India vs South Africa 1st Test: Five talking points

Published 11/07/2015, 7:37 AM EST
India’s Ravindra Jadeja (R) celebrates with his teammates after dismissing South Africa’s captain Hashim Amla (L) during the third day of their first cricket test match, in Mohali, India, November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi


After disappointing T20 and ODI series against the Proteas, India have started their Test campaign with an emphatic 108-run victory with more than two days to spare on Saturday. Kohli couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift as he won his first test as captain on home soil. EssentiallySports brings to you five talking points from the game.

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An Indian cricket fan celebrates India’s victory over South Africa during the third day of their first cricket test match in Mohali, India, November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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The Mohali Pitch

How often does one see puff of dust coming out of the pitch on the first day of a test match?  How often do the spinners take 34 out of the 40 wickets and bowl 167 out of the 251 overs in a test? Was there a balance between bat and ball? The pitch was a paradise for the spinners and was turning square, and had demons for the batsman. Virat Kohli was lucky that he won the toss as the pitch became unplayable in the 4 innings. The Indian fans would be ecstatic but a cricket fan would want tough competition between bat and ball in the next test match.

 

How many chances will Shikhar Dhawan get?

In the last two years, Dhawan who was considered as the right replacement for Virender Sehwag, has just scored at 39 runs at an average of 39.95  from 11 test matches. The twin ducks in this test just puts his test career in more trouble as batsman like KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have been knocking on the door to take that spot. Will he get another chance? Only time can tell. Though, Rahul or Rohit should replace him, as India needs a solid opening partnership to post big totals.

Superb Sir Jadeja

That’s how you make a comeback to international cricket. Ravindra Jadeja earned this opportunity by taking 38 wickets in just four Ranji tests played for Saurashtra and made the most of it. A dream delivery for a left arm spinner bowling to a right handed batsman is when the ball turns towards slips after pitching on middle-leg but an even better delivery is when the batsman guesses this and the ball goes straight on to hit the wickets. Du Plessis in first innings and Amla in the second, both were bowled offering shoulder arms to the ball. Also, the crucial 38 in the first innings ensured that India crossed the 200 mark. He was awarded the man-of-the-match award for his match haul of eight wickets and 46 runs.

India’s Ravindra Jadeja celebrate his team’s victory over South Africa during the third day of their first cricket test match, in Mohali, India, November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Opening woes for South Africa

South Africa struggled to reach 200 in both the innings, and this is partially due to the lack of commitment by the openers. Dean Elgar and Stiaan Van Zyl opened in the first innings and were separated with just 9 runs on the board. The move to send Vernon Philander to open in the second innings was neutralized by Ravindra Jadeja on the 7 ball of the innings, trapping him in front of the wicket. A good opening partnership reduces the pressure on the batsmen to come and also takes away the threat posed by the new ball. Should Hashim Amla open in tests as well? He has been excellent in ODIs and it will certainly be a thing that the South Africa camp will consider for the Bangalore test.

South Africa’s captain Hashim Amla walks back to the pavilion after being bowled by India’s Ravindra Jadeja (not pictured) during the third day of their first cricket test match, in Mohali, India, November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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In the end, Old Fashioned test cricket prevailed

With the advent of T20 cricket, batsman have started taking on the bowlers even on the good deliveries and dispatching them to the boundary. Those who tried to be aggressive perished as the ball was turning miles. Batsmen like Vijay, Pujara, De Villiers, Amla defended well and waited for the right deliveries to score, and hence, were successful. With the rest of the wickets also expected to be like this one, this test series would test the character of the batsman as it won’t be easy to score runs.

India’s captain Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s AB de Villiers (not pictured) during the third day of their first cricket test match, in Mohali, India, November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

 

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Lakshya Raheja

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