India in South Africa 2010-11

Tendulkar endures, Sehwag disappoints

For the first time, India were not beaten in a Test series in South Africa, but they also squandered their best opportunity to win

Sidharth Monga

January 8, 2011

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar waves to the crowd after what is likely to be his last Test in South Africa, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day, January 6, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar, at 37, was best equipped to deal with Dale Steyn's venomous spells © AFP
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Virender Sehwag
Will be disappointed mostly because he survived 10 overs on four occasions without converting any of those starts into a match-turning hundred. Also because he got himself out four out of the six times he was dismissed. Still far from being a mere subcontinent batsman though.

Gautam Gambhir
Many doubted his ability, for they hadn't seen him bat in South Africa, against the best new-ball bowlers in the world. Didn't run away from the challenge, fought it out in typical Gambhir fashion, scored three fifties in four innings, one of them to eat up four-and-a-half hours when South Africa were pushing for a win on the last day.

M Vijay
It would have been too much to ask of a replacement opener to come in and make an impact in the testing conditions of Durban. Still made South Africa work for his wicket.

Rahul Dravid
Didn't score a half-century. Brought up his 200th catch with a beauty. Each time he batted well - and he did, despite what scores say - a peach dismissed him. There were three poor dismissals too, when he chased wide deliveries or ran himself to doom.

Sachin Tendulkar
Looked good for the next tour too. Started fourth straight year with a century, and how well he played for it, surviving the most dangerous spell of the series. There was a century in Centurion too, his 50th. Everybody thinks this is his last tour here, everybody is wondering why.

VVS Laxman
Magical, frustrating, frustrated. Charmed everybody with arguably the innings of the series, 96 with tail in Durban. While he fulfilled the team cause, he still left without a century in South Africa. Played poor shots in similar circumstances in Centurion.

Suresh Raina
Was out of his depth. Left the bat hanging outside off, and duly edged twice without bothering South Africa much. Duly played only one Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Fought harder than the rewards showed. Had his second-innings fight, 76 minutes in fading light, approved by Laxman. Got an unplayable one from Dale Steyn in Cape Town. Will have loved a fifty from three attempts, but India will settle for the promise he showed. His close catching was special too.

MS Dhoni
He was stable. Counterattacked in the second innings in Centurion, regaining the spark with the bat. Was good with the gloves, calm as a leader, but not great with field placements. Criticising Sreesanth in the press seemed unlike Dhoni.

Harbhajan Singh
He loved the bounce. Followed up a good New Zealand tour with another to a country where seam bowlers usually enjoy more. Was India's leading wicket-taker. Fought hard with the bat in hand.

Zaheer Khan
Provided the spark and was the turning point for India. Defending a small total, he took out South Africa's openers early in Durban, giving his team much-needed confidence. His predator-prey relationship with Smith helped.

Sreesanth
Went from mercurial to messy. Had trouble with over-rates and crowds, but bowled the three best deliveries by any Indian on the trip. At crucial junctures. AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince will testify.

Ishant Sharma
Never got going. Struggled with no-balls, lack of pace and movement. The odd good spell didn't translate into a turn of fortunes.

Jaidev Unadkat
Was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Should have been playing Ranji Trophy, where he has played only four times, as opposed to replacing Zaheer in the first match of a big series.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by rjansen on (January 11, 2011, 16:47 GMT)

Just for the record:

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?

Posted by Bytheway on (January 10, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

India should play their four best bowlers, not the formula three quicks and one spinner. Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, Harbhajan and Ashwin, yes Ashwin. Four attacking bowlers to take 20 wickets.

Posted by c_uday on (January 10, 2011, 5:04 GMT)

Aussieicon 91.. actually mate!!.... Sehwag averages 59.50 in Australia.. Yup 39.50 in England.. btw Do you know how much Haydos averages in England 34.50.. Ooopss. and Haydos averages wait for it 34.5 in South Africa.. (Yes sehwag does average below that in SA at 25). so what was that comment about Hayden being a better opener? Infact Sehwag has a better average than Hayden even in Australia.... Guess what Hayden's average away from home is 41.. Guess what Sehwag's average away from home is 49.. Numbers speak for themselves mate..

Posted by mksreeram on (January 9, 2011, 17:21 GMT)

@Ali_Eorse- I am surprised to see your comment. Before talking about removing Sachin and rate indian team, talk about removing kallis and rate SA team. If not kallis india would have won the series. SA was in such a poor shape in the last test and if not kallis india would hav won their first series in india.

Posted by Mark00 on (January 9, 2011, 14:55 GMT)

Sehwag performed as expected.

Gambhir outperformed expectations by overcoming his technical deficiencies with sheer effort and discipline.

Tendulkar showed why he is the master of the mind game and why he will continue to score big runs. He never had the best eye or the quickest hands (what other top player's been hit on the head so often or got out shoulder-before-wicket?) but he is a true genius in that he knows how to find cracks in the minds of bowlers and turn those into gaping holes.

Posted by hopeless_selection on (January 9, 2011, 12:30 GMT)

@ Ali_Eorse - honestly, how is it in anyone's view that South Africa is a better team than India atm? While it is considered an achievement for india to draw against south africa, in south africa - it is far from flattering that south africa could only draw a home series against india. That puts india ahead. South Africa don't have the desperation to be number one. and they never have. btw, has anyone thought what would south africa have done without kallis?

And with regard to england, it was really a case that number 4 on the rankings beat number 5 during the ashes.

Posted by Aussieicon91 on (January 9, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

Sehwag averages under 40 (39.45) outside the subcontient - which is a more realistic way of looking at a subcontient batsman's away average. He didn't get himself out - the bowling and the conditons were just too good for a limited batsman like Virender Sehwag. Sehwag averages 23 in New Zealand, South Africa & England (the 3 most difficult conditions for an Opening Batsman) combined as an Opening Batsman. Sehwag is the most overrated Opening Batsman of alltime and Matthew Hayden is easily the better Opening Batsman and the best Opening Batsman since Sunil Gavaskar.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 9, 2011, 4:27 GMT)

I agree with with Emancipator007 except that Vijay is not the answer to current Indian batting woes. He is a very good front foot player but has no back foot play which will always land him in trouble in fast bouncy pitches. Kohli and Rohit Sharma are far better technically than either Vijay or Badri. They have shown in domestic cricket but unless they get a chance to play tests we can't give guarantees. Ashwin deserves to replace Ojha as the second spinner in the test team as he has variations as well as imagination. Ojha has always been a one dimensional bowler. Even Monty Panesar is better than him.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2011, 2:03 GMT)

Dhoni's comment on Sree was unlike of a leader. Though India did not win series they all deserve HUGE kudos and respect for competing with the best attack.

Posted by Ali_Eorse on (January 9, 2011, 1:25 GMT)

India is #3, behind South Africa, which is #2. The #1 team is England today. India will have to battle with Sri Lanka for #3 spot now. Indian team is over-rated. Take out Sachin, and you have nothing. If he plays, he only plays well once every 3-tests. Other players like Sehwag, Harbhajan, Sree, Sharma, etc. are over-rated. They cannot be relied upon. Dhoni is a captain of no discipline or character. The Indian team needs to focus on CHARACTER BUILDING. Study the England team. Learn from them. If a player is not mature, not professional, etc., he should not be in the team. So, take out Sree, Sharma, Bhaji, etc.

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