South Africa beat India in the evenly matched 1st Test at Cape Town by 72 runs. Here we look at all the players individually and rate them on their performances.
Dean Elgar – The third highest run-getter of 2017 didn’t look convincing at all. He fell to Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a duck on the 3rd ball of the Test match. In the second innings, he would have fallen on the first ball he faced if there was a quick and better fielder than Shami. He gets a 2/10 because he scored 25 in the 2nd innings and built a 52-run partnership with Markram and took 2 catches in the 1st innings.
Aiden Markram – He fell prey to Bhuvneshwar’s brilliant opening spell in the 1st innings. In the 2nd innings, he looked a lot more confidence and he would be disappointed to get out in that manner. He would have stretched the hosts’ lead to above 300 and that would have taken away the game completely from India. He gets 4.5/10 mostly for his 2nd innings performance.
Hashim Amla – The legend was the last wicket of the brilliant display of Kumar’s early onslaught. South Africa would have expected a lot more from him in the second innings. His innings didn’t last long to even get settled. Amla gets only 0.5/10 for the 7 runs he scored in the match.
AB de Villiers – Returning to the Test side after a long hiatus, de Villiers was the saviour for them in the 1st innings. When Bhuvneshwar was swinging the ball and demolishing the top order, this man scored 17 runs off his over. The momentum changed all of a sudden and South Africa got right back into the game. His half-century helped the Proteas post a respectable total on the board.
The 33-year-old would have done much better in the 2nd innings if there was someone to stand with him. He scored a major chunk of South Africa’s runs, (100 to be precise); and took 2 catches in the 2nd innings. the champion batsman was the only player from both sides that looked comfortable in both the innings. He gets 8.5/10.
Faf du Plessis – He along with AB ensured South Africa’s revival in the 1st innings. His innings of 62 kept the Indian bowlers at bay and regained confidence in their batting. He got out to an unplayable delivery from Jasprit Bumrah in the 2nd innings for a duck. He took 3 catches in the match. Mostly for his 1st innings batting, he gets 5.5/10.
Quinton de Kock – He scored a quickfire 43 at more than run-a-ball in the 1st innings with 7 boundaries. It was only some brilliant bowling from Bumrah that made sure that he didn’t get going in the 2nd innings. Very few wicket-keepers in the world are better catchers than de Kock. His catches make even the opposition go wow!
He pocketed 6 catches in the match. Perhaps the best of the lot from the young wicketkeeper was when he stood up to the stumps on Vernon Philander to get Ravi Ashwin caught behind in the second innings and halt his charge. He gets 6/10.
Vernon Philander – The master of seam was the star of the match without a doubt. He contributed with 23 extremely handy runs in the first innings. Philander picked up 3 crucial wickets in the first innings. But it was in the 2nd innings he was at his deceptive best, as he recorded his best bowling figures in Test matches at his home ground. Even the absence of Dale Steyn in the second innings didn’t hamper him.
Murali Vijay, captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were his top-order scalps in the 2nd innings. It was a phenomenal spell of Test match bowling to set opposition captain Kohli up, targeting Kohli’s renowned weakness outside off before pinning him in front with a beautiful inswinger. It took only 4 balls for him to take the last three Indian wickets. The Man of the Match gets 10/10 for his extraordinary spell of bowling.
Keshav Maharaj – Maharaj batted well in both the innings. His 30 odd in the first innings may have made the difference in the end, while he provided de Villiers with support in the 2nd. Despite not getting much of a bowl, he stood up with the bat when there was not much in the pitch for the spinners. The slow left-armer gets 6/10 for scoring 50 runs in the match.
Kagiso Rabada – He scored crucial 26 runs in the 1st innings, in a match-changing partnership with Maharaj. Youngster Rabada was the second highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2017.
His ability to get extra bounce from the wicket often left the batsmen searching for the position to play him. Rabada took the all-important wicket of a rampaging Hardik Pandya in the first innings, and made Rohit Sharma dance like a cat on a hot tin roof. For his valuable contribution with the bat and 5 wickets in the match, he gets 7/10.
Dale Steyn – Steyn batted sensibly in the 1st innings and remained unbeaten on 16. The legendary bowler, coming off a year and a half long hiatus, also took the wickets of Dhawan and Saha before walking off with an injured heel. He also walked out as the last man to bat for South Africa to support de Villiers, despite the fact he was otherwise walking on crutches. He defended 4 balls from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and came out unbeaten again. Because of his heel injury, Steyn was unable to bowl in the second innings. He gets a 6/10.
Morne Morkel – Morkel made big news with the wicket of Virat Kohli in the first innings, bouncing the Indian star out. The lanky pacer kept surprising the Indian batsmen with the bounce he got. Morkel looked a bit off-colour after taking Kohli’s wicket, and bowled loose deliveries at times. He managed 4 wickets in the game and gets 5/10.
