South Africa defeated India by 7 wickets to win the third Test in Cape Town, which also won them the series 2-1. After losing the opening Test in Centurion, the hosts bounced back to get the better of India in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Despite India’s top-notch bowling, they failed to win the series because of the poor show from their batters. The form of senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara continued to remain sub-standard, and their place in the team is now under the scanner. Let us take a look at the talking points from day four of the third and final Test between South Africa and India in Cape Town.
Cheteshwar Pujara drops Keegan Petersen
When India badly needed a wicket on day four, Pujara dropped a pretty simple catch at first slip to give a reprieve to Keegan Petersen, the best batter for the Proteas in the third Test. South Africa were 126 for 2 at that point, still 86 runs away from a win and Petersen was on 59. The dropped catch further attracted criticism towards Pujara, who is already under pressure for his poor returns with the bat. Jasprit Bumrah, who had bowled the delivery and captain Virat Kohli were seen in disbelief when the sitter was dropped.
Lacklustre performance from the Indian batters
India’s batting was a big let-down this series. Barring Rishabh Pant who scored a century, the next best score from among the visiting batters in the second innings was 29 off 143 from Kohli. The biggest question emerging from the series is – how long will the management persist with Rahane and Pujara? While Pujara managed only 124 runs in three Tests, Rahane scored 136. With 135 runs, Mayank Agarwal also failed to deliver. Apart from KL Rahul’s century in the opening Test and Pant’s century in Cape Town, India don’t have much to boast about from this tour. The Indian bowlers, however, did well but had little support from the batters.
India drop to fifth spot in the WTC table
India slipped to the fifth position in the World Test Championship (WTC) points table after losing to South Africa by seven wickets in Cape Town on Friday. So far in the second edition of the Test championship, India have won four games, lost three and drawn two. Additionally, the Virat Kohli-led side has also lost three points owing to slow over-rate. South Africa, on the other hand, moved up from fifth place to fourth.
India’s next assignments are against Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh and England. Currently topping the points table are Sri Lanka, who have two wins from two matches after whitewashing the West Indies at home. Australia and Pakistan are in second and third place, followed by New Zealand, Bangladesh and West Indies, who are on the sixth, seventh and eighth spot. The wooden spooners are England, who have just one win from eight matches.
Keegan Petersen – Player of the Match & Series
Keegan Petersen scored three fifties in this series, two of which came in Cape Town. Playing only the fifth match of his Test career, the right-hander scored 72 in the first innings and 82 in the second. Petersen made his Test debut against the West Indies only six months ago, managing only 44 runs in three innings. He was given a longer rope in the series against India, and redeemed himself with 276 runs in six innings.
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