3 tests in the ashes the score was 1-1 and the contest looked even. After 5 test, England showed they were by far the better team. Surely when the top 2 or 3 teams are play each other they should be 5 test series. Maybe then more risks would have been taken or players would be better able to showcase their ability. 1 piece of luck or one good spell of bowling or batting could change the direction of a game. If Kallis had not been freakishly run out in Durban or Dhoni had won the toss in Centurion, either game may have gone the other way and we would have talked about the total dominance of either team. We should have 5 test matches for marquee series.

  • on January 8, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    India let themselves down badly...This was the best chance they could have ever got.They had the Proteas absolutely on the mat at 98/5 and afterwards at 130/6.Of course Kallis was incredible,but still it was rather confounding to see the ta...ctics of Dhoni.He should have gone for the kill.Yes a drawn series is creditable given India's horror shows in SA in the past.But the fact remains that a series win continues to elude...Remember the underrated Proteas won a test series in India long back and they have also drawn the lat two test series against India......So it is indeed a lost opportunity...The momentum was with India and SA wasnt exactly at the peak of their powers....Next time around India minus the likes of Sachin,Dravid and even Laxman may be hard pressed to push for a series win here!!!!