Murali Vijay – Vijay could not quite get set in either of the innings. His lack of patience at the wicket in the second innings was disappointing. Just as Dhawan had just fell, he got caught fishing outside the off-stump to let South Africa take the initiative. For his weary batting, he gets a 3/10.
Shikhar Dhawan – Dhawan looked like a much better batsman on bouncy wickets. The aggressive left-hander played a couple of lovely strokes. What he failed to do in both the innings is adapt to the bounce. He got out pulling Steyn and got the top edge in the 1st innings. Morkel surprised him the 2nd innings with extra bounce and he could not handle the rising ball. He gets 3.5/10 for his twin 16s.
Cheteshwar Pujara – Pujara had monk-like concentration in the first innings, surviving a testing first session on Day 2 with ease. It was only the first ball after lunch when he lost concentration. In the second innings, he got a virtually unplayable delivery from Morkel.
His contribution in the first innings was crucial, as it wore down the ball and tired the South African pace attack, allowing Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to stitch together a partnership. Pujara gets 5.5/10 as he was one of the few Indians did not look uncomfortable against the Proteas pace attack.
Virat Kohli – His 1st innings dismissal was a typical Kohli dismissal. Morkel took stock of his weaknesses and kept bowling on a fourth stump line. Kohli, yet again, edged a rising delivery, which was perhaps a needless shot with only a few minutes to go for stumps.
In the 2nd innings, there was an enticing battle going on between him and Philander. It felt like Kohli knew Philander’s plan of bowling just outside the off-stump in this innings. However, the pacer won the battle by bowling an incoming delivery which Kohli did not expect at all, and was plumb. He gets 4/10 for his fluent 28 in the 2nd innings.
Rohit Sharma – Rohit looked out of depth on a track that did not have ideal conditions for batting. Although he looked to apply himself in the first session of Day 2, he was absolutely unable to deal with Kagiso Rabada. In the second innings, the limited overs maestro needlessly played at a delivery and inside-edged one on to the stumps.He could manage only 11 and 10. He gets 3/10.
Ravichandran Ashwin – Ashwin cleaned up South Africa’s lower order taking 2 wickets and affected the run-out of Keshav Maharaj with a direct-hit in the 1st innings. The all-rounder came in handy with the bat in the 2nd innings scoring 37. He was India’s highest scorer in the innings and kept their hopes alive till he got out. Although he only got one over in pace-friendly conditions in the second innings, Ashwin gets 5.5/10 for his performance.
Hardik Pandya – Pandya’s 93 in the 1st innings couldn’t have been more timely. Along with Bhuvneshwar, he kept ticking the scoreboard in the 1st innings. He played like two different batsmen. Pandya showed that he can be a classical Test batsman with his defence. When the ball was there to be hit, he also showed why Mumbai Indians retained him.
His positivity took the South African pace battery with surprise. The hard-hitting allrounder only succumbed to a wonderful spell of short bowling by Rabada. The second day of the match belonged to him as Pandya also got both the SA openers before the end of play. Although he could not get going in the second innings, he gets 8/10 for his all-round performance.
Wriddhiman Saha – Saha could manage only 8 runs in the match, but he took 5 catches in each innings. There isn’t a better wicket-keeper in India to take his position in Tests, and he showed why. With a total of 10 catches, he broke the Indian record for Test matches. The Bengal stumper provided calm in a notably dodgy slip cordon. He gets 6/10 for his wicket-keeping performance.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – Bhuvneshwar’s opening spell was simply outstanding. His 3 wickets in his first 3 overs made sure that the pressure was right on the hosts, as he reduced them to 12/3. The pacer came back later to remove the well set de Kock. Even with the bat, he provided excellent support to Pandya in the 1st innings and built a partnership of 99.
Bhuvneshwar provided India two wickets in the 2nd innings. Again, he was involved in a 49-run partnership with R Ashwin just before Philander cleared up India’s tail. He gets 8.5/10 for his extraordinary performance. India would like Bhuvneshwar to keep up the good work.
Mohammed Shami – Despite a disappointing showing in the first innings, Shami came back strongly in the second. The pacer took 3 in the 2nd innings. The 27-year-old got the ball to skid and didn’t allow the batsmen to score easily. He bowled exceedingly well on Day 4, and brought India back into reckoning.. Some of the deliveries were just too difficult to keep out. He gets 5/10 for his bowling.
Jasprit Bumrah – Bumrah, a debutant, had high expectations of him. The quick responded in kind. He got his first Test wicket in the form of AB de Villiers, just when it was looking like de Villiers was taking the game away from India. Although he was slightly expensive in the first innings, and bowled some loose deliveries, the best was yet to come.
On the 4th day, Bumrah looked a completely different bowler. The tall pacer took advantage of his unorthodox action and bowled some unplayable deliveries. Even skillful batsman like du Plessis could not do anything as he bowled a jaffa to dismiss him. The youngster took 4 wickets in the match. He gets a 6.5/10.