Tour review

South Africa tour of India, 2010

Ken Borland

Test matches (2): India 1, South Africa 1
One-day internationals (3): India 2, South Africa 1

Hashim Amla stood between India and victory, India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day, February 18, 2010
Hashim Amla was in sublime form throughout the tour © AFP

The top two teams in the ICC Test rankings met in a brief Test series hastily tacked on to what had been planned as a limited-overs tour. South Africa had originally been due to play seven, then five, one-day internationals. But, after India reached No. 1 in the Test rankings late in 2009 and it became apparent that they did not have enough Tests scheduled for 2010 to keep their crown, two were included at the expense of a couple of one-day games.

The tourists arrived in India without their coach, Mickey Arthur, who had resigned four days before their departure when he and the South African board disagreed on the way forward. Despite having to adjust to the temporary management team of former international fast bowler Corrie van Zyl and excaptain Kepler Wessels - both known for advocating a disciplined but aggressive approach - the South Africans were quickly into their stride.

India went into the First Test at Nagpur with a depleted side after several batsmen suffered injuries, and Dale Steyn took full advantage, slicing through the inexperienced middle order with a devastating spell of reverse-swing bowling rated among the best ever seen in India. Hashim Amla - in sublime form throughout the tour - and Jacques Kallis had already set up an imposing total, and South Africa ended up winning by an innings.

However, even more heroics from Amla, dismissed only once in more than 23 hours of batting over two Tests, could not save his side in the Second Test at Kolkata. South Africa suffered a spectacular collapse of their own on the first evening, and India rammed home the advantage with centuries from Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, the returning V. V. S. Laxman and the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was only the fourth time a team had lost a Test by an innings and then won the next match of the series by an innings.

With the No. 1 Test ranking safely in their pockets, India's focus turned to the one-day games, in which South Africa were led by Kallis after Graeme Smith returned home to rest a broken little finger. India kept their nerve to win the first match by one run, despite the South African tail mounting a fierce comeback; Tendulkar took centre-stage in the second with an inspired double-century, which not only established a new benchmark in one-day internationals but also ensured the series win.

Match reports for

1st ODI: India v South Africa at Jaipur, Feb 21, 2010
Report | Scorecard

2nd ODI: India v South Africa at Gwalior, Feb 24, 2010
Report | Scorecard

3rd ODI: India v South Africa at Ahmedabad, Feb 27, 2010
Report | Scorecard

Match reports for

1st Test: India v South Africa at Nagpur, Feb 6-9, 2010
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: India v South Africa at Kolkata, Feb 14-18, 2010
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co.