As India prepare for their latest tour of South Africa, which commences with the ODI series on December 5, we go back in time and look at how India performed in the country during their previous visits.
2001-02: The tour kicked off with a tri-series featuring India, South Africa and Kenya. India had a mixed series, but managed to make it to the final. Like last time though, this time also they went down tamely in the summit clash. The Test series was won by South Africa 1-0, after the third Test of the series was declared unofficial following the Mike Denness controversy.
Tri-series: India kicked off their campaign going down to South Africa by six wickets at Johannesburg. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly both got centuries as India set the hosts 280 to win. However, Gary Kirsten’s unbeaten 133 took South Africa home with ease. India hit back with a 41-run win at Centurion. After being restricted to 233, India bowled out South Africa for 192, Harbhajan Singh grabbing 3 for 27. India continued their winning streak, defeating Kenya by 10 wickets at Bloemfontein. Ajit Agarkar’s 4 for 27 restricted the Kenyans to 90 all out, which they chased down without much trouble.
In India’s next match at Port Elizabeth, they were shocked by Kenya. India were chasing 247 in the game, but were bowled out for 176. Joseph Angara and Thomas Odoyo claimed three wickets each. South Africa rubbed salts in India’s wounds at East London, defeating them by 46 runs. Boeta Dippenaar’s 81 guided them to 282, but India were restricted to 236 in spite of Ganguly’s 85 and Dravid unbeaten 71. In the do-or-die game, India thrashed Kenya by 186 runs at Paarl. Tendulkar and Ganguly smashed hundreds to take them to 351 for 3; the bowers did the rest. In the final at Durban, India collapsed to 183 batting first. Gary Kirsten’s 87 took them to a series-clinching victory.
Tests: The first Test at Bloemfontein began on a memorable note for the Indians. Sachin Tendulkar made a magnificent 155 and Virender Sehwag smashed a brilliant 105 on debut. But, India were still restricted to 379 in their first innings. The Proteas replied with a massive 563 with Herschelle Gibbs and Lance Klusener hitting centuries. As they have often done in the past, India collapsed in their second innings to 237 all- out; SS Das’ 62 being the only score of note. South Africa chased down 54 with ease, winning by nine wickets. Shaun Pollock was the man of the match grabbing 10 wickets in the Test.
The second Test at Port Elizabeth is remembered for all the wrong reasons. Match referee Mike Denness found Sachin Tendulkar guilty of ball tampering and four others were reprimanded for excessive appealing and showing dissent. For the record, the match was drawn. South Africa batted first and made 362 courtesy Gibbs 196. India were bowled out for 201 in reply. Scoring quickly a second time round, the Proteas set India a tough 395. Half-centuries from Dasgupta and Dravid took India to safety.
The third Test was declared unofficial by the ICC as Denness was asked to stand down by the South African board following pressure from BCCI. India went on to lose the Test by an innings and 73 runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst