The Proteas salvaged a little bit of pride by lasting 90 overs in their second innings but it will be no consolation to Hashim Amla and his boys. Defeat is a horrible feeling in Test cricket made worse by the fact that it decided the series and ended South Africa’s unbeaten period away from home, which we were all very proud of.
But all good things come to an end and India deserved to win, nobody can dispute that. I don’t think any other team in the world would have avoided defeat in those conditions — provided India won the toss. I’ll go further than that. I don’t think a Rest of the World XI would have avoided defeat in those conditions — provided India won the toss and batted first.
Fortunate for Virat
Virat is a fortunate man to have a trio of spinners able to maximise home-ground advantage to that extent. The captain set brilliant fields, which completely stifled the scoring but they would not have been effective had Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra not bowled so well.
Every time Hash or Faf played a decent drive, it went straight to a fielder. I think they scored at about one run per over, and they were doing well to find a run.
Credit to Virat and the rest of the batsmen that they all prepared to play on surfaces like that. When there is such a strong element of the unpredictable from the very first over they must have great confidence in their ability as well as their fortune.
I would have been very upset as a batsman if I had to play all my home matches on pitches like that. It has nothing to do with averages or personal milestones but being able to do your best for your team. How can you promise to give your best when an unplayable ball from a spinner could have your name on it in the first half hour of a Test match?
Perhaps we may see a proper Test pitch in Delhi, now that the series is decided. I would love to see the top six from both sides go head-to-head on a surface which stays the same for all of them for the first couple of days before crumbling for the spinners on the last couple of days.
It will feel hard for the Proteas right now but the final Test is still five days away and I know they will want to finish on a high. I’m sure they can, too. But, maybe, not on another Nagpur pitch, especially if Hash keeps losing the toss!