India crush South Africa to draw series, Newlands pitch painted the villain

India's Rohit Sharma (right) watches the ball after playing a shot during the first day of the second cricket Test match between South Africa and India at Newlands stadium

India cruised to a seven-wicket victory over South Africa before tea on day two of the second Test at Newlands. Seen here: India captain Rohit Sharma plays a stroke. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

Published Jan 4, 2024


India cruised to a seven-wicket victory over South Africa before tea on day two of the second Test at Newlands, in Cape Town on Thursday.

Set just 79 to win, Indian openers Rohit Sharma (17) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (28) opted for an aggressive approach as they put on 44 for the first wicket in 5.4 overs. Though Shubman Gill (10) was bowled by a Kagiso Rabada delivery which kept low, it left Virat Kohli (12) with only 22 runs to win when he strolled to the middle. Kohli would also depart cheaply, but ultimately the small target was never a problem for the visitors.

The win meant India drew the two-match series 1-1. It was also the shortest match in the history of Test cricket, in terms of overs bowled.

Earlier, Aiden Markram hit a thrilling century for South Africa but India still moved closer to a win on the second morning.

Markram century in vain

Markram hit 106 off 103 balls before South Africa were bowled out for 176 shortly before lunch.

They added 94 runs for the loss of seven wickets during the morning.

India, beaten by an innings and 32 runs in the first Test in Centurion, produced the perfect comeback to share the spoils in the hotly-contested series.

Jasprit Bumrah took six for 61 –- and was denied the wicket of Markram when the batsman, on 71, edged a drive and wicketkeeper KL Rahul could not hold a catch above his head.

Markram defied a pitch which has given inordinate help to the bowlers and on which the highest score of any of his teammates in either innings was 15.

He hit 17 fours and two sixes, one of which, off Prasidh Krishna, sailed out of the ground and onto a railway line beyond square leg.

The 29-year-old was finally out caught at mid-off by Indian captain Sharma off Mohammed Siraj attempting another big hit.

This comes after SA batting consultant Ashwell Prince emphasised the unexpected behaviour of the Newlands pitch and also praised the Indian quicks for bowling the hosts out for 55 in the first innings on Wednesday.

“We have to give credit to the Indian bowlers. (Mohammed) Siraj probably bowled one of the spells of his life. Two quality bowlers (Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah), favourable conditions, that’s what you get,” said Prince.