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India tour of SA 2023-24: Rewind to the four Test victories of India on South African soil

India tour of South Africa 2023-24: Rewind to the four Test victories of India on South African soil. India to play boxing day test against South Africa in Centurion.


India tour of South Africa 2023-24: KL Rahul to play a key role for India (Images: ©X/Twitter)
Rahul during his century knock against South Africa (Images: ©X/Twitter)

The India Cricket Team, under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, are all set to lock horns with South Africa in the Boxing Day Test match at Centurion Park, starting from December 26. The 'Men in Blue' would look to create history by winning the first-ever series in the Rainbow Nation while the Proteas would look to clinch two wins in two matches and top the World Test Championship points table.


Though India have never won a series in the rainbow nation, they have surely clinched a few matches in the most difficult conditions and circumstances. Let’s delve into four such occasions where the boys from India proved their prowess on South African soil.


India vs South Africa, Wanderers 2006

A historic moment unfolded in Johannesburg in December 2006. It was India's inaugural Test match triumph in South Africa, where the Indian lads not only shattered a 14-year drought but also led to a pivotal shift in India's prowess in overseas cricket.


The enthralling match, being played over four intense days, witnessed a neck-to-neck contest between the two teams. India set the stage with a first-innings total of 249, fueled by the resilient batting display of Sourav Ganguly, who contributed with a half-century while other batters found it difficult to kick the scoreboard. The response from South Africa was feeble, as they were dismissed for a mere 84 runs, with Sreesanth claiming an impressive five-wicket haul.


Registering a substantial 165-run lead, India further solidified their position with a second-innings score of 236, courtesy of a standout performance by VVS Laxman, who notched up an impressive 73 runs. This propelled India to a commanding overall lead of 401 runs.


Despite South Africa's promising start in pursuit of the daunting target of 402, their fortunes took a turn when Anil Kumble's spin mastery, yielding figures of 3/54, proved insurmountable for the middle order. Ultimately, falling short by 123 runs, South Africa conceded victory to India, marking a historic and transformative moment in Indian cricket on foreign soil.



India vs South Africa, Durban 2010

Test series played between India and South Africa in 2010/11 witnessed another remarkable feat for the India cricket team. In the first innings of the second test match, India faced a difficult challenge as they laboriously compiled 205 runs in 65.1 overs. Despite promising starts from the top eight batters, none converted their opportunities into substantial scores.

 

VVS Laxman emerged as the top scorer with 38 runs, while Dale Steyn showcased his bowling prowess with a stellar 6/50, also supported by Lownabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel, who claimed two wickets each.


However, things turned delightful when South Africa faltered and were dismissed for a mere 131 runs. Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh played significant roles, with the former dismissing both openers and the latter securing four crucial wickets, including the prized scalp of Hashim Amla at 33.

With a crucial 74-run lead, India commenced their second innings confidently, led by Virender Sehwag's brisk 32. However, their momentum was dampened as they lost four wickets in quick succession, paving the way for Laxman to seize control. His determined efforts forged crucial partnerships, propelling India's lead beyond the 300-run mark. Laxman fell agonizingly short of a century, departing at 96.


Tasked with chasing 303 runs, South Africa faced an uphill battle. Amla and Jacques Kallis displayed resilient batting, constructing a steady partnership. Despite their efforts, India's bowlers remained relentless, with Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth claiming three wickets each. In the end, South Africa was restricted to 215 runs, securing a monumental 87-run victory for India in Durban.



India vs South Africa, Wanderers 2018

Team India, led by Virat Kohli achieved a remarkable victory on South African soil in January 2018, etching their triumph in the annals of cricket history. The three-match test series began with India facing setbacks in the first two Test matches. Undeterred, they displayed resilience on the notoriously bouncy Wanderers pitch, known for favouring South Africa's formidable pace attack.


Captained by Virat Kohli, India's strategic boldness was witnessed as they elected to bat first on a challenging green pitch. Despite early setbacks and seven batters falling to single-digit scores, Cheteshwar Pujara's half-century and Virat Kohli's aggressive 54 stabilized the innings. India posted a total of 187/10, with Kagiso Rabada leading the South Africa bowling attack with figures of 3/39.


In response, Hashim Amla's solid 61 anchored South Africa's innings, but Jasprit Bumrah's exceptional 5/54 dismantled their batting lineup. As the first innings concluded, South Africa held a slim 7-run lead.

Heading into the second innings, India needed a substantial effort to turn the tide. Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane's sensible partnership, along with valuable contributions from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, extended India's lead to 240 runs.

 

In pursuit, South Africa started strongly with Dean Elgar and Amla, reaching 124/1. However, Ishant Sharma's crucial breakthrough, dismissing Amla, triggered a collapse. Mohammed Shami's devastating 5/28 led to South Africa losing their last nine wickets for just 53 runs. Although Elgar's valiant 86 in the second innings showcased resilience, it proved insufficient to overcome the deficit, marking India's memorable victory on foreign soil.



India vs South Africa, Centurion 2021

In 2021/22, India continued their success from the 2018 Johannesburg victory with a win in the three-match series opener. Despite Centurion's renowned challenging conditions, India bravely chose to bat first and laid a solid foundation through the opening partnership of Mayank Agarwal (62) and KL Rahul (123), amassing 117 runs. While Pujara fell for a golden duck, Kohli and Rahane contributed with 35 and 48, respectively. Rahul's elegant century propelled India to a total of 327 in the first innings.


India's pace duo, Mohammed Shami (5/44) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/16) showcased disciplined and skillful bowling, exploiting the Centurion bounce to dismiss South Africa for 197 in their first innings. With a 130-run lead, India added 174 more runs, setting a challenging 305-run target for South Africa in the fourth innings.


The Indian bowlers maintained control, preventing South Africa from forming threatening partnerships. Despite Dean Elgar's defiant 77, the hosts succumbed, being bowled out for 191. This victory concluded India's remarkable year, starting with the historic Gabba win against Australia and ending with a resounding 113-run triumph over South Africa.


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