A riveting Test series between South Africa and India ended in a win for the home side. Here’s an XI comprising the best performers from either side in the series.
235 runs @ 47, HS 96*
The South Africa skipper was solid with the bat and also led his side admirably through the series. Despite the squad being affected by injury and retirement, he took the entire series as a challenge, even calling the Cape Town Test as their biggest game in years. Sure enough, the side looked ready to face the India challenge after a heavy defeat at Centurion. His unbeaten 96 at Johannesburg played a crucial role in breaking India’s unbeaten run at the venue.
226 runs @ 37.66, HS 123
The Karnataka batter was one of the only two centurions in the series. He ensured that India had the upper hand in the Centurion Test on the very first day with a fine hundred against a good home attack. His numbers petered off after that knock (he scored only 30 runs in the last three innings), but his overall returns showed once again that he is the man to partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order.
276 runs @ 46, HS 82
South Africa’s number three showed true grit and application to become the highest run-getter of the series and also win the Player of the Series award. He showed great perseverance against a quality attack, while also playing three quality knocks to take the game away from India in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
161 runs @ 40.25, HS 79
Kohli might have made headlines for things other than just batting, but the batter in him did show great discipline in Cape Town. His knock of 79 was brilliant given the circumstances and helped India to a reasonably good score in the second innings, while his 29 off 143 saw him play the sheet anchor to perfection, giving support to Pant. But for a back spasm in Johannesburg, his figures would’ve looked even better.
221 runs @ 73.66, HS 52
Bavuma managed to show fight against the India bowling attack in each of his six innings, while also remaining unbeaten on three occasions. This was a splendid performance from a player who is usually under scrutiny for his lack of returns at the highest level.
186 runs @ 37.2, HS 100*, 13 catches
It was an underwhelming series for wicket-keepers in general, till Pant the batter decided to turn it around in India’s second innings during the Cape Town Test. His free-flowing 100 not out, out of India’s 198, on a tricky surface gave the tourists a semblance of hope.
60 runs @ 15, 19 wickets @ 16.47, BBI 4-31
The debutant managed to impress one and all with his nagging lines and bounce. He looked raw to begin with, and took some time to get his feet going, but soon formed a deadly trio alongside Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada to beat the India batters time and again.
14 wickets @ 21, BBI 5-44
The Bengal bowler continues to remain among India’s finest bowlers in the format, providing fine assistance to Jasprit Bumrah and showing typical incision in their Centurion win. He was India’s most successful bowler in the series and picked eight wickets in the game, including a five-for in the first innings. He particularly troubled Aiden Markram, whom he snared on four occasions during the series.
20 wickets @ 19.05, BBI 4-42
South Africa’s premium bowler ensured that the Proteas were always on the top while they bowled in Johannesburg and Cape Town. He picked one-third of the India wickets on offer and ensured that his side won the crucial moments of these Test encounters.
12 wickets @ 23.41, BBI 5-42
The India fast bowler loves bowling in South Africa (he has 26 wickets in six matches here), and might have hoped for a few more given his efforts, and given that his opposite number managed to pick 20 wickets in the series. Even so, Bumrah was quite lethal throughout the series. In Centurion, he came back from a painful ankle injury to pick 5-66.
15 wickets @ 15, BBI 6-71
The South Africa bowler was impressive all-around, his economy rate of 2.68 only matched by Jasprit Bumrah in the series. He ensured that the India batters had little respite after relentless spells from Rabada and Jansen.
Wisden’s South Africa-India Test team of the series