Is there a word to describe what India has achieved yesterday? Maybe, it is can be termed as Majestic.
Winning a test match is tough and mind you, winning a series is far tougher than what it seems like. It requires grit, passion, endurance and more importantly, a core group of players who can perform day in and out. This was the reason why Australia was on top when Ricky Ponting was the captain of team. The famous Graeme Smith’s Proteas who was no 1 for three or four consecutive years. How could one forget dominance of the golden era of West Indian fab-five! There was a certain swagger about these teams. Perhaps, the same goes for current Indian Cricket Team.
Virat Kohli’s men in white are intimidating. They know how to give it back; be it home or away. Yes, there might be some instances where Virat Kohli made an array of questionable decisions which lead to a few defeats away from home. However, when it comes to playing at home, there is barely any instance where the Indian captain plants his foot wrong. He is exceptional and so is his team! South Africa is not a team which will offer a cakewalk to their opponents but this Indian outfit has made it look one.
Apart from all this, there are certain take away from this series. Let’s see what they are:
Collective batting performance:
This has been the most satisfying aspect of the series. Totals achieved by the Indian team are hard work of all the batsmen playing for the team. It is a rarity to see all the batsmen contributing. Maybe, the counter-argument says that they played at home! Howbeit, Australia did the same when team India visited them yet they ended up losing.
If the first match saw Rohit Sharma ruling the game then it was Virat Kohli who caressed the ball all over the ground in the second match. Though, there were fifties and hundreds from other incoming batsmen who stood beside these two anchors. Mayank Agrawal with his centuries, Pujara with his, rare, aggressive performance and then it was Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane providing the necessary support.
Pacers outclassed the spinners:
Although the stats don’t support the same, it was the Indian pacers who set the tone for this series. The relentlessness of the Indian Pacers was apparent before this series; it was just a matter of time when they exploded the opposition.
South Africa could only curse their luck that they were made to face the music. It has to be Mohd Shami who deserves the credit, a little more than the others. He was persistent leaving little margin for error. He never made Kohli feel that Bumrah was missing.
It is a record! Before this, Australia was the only team to have a 10 home-series unbeaten streak. Nevertheless, this Indian team has taken over with 11 home series unbeaten run.
This shows the commitment this team is playing with. They have made their home into a fortress, a haunting place for an opponent to come.
The reason for this is Kohli-installed aggressive instinct. From looking for a draw to fetching a win within the five days, the men in white have a long way! The way the Indian Team plays at home is commendable. They give no space to the opponent to breathe – that too on not so turning tracks.
In spite of the series win, it will be interesting to see how South Africa bounces back in the last test and most importantly, will Virat Kohli tinker the playing 11 to test his bench for the games to come?