Gritty Proteas Women run India close in one-off Test

Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt scored a century against India yesterday in the one-off Test. | IANS

Proteas Women’s captain Laura Wolvaardt scored a century against India yesterday in the one-off Test. | IANS

Published Jul 2, 2024



The Proteas women displayed a lot of grind, application and determination, but India ultimately emerged triumphant as they beat South Africa by 10 wickets in the one-off Test match at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai yesterday.

South Africa set India a target of 37 after following on, and the home side needed only 9.2 overs to maintain their perfect record in the tour.

Laura Wolvaardt (122) needed seven runs to add to her overnight score of 93 to reach her maiden Test century. Having shown a lot of resistance with South Africa asked to follow on, the 25-year-old became the second South African centurion in the match after Sune Luus’ maiden ton on day three.

The pairing of Wolvaardt and Luus put on a 190-run partnership, the highest in Proteas Women’s history. With the match slipping away, they brought South Africa back into the contest, or at least closer to India’s record first innings total of 603-6.

Wolvaardt took full advantage of her start after falling for 20 in the first innings. Known for her destructive abilities in the white-ball format, her second innings required a lot more patience than she would have had to show for the past few months.

The South African skipper battled through some testing conditions and bowling without giving a lot away. Wolvaardt had a lot of success for most of her innings playing on the front and back foot.

“To lose is a bit disappointing,” Wolvaardt said afterwards, “but the character that the group has shown over the last two days was amazing to see.

“To concede 500-plus runs on day one, many people wouldn’t have thought it would get to the last session of day four. The grit and determination that every single batter had to see it through to the end was amazing and it will do a lot of good things for this group

“We showed a lot of intent in the first innings to try and get close to their score but their spinners were just really skilful and accurate. In the second innings we saw that we needed to stretch it out and bat a bit more time to take it as deep as we could.”

A 58-run partnership with Marizanne Kapp brought South Africa within 73 runs of India’s first innings total, but Kapp only managed to add 16 runs to her overnight score of 15 before she was trapped lbw by Deepti Sharma for 31.

The fall of the 34-year-old’s wicket meant that South Africa had a mountain to climb to save the match with two sessions still to come. Delmari Tucker’s disappointing Test with the bat continued as she was the next wicket to fall for a pair off the bowling of Sne Rana.

The 30-year-old spinner picked up 10 wickets in the match following her 8-77 in the first innings. Rajeshwari Gayakwad put an end to any hopes that South Africa might have had to take the match deep into the final day as she trapped Wolvaardt lbw.

Nadine de Klerk (39 and 61) and Luus (65 and 109) made decent contributions with the bat in both innings, and it will bode well for the inbound tour against England later this year.