'Great world player in the making': Shastri reserves massive praise for SA star, compares him to 'childhood hero'
South Africa scripted an impressive come-from-behind Test series win on Friday as the Proteas camp defeated India by seven wickets at Cape Town by chasing a challenging 212 on the Newlands surface. The win denied the first-ever Test series win in the Rainbow nation for India, who were equipped with relatively experienced players ahead of the rubber.
But South African unit recorded their biggest win under skipper Dean Elgar and coach Mark Boucher, extending their team's dominance at home against India in the traditional format. They have now won seven of the contests in South Africa, with one drawn series, since their readmission into international cricket in 1992.
South Africa's run-chase on the fourth day was anchored by Keegan Petersen, who chipped in with a vital 82 en route to his side's series-clinching second innings. The right-handed No. 3 batter had also made 72 in the first innings. In his fifth Test and first home series, the 29-year-old Petersen walked away with the Player of the Series award for scoring 276 runs in three games against India.
Petersen's batting approach and defiant innings drew a lot of praise on social media and former India head coach Ravi Shastri also reversed big praise for the rising South African star. Shastri hailed "KP" as a great player in the making and added that he was reminded of the legendary Gundappa Viswanath after seeing Petersen bat.
"Keegan Peterson (KP). Excellent initials (@KP24). A great world player in the making. My childhood hero Gundappa Vishwanath comes to mind #SAvIND," tweeted Shastri.
The hosts resumed Day 4 on 101 for two, with the match in the balance before Petersen shared a partnership of 54 with Rassie van der Dussen. Petersen had also added 78 with Dean Elgar on the previous day, helping his side inch towards the victory.
"It hasn't sunk in yet. It's a mixed bag, to be honest. Happy, emotional. I was trying to be positive and then build on that. It's been difficult conditions all around and was just sticking to my guns. It's been a long journey, can't tell the whole story now, won't be over till tomorrow morning. It's been challenging surfaces, challenging bowling attacks," said Petersen in a post-match presentation.
"We knew it was going to be difficult - they're a high-quality bowling attack, a high-quality team. We just wanted to have the mindset to fight it out. Enjoying it (success) a lot. The longer you bat, the easier it gets (on these pitches). So, just enjoyed it a lot," he added.
India had won the first Test by 113 runs but South Africa registered wins in the second and third Test to clinch the series. The action now shifts towards the three-match series, starting January 19, where KL Rahul will be seen leading the limited-overs camp in Rohit Sharma's absence.