A sense of déjà vu from 2018 game heading into day four

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safari
05 Jan 2022 | 08:25 PM
authorAnirudh Kasargod

A sense of déjà vu from 2018 game heading into day four

The ongoing Test has progressed as a clone of the Joburg Test from 2018. Will it end in similar fashion?

At the end of day three of the second Test, only two results seem possible, either a win for South Africa or a loss. With 122 more runs to win and eight wickets in hand, a win for them is a likelier possibility. But one bad session or even a three-wicket spell like we saw from Kagiso Rabada in the morning session of day three, can shift the balance of the game. India will certainly be hoping for it. Interestingly, that is what happened in the Wanderers Test in 2018.

The pattern of this game has just been copied from 2018 and pasted in 2022. In the 2018 game, India in the first innings conceded a lead of seven runs after being bundled out for 187. The captain in that match, Virat Kohli (54) was the highest scorer in the first innings. In the 2022 game, India conceded a lead of 27 after being packed off for 202 and once again, captain in this Test KL Rahul (50), was the highest scorer in the first innings. Rabada in the first innings picked up three wickets in both the matches.

In the second innings, India scored 247 in the 2018 game and 266 in 2022. In both matches, Rahane was the highest scorer, 48 in 2018 and 58 in 2022. Coincidentally, in the second innings of both the matches, Rahane was caught by the keeper and scored at a strike rate of over 70. Fun fact: Rahane scored 48 off 68 in 2018 and 58 off 78 in 2022. Rabada once again picked up three wickets in the second innings of both the matches. Only one run separated between targets. In 2018, India had set a target of 241 and in this match 240.

South Africa in reply, were in a similar position of comfort. After losing Markram early, the second wicket partnership of 119 between Elgar and Hashim Alma was steering South Africa to a win. However, from 124 for 1, they collapsed to a score of 177 and handed India a win by 63 runs. Apart from Vernon Philander none of the other batsmen from four to eleven scored over six. In this match, at stumps, South Africa are 118 for two. Can India repeat the same? That is something every Indian fan is expecting.

Contrasting first session breaks

Across the three days played, on none of the days, a wicket has fallen before the drinks break of the first session. 36 runs on day one, 29 runs on day two and 66 runs on day three without a wicket.

But, after the drinks break, wickets have fallen in heap. On the first day, three wickets were lost for just 17 runs, another three wickets for 38 runs on day two and on day three, four wickets fell for 37 runs.

Indian bowlers deadly in later spells

Indian bowlers haven’t had much to cherish till now in the fourth innings of this Test, apart from a few oohs! and aahs! after beating past the bat. In away Tests since 2018, in the fourth innings, Indian bowlers tend to excel as they bowl more spells. Mohammed Shami in the first spell had a good record, but wasn’t among the wickets in this innings.

Barring Shardul Thakur, the remaining three bowlers, Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have been exceptional from third spell onwards, especially Bumrah. Since the start of the third spell, Bumrah’s bowling strike rate never drops below 35 in any of his spells.

The “Dean” of grit college

One man standing between a historic victory for India is Elgar. In the first Test as well, Elgar scored a valuable 77, when none of their other batsmen scored more than 35. On a difficult pitch, his grit is most admirable. Despite being beaten on the edge on numerous occasions and getting hit on the body, the skipper refuses to budge. Deemed as the most difficult innings to bat (4th innings), he brings out his best. In Tests since 2018, in the fourth innings, he averages 44.6. Among 18 batsmen who have played 10+ innings in the fourth innings, only Kusal Mendis has a better average (57.8) than him.




In fact, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma also have a great record in the fourth innings. Dussen in five innings has averaged 46.3 and Bavuma in seven innings has averaged 40.2.

The numbers of the upcoming batsmen and the current batsmen at the crease stack up for a win for South Africa. If and only if, they play to their cause.

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South Africa vs IndiaIndia tour of South Africa, 2021/22South AfricaIndiaDean ElgarJasprit BumrahMohammed ShamiTemba BavumaRassie van der Dussen

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