Team India conceded a heavy defeat in the third and final Test of the series against South Africa, as the side faced a 1-2 loss in Cape Town. India’s wait to conquer the ‘final frontier’, thus, continues as the side failed to capitalise on the first Test victory in Centurion, facing seven-wicket defeats in Wanderers and Newlands.
Virat Kohli’s men were widely touted as favourites to win the series due to a relatively inexperienced South African side, and India were given a further boost with the absence of fast bowler Anrich Nortje. After the first Test, South Africa also lost Quinton de Kock in the squad as the wicketkeeper-batter announced his retirement from the longest format of the game. Despite the multiple setbacks, however, the Proteas made a remarkable comeback to seal the three-match series.
While Indian Test captain Virat Kohli admitted that it was a “disappointing” defeat in the post-match presentation, former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said that the series “has turned into a nightmare” for Kohli and co.
“India’s cricket after lunch has just baffled me. One would’ve thought that you would make one last-ditch effort, bring Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami on to bowl. Because after an interval, batsmen have to reset. India’s dream of winning a series for the first time in South Africa has turned into a nightmare,” Gavaskar said on-air after Temba Bavuma hit the winning runs for the hosts in the Cape Town Test.
“What can one say? Both of these victories are comprehensive for South Africa, winning by seven wickets again. India hasn’t even got close. India had a big victory in first Test and I really thought that is going to be a template for the next two Tests as well. It didn’t happen.”
Gavaskar further said that India’s performance with the bat were disappointing and that the visitors had a great chance to end a winless Test series streak against a depleted South African side.
“That is something which is terrific for South Africa. But hard to understand as far as India are concerned. The way they dominated that first Test, I really thought they would be able to win the series. I was thinking in terms of 3-0 series win, because of the fragility of South African batting, the fact that Nortje wasn’t playing.. that was a huge plus once again for India,” said Gavaskar.
“You have two inexperienced bowlers, they had Olivier who was making a comeback. Rabada was the only threat really and I thought the Indian batting would come good. Yes, the pitch had been testing but I thought the Indian batting wouldn’t have too many worries.
“The application showed by South Africans in Johannesburg and here is praise-worthy. That tells the character of the team.”