South Africa in India, 2019/20: Hosts inflict maiden whitewash

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Sun, 26/12/2021
South Africa in India 2019/20
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In 2019/20, South Africa travelled to India to play three T20Is and three Test matches. The subsequent ODI leg, scheduled in March 2020, had to be called off. After the first ODI, in Kanpur, was abandoned due to rain, Covid-19 pushed the world to a lockdown, putting a halt on not only the series but all cricket.

The T20Is were level 1-1, but the subsequent Test series was completely dominated by India, who picked up 40 ICC Test Championship points with a whitewash.

The first Test match of the series was only the second ever at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam. India won the toss, and Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal batted together for 82 overs to add 317, the third-highest opening stand for India. While Rohit fell for 176, Agarwal went on to convert his maiden Test century to a double hundred.

India went for quick runs thereafter, and declared on 502/7 on Day 2. The South African response, of 431, was built on Dean Elgar's 160 and Quinton de Kock's 111, as R. Ashwin finished with 7-145. Rohit (127) then became the fifth Indian to score centuries on both innings of a Test match as India declared on 323/4.

South Africa could chase 395 or survive 100 overs, but both seemed unrealistic after Mohammed Shami's spell before lunch on Day 5. Moving the ball at great pace, Shami (5-35) got Temba Bavuma, du Plessis and de Kock to break the backbone of the South African innings, reducing them to 70/8. Debutant Senuran Muthusamy (49*) and Dane Piedt (56) added 91 for the ninth wicket before Shami returned to dismiss Piedt and Kagiso Rabada to seal the match.

India followed their 203-run win in the first Test match with two innings wins. At Pune, Mayank Agarwal got another hundred and Ravindra Jadeja 91, but it was Virat Kohli's 254 not out helped India declare on 601/5. Curiously, Kohli drew criticism for declaring the innings closed as soon as his 225-run stand with Jadeja ended with the latter's dismissal, denying himself an elusive triple-hundred.

South Africa crashed to 36/3 by stumps on Day 2, and became 53/5 next morning before Keshav Maharaj (72), du Plessis (64), Vernon Philander (44) and de Kock (31) took them to 275. Kohli asked them to bat again, and this time they were bowled out for 189, Elgar top-scoring with 48.

India won by an innings and 137 runs, which they bettered at Ranchi, to an innings and 202 runs. Both matches got over inside four days. Desperate to win the toss, du Plessis asked Temba Bavuma to accompany him at the toss and call. Even that did not work, as Kohli won the the toss again and batted.

This time India declared on 497/9. Rohit, with three ODI double hundreds under his belt, now got one in Test cricket (212). With Ajinkya Rahane also scoring 115, the South African toil went largely unrewarded.

South Africa then lasted just 56.2 overs. Only Zubayr Hamza, making a comeback, provided some resistance, with 62, as four Indian bowlers, including debutant Shahbaz Nadeem but excluding Ashwin, shared the wickets. With a lead of 335, Kohli enforced the follow on.

The second innings turned out to be even shorter, as Indians took just 48 overs, Shami leading with three wickets. Theunis de Bruyn, a concussion substitute for Elgar, top-scored with 30.

1st Test: India 502/7 decl. and 323/4 decl. beat South Africa 431 and 191 by 203 runs. Player of the Match: Rohit Sharma.
2nd Test: India 601/5 decl. beat South Africa 275 and 189 by an innings and 137 runs. Player of the Match: Virat Kohli.
3rd Test: India 497/9 decl. beat South Africa 162 and 133 by an innings and 202 runs. Player of the Match: Rohit Sharma.
India won the series 3-0. Player of the Series: Rohit Sharma.
ODI series abandoned.
T20I series drawn 1-1. Player of the Series: Quinton de Kock.