Keegan Petersen's 82 played a vital role help South Africa take the series by 2-1
Brief Scores: South Africa 212-3 (Petersen 82, Van der Dussen 41*, Thakur 1-22) & 210 (Petersen 72, Bavuma 28, Bumrah 5-42) beat India 223 (Kohli 79, Pujara 43, Rabada 4-73, Jansen 3-55) & 198 (Pant 100*, Kohli 29, Jansen 4-36, Ngidi 3-21) by 7-wickets
Player of the Match and Series: Keegan Petersen (276 runs)
There was a very simple equation both India and South Africa had in front of them - the hosts needed 111 more runs to keep their record of winning all home Test series against India intact, while the visitors would eye for eight wickets to achieve their maiden Test series win in this part of the world.
With controversial DRS decisions rocking day 3 in the last one hour, this morning session would be one of the feisty periods of play in the series.
The 22-yard pitch on Day 4 at Newlands
A total of 32 wickets had fallen on the first three days which meant that the pitch wouldn’t be batter-friendly. There were a few cracks in the six-metre area which could make life difficult for the batters if the bowlers consistently kept the balls in that area.
Session 1: Van der Dussen-Petersen took South Africa close before the latter’s removal; hosts need 41 runs to win
India’s both new ball bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, started the day bang on target, bowling in the right areas. Keegan Petersen, with a couple, reached his third fifty of the series. Even though both the bowlers were asking tough questions, the luck factor seemed to be sitting in the Proteas dressing room. There were so many balls that went past the outside edge of the blade but didn’t kiss it.
And as the bowlers were getting frustrated, both Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen grabbed runs with singles, doubles and even running several threes. Bumrah did find the edge of Petersen but Cheteshwar Pujara, in the first slip, dropped a dolly to make life harder for his side.
Nonetheless, the same batter after doing the damage chopped on to the stumps as Shardul Thakur drew first blood for the tourists. That wicket provided India some sort of extra energy but van der Dussen was joined by an equally spirited, Temba Bavuma who saw the rest of the session with the right blend of patience and aggression.
With just 41 runs to win, it won’t be a mistake to say that the hosts had already kept their one hand on the Freedom Trophy.
South Africa kept their 29-year-old record intact; home side won the match by 7 wickets and take the series 2-1
The Indian team was expected to charge on to the field with a little bit of energy but they weren’t found to do so. The Indian captain began the session with Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav to squeeze up some inspiration but failed to draw any results. Both the unbeaten batters kept the momentum going forward, achieving the target in just about 51 balls.
With a boundary from the roaring Temba Bavuma, South Africa propelled to new highs winning the match by 7 wickets and took the series 2-1.
The whole South African team was found to be enjoying the moment as captain Dean Elgar showed his raised hands, while a dejected Indian team left the field, probably losing their best chance to win a Test series in South Africa in the last 29 years against a relatively inexperienced home side.
Virat Kohli (India captain): "There was some lapse of concentration from us as well in key moments. I thought South Africa performed well in those key moments and totally deserved the win. One of the challenges that we have faced touring abroad is to capitalize on momentum when it is on our side. Whenever we have done that, we've won games. But on the other hand, when we haven't done so, we have lost matches due to 30-45 minutes of cricket where we have batted badly. The opposition bowlers bowled well this series but generally, we haven't been consistent. We have had too many batting collapses. Of course, it (batting) has been the reason, no doubt about us. Their bowlers were just better in terms of their execution and applying pressure. Batting is certainly something to be looked at. No excuses there. It's really disappointing for sure."
Dean Elgar (South Africa captain): “Pretty elated. Obviously will sink in a day or two, maybe this evening. Really proud. We were thrown under the sword quite a few times this series and the guys responded brilliantly. Obviously, to bounce back after losing the first game, to believe that we could still win. Extremely happy. (On how things turned around) Challenging your players, you need characters within the group and the bowling unit has been excellent all series. I had put up a challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly. Helps to have a group that doesn't have any real big names, they like to rally together and play as one. And that's crucial. Extremely proud of this group of players that we have here."
Keegan Petersen (Player of the match and series): “It hasn't sunk in yet. It's a mixed bag to be honest. Happy, emotional. I was trying to be positive and then build on that. It's been difficult conditions all around and was just sticking to my guns. It's been a long journey, can't tell the whole story now, won't be over till tomorrow morning. It's been challenging surfaces, challenging bowling attacks. We knew it was going to be difficult - they're a high-quality bowling attack, a high-quality team. We just wanted to have the mindset to fight it out. Enjoying it (success) a lot. The longer you bat, the easier it gets (on these pitches). So, just enjoyed it a lot.”
What to look forward to on India’s tour of SA
Both teams will now move forward for the three-match ODI series starting on January 19, in Paarl. Last time in 2018, India had won the ODI series with ease by a margin of 5-1. Therefore, they will want to keep the record alive while South Africa will surely target to take their Test form in white ball games to turn the tables this time around.
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from SAvsIND, Newlands Test: