South Africa defeated India in the third and the final Test match of the Freedom series 2021/2022. Dean Elgar led outfit clinched the series with a clinical performance in the 4th innings.
After getting a lead of 13 runs in the second innings, team India could not capitalize on the little advantage, as they posted 198 on the board. India had lost its openers on the evening of day 2. Virat Kohli and Pujara started on day three as they looked to build on the overnight total. However, the South African team had other plans. India lost Pujara, followed by Rahane for a few runs, making it harder for team India to get the start they would have wanted.
Like the first innings, Virat Kohli had to work hard for his runs in the second inning. He was joined by wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant on the other end. Pant played brilliantly to post his first century on South African soil.
As the rest of the team was finding it difficult to deal with the South African bowling lineup, Rishabh Pant played his natural game to end with a score of 100 not out in the end. The Delhi boy could not get enough support from the others, as the specialist batters had already departed cheaply, and the lower middle order could not hang around for longer.
Pant shared a 96 runs partnership with skipper Virat Kohli, who toiled hard for his 29 runs. Despite the Rishabh Pant heroics the Indians could only manage to set up a target of 212 runs. Chasing more than 200 runs in the fourth innings has been a challenge at Newlands. Although, it needed Indian bowlers to pick up a few wickets early off in the game to keep India’s hopes alive.
Dean Elgar and Markram started with some quick runs for the South African team. The latter’s poor form continued as he departed cheaply. Dean Elgar and Keegan Peterson set up a partnership and tried to move closer to the target at the fag end of day 3. Things got heated up in between when an LBW decision was overturned after Dean Elgar reviewed it off Ravi Ashwin. Unhappy with what they saw with the DRS, many senior members of team India had some words to say to the broadcasters and the batters.
Although South Africa lost Dean Elgar on the last ball of the test match, it seemed they were in a comfortable position to win the last test as day three came to an end.
Van Der Dussen and Keegan Peterson started the proceedings on day 4 for South Africa, and despite some quality bowling, they denied any wickets to the Indian seamers. Keegan Peterson struck a well-paced half-century and added 82 runs to the total.
Despite all the noise around, South African batters looked disciplined. The experienced Bavuma and Dussen saw the hosts off the line. South Africa handed team India another series loss, as the men in blue are yet to conquer a Test series on South African soil.
In the post-match interview, following the loss, Indian skipper Virat Kohli hinted at some changes in the batting roles. This series might well end up being the last leg of the long rope provided to Rahane and Pujara. The duo’s mediocre performances will be questioned among many other areas while scrutinizing the loss.