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Stats Analysis

Stats - South Africa first team to win a three-match Test series without scoring 250

Also, India's rare loss after taking a 1-0 lead, and a very dry series for spin

Comebacks after starting with a defeat
Losing a Test series after winning the first match is rare for India. This defeat to South Africa is only the fourth time, out of 45 such instances in Test cricket, when they have lost a series after winning the first match. India lost home series against England twice after taking a 1-0 lead in the first match - in 1984-85 and 2012. The other instance also came in South Africa, in 2006-07.
For South Africa, this win is only the fifth time they have won a series after losing the opener across 42 such instances.
A dry series for the spinners
Spinners collectively picked up four wickets in this series - three by R Ashwin and one by Keshav Maharaj. That is the fourth-lowest number of wickets to have fallen to spin in a Test series of three or more matches. Spinners had no success across the 24 overs they bowled during a five-match series between West Indies and England in 1990. Two wickets fell to spin during a three-match series between South Africa and Australia in 1902, and three in a series between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in 1995.
Twin chases of 200-plus targets
South Africa, in this series, successfully chased down targets over 200 in consecutive matches. They chased down 240 in Johannesburg to level the series and 212 in Cape Town to win the series. They became only the fifth side in Test history with two successful 200-plus chases in a series. The last instance was by India, during a home series against Australia in 2010.
Winning a series without a 250-plus total
South Africa's highest total of the series came in Johannesburg - 243 for 3 in the chase. That constitutes the lowest highest total by a side to have won a Test series of three or more matches (there are 423 such Test series). The previous lowest highest total for a team winning a Test series with three-plus matches was 274 by New Zealand, in a 1-0 away series win against Pakistan in 1969.
A poor batting show by India
India began their tour with a solid batting performance in Centurion, aided by a hundred from KL Rahul. It was all downhill from there for them, though. The collective batting average of India in this series is 20.90, the second-lowest by them in a Test series of three or more matches since 2000. Their worst in this period, incidentally, came on the previous tour to South Africa, in 2018, where they averaged only 19.15.

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo