South Africa’s pacers scalped 59 wickets out of 60, whereas India’s seamers bagged 43 wickets off 46.
India suffered defeat in the recently concluded Freedom Trophy 2021-22 against South Africa. However, India’s pacers put up impressive performances throughout the series. New pacers like Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj boosted the performance of the bowling attack in addition to experienced pacers like Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
A stats analysis of the performance of India’s pacers and its comparison with their Proteas counterpart will, however, put things in perspective as to where India needs to work going forward.
Among India’s pacers, newbie Shardul Thakur bagged a phenomenal seven-wicket haul at the Wanderers Stadium, whereas Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami took one fifer each in the rest of the Test matches.
Bulk of the wickets went to pacers on both sides of the spectrum
As we can gauge from the chart below, South Africa’s pacers scalped 59 wickets out of 60, whereas India’s seamers bagged 43 wickets off 46. Lone India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin could take only three wickets in three Test matches. Protea seamers took their wickets while conceding only 20 runs for every wicket, whereas India’s pacers spent around 24 runs per wicket in the series. Also, there is a difference of 10 in the strike rate of pacers from both countries; India’s pacers grabbed a wicket off every 49 deliveries. However, India’s speedsters bagged three five-fors whereas Protea pacers could grab only one.
Pacers Performance in the Freedom Trophy
India’s pacers took only 13 wickets in second innings as against the Protea count of 30
If we break down the performances in terms of innings, we can see in the below chart that India’s pacers bagged 30 wickets out of their tally of 43 in the first innings of three Test matches whereas their Protea counterparts bagged 29 out of their tally of 59 wickets in the first innings. Also, India’s pacers took all their fifers in the first innings of the three Test matches.
It goes without saying that India’s pacers bowled better in the first innings than second innings in the three Test matches of the series and they could have put in more efforts in the second innings to actually deliver match-winning performances.
Whether fitness is an issue that needs to be looked into or endurance is for the coaching staff to determine but there is of course a need to simulate fourth innings scenarios where pacers take more onus to defend low totals.
Pacers Performance in First innings in the Freedom Trophy
Pacers Performance in Second innings in the Freedom Trophy
If we look at the second innings performance of pacers in Freedom Trophy 2021-22, South Africa pacers bagged around the same number of wickets in the second innings as in the first, however, they concede four runs fewer for every wicket in the second essay as against the first. India’s speedsters could bag only 13 wickets in the second innings of all three Test matches in the series which led to the failure of India to defend the target twice in the last two Test matches of the series.
Also, India’s speedsters conceded 41 runs for every wicket in the second innings, which is 24 more than in the first innings. They couldn’t take any five-wicket haul in the second innings of the series. Thus, we can say that the failure of India’s pacers harmed the team heavily while closing down the last two games. It is also noteworthy that pitches in South Africa improved for batting in the last few days of every Test which helped Protea batters in the fourth innings in the last two games.
Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen produced brilliant symphony taking 39 wickets between them
If we take look at individual performances, Protea lead speedster Kagiso Rabada scalped 20 wickets in the Freedom Trophy whereas left-arm pacer Marco Jansen made an impact straightaway in his debut Test series. He bagged 19 wickets in this three-Test series by conceding only 16 runs for every wicket. He exploited the weakness of India’s batters against left-arm pace bowling very effectively. Experienced campaigner Lungi Ngidi also bagged 15 wickets in three Tests whereas Duanne Olivier snared only five wickets in two Tests.
Performance of Proteas Pacers in Freedom Trophy
Performance of Indian Pacers in Freedom Trophy
Among India’s seamers, veteran right-arm pacer Mohammed Shami led the wickets chart with 14 wickets in three Tests in the series; eight wickets out of his tally of 14 were taken in the first Test of the series which also helped India win the match. Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur bagged 12 wickets each in the series. Right-arm pacer Umesh Yadav played only the last Test of the series, though he could take only two wickets in the game.