Elgar leads South Africa to victory, series level at 1-1

South Africa

South Africa has emerged victorious in the just-concluded 2nd Test match at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Johannesburg. This is the first time that the Proteas have beaten India at Wanderers after five previous attempts. This match was crucial for the home side, as they had already tasted defeat at the hands of India in the first Test at Centurion.

A resurgent South African side outplayed India in the second inning with a target of 240. This was the fourth-highest successful chase in the 4th inning by a team playing against India in Test match cricket. A crucial knock by skipper Dean Elgar was enough to give the South Africans the first taste of victory at the Wanderers against India. Elgar was the star South African batsman and finished on the score of 96 not out. For his excellent leadership on the field and scores of 28 and 96 not out, he has been adjudged the player of the match. The home side lost only 3 wickets on their way to successfully chase down the formidable target of 240, set by India. With this win, the series is now balanced at 1 match apiece.

India Lose Unbeaten Streak At Lucky Ground

The ground at Wanderers has not been lucky for the South Africans so far. Out of the six matches that they have played against India on this ground, two ended in wins for the visitors, while the rest of the matches ended in draws. If we look at the history of Indian cricket, Wanderers was one of the only three grounds where India was unbeaten in 5 straight Test matches. Apart from Wanderers, Bourda in Georgetown (West Indies), and Uppal Ground in Hyderabad (India); were the other two venues where India’s record stood strong. On Thursday, January 6, South Africa reduced those three venues to two.

South Africa On A High After Levelling Series

South Africa had been facing a very hard time whenever India was on the opposite side in Test cricket for the last few years. The Proteas had been beaten in 5 straight Test matches on the trot by India in Test matches since 2018. It is interesting to note that India’s winning streak against the Proteas had begun on the same ground, Wanderers, in 2018.

Captain Elgar Heaps Lots Of Praise On His Bowling Unit

For his fine leadership and match-winning score of 96 not out in the second inning; South African skipper Dean Elgar was adjudged the player-of-the-match. At the post-match presentation ceremony, the beaming Proteas skipper had this to say- “The basics of batting and bowling don’t go away. We missed that in the first game. Saying that it wasn’t easy. Tough conditions we had to face as a batting unit. As a bowling unit, the Indians were on top at times. Massive respect to our bowling unit, they showed a lot of character. Always a privilege to represent to our bowling unit, they showed a lot of character.”

When asked about the strong show of character from his players in the batting department as well; Elgar opined, “We struggled to get a stable line-up and we had to be very patient. We’ve entrusted those positions to guys we feel can perform those roles and great to see them pull it off. With KG (Kagiso Rabada) there was something that happened behind the scenes but we’re not going to get into that. Sometimes KG needs a rocket. You could then almost sense the intensity and focus, he was in the zone. The moment he has that attitude he wants to bowl and wants to contribute; you have to use it as a captain. It was awesome to see him fire. Team effort to get 20 wickets.”

Stand-in Indian Captain KL Rahul Dejected After Loss

The officiating Indian captain, KL Rahul; had a dejected look on his face when he came to speak to the media team at the prize distribution ceremony. It was certainly not easy for him to lead his side against a resurgent South African side. On being asked about the positives that India is taking home from this match; Rahul replied, “Shardul’s had a great Test match. In the few Test matches he’s played he’s created that impact and won us games. The contribution he had with the bat was crucial as well. Hopefully as a unit, a few more of us can put up a performance that will get India a win. They’ve been great players for us. They’ve always done the job for the team over the years.”

India and South Africa are now scheduled to play in the third and final Test match of the series starting Tuesday, January 11, 2022. It will be played at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Since the series is level at 1-1, the final Test match is being seen as the decider.