In a short three-match series, where there’s just a day’s gap between the matches, India has to get the batting right, which was one of the main reasons for them losing the first match by 31 runs and being 1-0 behind in the series.
In a chase of 298, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were going along nicely till both fell in quick succession. On the slow and spin-aiding pitch at Paarl, where stroke-play was difficult for fresh batters at the crease, India’s middle-order failed to get the chase on track and fell without making any substantial contributions as the tourists fell to 188/6.
Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer fell to short balls while Rishabh Pant was dismissed via a brilliant stumping from Quinton de Kock. Eventually, the visitors could manage 265/8 in 50 overs. Another trick which India and stand-in captain KL Rahul missed was giving Venkatesh a go with bowling.
When South Africa captain Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen were cruising along for their partnership of 204 and managing to neutralise Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur, not giving Venkatesh a go with his medium-pace was a big miss.
With Bavuma and van der Dussen employing conventional as well as reverse sweeps, one could sense that India were flat and devoid of ideas on how to stop the duo from scoring runs.
It was also a match where the South Africa spin trio of Aiden Markram, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi picked four wickets overall while conceding 124 runs in 26 overs and did better than Indian spin duo of Ashwin and Chahal, who could take just one wicket while conceding 106 runs in their combined 20 overs.
For South Africa, everything went well with the bat and ball. Tightening the screws after Dhawan and Kohli fell meant they managed to swing the match in their favour.
They would like for their openers, de Kock, Janneman Malan and Markram to get more runs with the bat. It will be a hard task for India to stop a confident South Africa from winning their fourth match on the trot of this tour unless their batting and tactics put up an improved show.
Squads India: KL Rahul (captain), Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jayant Yadav and Navdeep Saini.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj (vice-captain), Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen and Kyle Verreynne.
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