SA vs India: Top 5 Test innings played by Indian batters in South Africa
- India's tour of South Africa is starting on December 26 with the Centurion Test
- India never won a Test series in South Africa
- The Indian team could win just three matches in the rainbow nation so far
India's tour of South Africa is set to begin on December 26 with the Centurion Test. The Boxing Day Test will be followed by two more matches in Johannesburg on January 3 and Cape Town on January 11. Though India managed to win just three Tests in South Africa in the last three decades, Indian batters over the years managed to produce some great innings. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane have put up some brilliant performances against the Proteas.
These individual sparkles often stood out in India's disappointing displays in South Africa. Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Opoyi picks up the top five innings played by Indian batters in the rainbow nation.
It was the tour of 1996-97. Indians were notorious tourists. Unlike the 21st century Indian team, their chances of winning abroad were rare. In 1997, the third Test between South Africa and India at Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg ended in a draw after legendary Rahul Dravid, the incumbent head coach of the Indian team, produced a masterclass against a scary South African pace attack, comprising Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener.
Dravid, who was then a newbie in international cricket, hit a magnificent 148 off 362 deliveries to eat up the energy of the South Africans. Dravid stood up to the deadly bouncers of the South African bowlers and made sure India don't lose the match.
During India’s 2010-11 South Africa tour, VVS Laxman played a very important innings to orchestrate one of India’s rare Test wins in South Africa. In the second Test at Kingsmead, Durban, India were bowled out for 205 in the first innings. In response, South Africa were bundled out for 131, thanks to Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. They shared seven wickets between themselves.
In the second innings, Laxman played a crucial 96 runs knock off 171 balls as India defeated South Africa by 87 runs.
After being removed as India captain, Sourav Ganguly was under tremendous pressure. Greg Chappell was the coach of the Indian team then. In the 2006 Johannesburg Test, the Indian team broke against Dale Steyn, Pollock, Makhya Ntini and Andre Nel. It was only Ganguly who managed to score a half-century and that proved to be handy for India. Ganguly scored an unbeaten 51 off 101 balls as India beat South Africa by 123 runs after S Sreesanth ripped apart the Proteas, who were bowled out for 84 in the first innings.
During the 2013 South Africa tour, Virat Kohli scored 119 off 181 balls in the first Test in Johannesburg and slammed 96 in the second as the match ended in a draw. Despite Kohli’s century, India were bowled out for 280 in the first innings.
After South Africa were bowled out for 244 in their first innings, India thumped their authority in the match, with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 153 off 270 balls to help India post a massive 421 on board. Pujara hit 21 boundaries against the likes of Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir. Pujara was ably backed by Kohli, who scored 96. Despite their magnificent efforts, the match ended in a draw as South Africa recovered from their first innings blows.