Team India break Cape Town jinx, win Test, level series 1-1

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | January 04, 2024 IST

Team India

Cape Town, Jan 4: India held their nerves on Day-2 to win the second Test against South Africa, here on Thursday. Rohit Sharma & Co also levelled the two match Test series 1-1. It was also India's first ever Test match victory in Cape Town.

Chasing a victory target of 79, the visitors lost three second innings wickets, but managed to win the match on a pitch, which was very difficult to bat. 

Realising that hanging on such a 'wicked' wicket was difficult, the visitors perhaps took a cue from centurion Aiden Markram's approach in the second innings. 

Markram scored 106 in 103 balls and he was the only batter to have scored more than 50 runs in an innings in the entire Test match.

The visitors decided to score rapidly and reach the small target (79) before the African pacers could repeat their Day-1 act. 

However, there was perhaps a slight change in Team India's plan with their aggressive captain Rohit Sharma playing rather an uncharacteristic anchor role.

The Indian top order once again had trouble in tackling the African pacers and they did lose three wickets too. But they perhaps decided to score rapidly and have a controlled aggressive approach on a lively track, where fast bowlers had the last laugh.

 Skipper Sharma (unbeaten 16 in 22 balls), Yashasvi Jaiswal (28 in 23 balls), Shubman Gill (10 in 11 balls), Virat Kohli (12 in 11 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (not out 4 in 6 balls) contributed sensibly to script a historic Indian win in Proteas' land.

Earlier, before Lunch on Day 2, South Africa were all out for 176 in 36.5 overs in their second innings, with opening batter and old war horse Aiden Markram's valiant ton. Markram proved his class with a superb century on a pitch that made batting almost impossible for others (baring Virat Kohli on Day-1).

However, after scoring 106 in only 103 balls, Markram was finally dismissed by Mohammed Siraj, who got him caught by skipper Rohit Sharma at long off.

Markram's ton delayed the eventuality of an Indian win. After scoring just 55 in first innings, the hosts did fight well to restrict Indians to 153. Viral Kohl's fighting 46 on Day-1 was the highlight of Indian batting on first day. 

As the hosts resumed their second innings from 62/3 on Thursday, Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah dominated the proceedings with a fiery spell. He claimed 6 wickets giving away 61 runs.

All the four Indian pacers tested success, including Prasidh Krishna, who had a lacklustre performance in the previous match in Centurion.

With 23 wickets falling on the first day, the Cape Town pitch was criticised for its extra pace and uneven bounce by several former cricketers.

Playing his farewell Test, Proteas skipper Dean Elgar too expressed unhappiness with the nature of the track. 

Mohammed Siraj, who claimed 7 wickets in the match (6/15 and 1/31) was adjudged as the Player of the Match.

Player of the Series was shared by South African skipper Dean Elgar and Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah. 

Elgar scored 201 runs in the two-Test series including the match winning 185 in Centurion Test. The other Player of the Series, Bumrah claimed 12 wickets in the two-Tests.

Elgar, the hero of several African battles, though had to face a defeat in his farewell Test as a player and captain, but he got a standing ovation from the crowd. 

The players of both sides also paid their respect to the outgoing icon of South Africa, who always loved to maintain a low profile.

Elgar's performances only speak volumes about his credentials in Test cricket. He scored 5331 runs and claimed 15 wickets in 85 Tests. His highest score in Test matches was 199 and he scored at a career average of 38.35, which is definitely laudable. 

Elgar was the biggest obstacle for India in their last Test series. This time too he fashioned African victory in Centurion. Elgar bid adieu to Test cricket with lot of achievements and memories to cherish. But Team India's dream of winning a Test series in South Africa still remains unfulfilled.

Since 1992, after South Africa returned to international cricket after the apartheid, India have never won a Test series in Proteas' land. 

True, winning a Test series in South Africa still remains the 'Final Frontier' for Indian men's team. Hopefully, after Elgar's retirement from Tests, India can up their ante and achieve their long cherished goal. Let's hope for the best next time. For the time being, let's celebrate India's victory in Cape Town Test.

Brief scores: 

South Africa 55 and 176

India 153 and 80/3.

India won by 7 wickets, level two match Test series 1-1.

Player of the Match: Mohammed Siraj.

Players of the Series: Dean Elgar and Jasprit Bumrah.

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