SA resolve melts as India soar high

SA resolve melts as India soar high

On a worn out fifth day surface, batsmen capable of tearing any attacks to shreds adopted a passive approach in an attempt to save their team from certain defeat.

In the end, South Africa suffered a massive 337-run loss to surrender the series 3-0 to India, but what caught the eye was the steely resolve exhibited by their batsmen on the final two days of the fourth Test at the Ferozshah Kotla.

When India got opener Dean Elgar early in the second innings on Sunday, a familiar South African collapse loomed large.  Their batting had shown little spine in the series.

The events that followed, however, took even the hosts by surprise. Proteas captain Hashim Amla came out with a dead bat and blocked everything bowled at him with an uncommon obduracy. The most destructive batsman in world cricket AB De Villiers followed suit. It was old fashioned Test cricket at its best as Amla and De Villiers (43 in 297 balls) set about killing time.

It resulted in the second lowest run rate in a completed innings by a team. South Africa were finally dismissed for 143 in 143.1 overs with an innings run rate of 0.99, behind New Zealand who had scored at the rate of 0.96 against England in Auckland in March 1955. The Kiwis had scored 26 all out from 27 overs then.

The Proteas’ resistance here was a throwback to their gallant salvaging of the second Test against Australia at Adelaide in 2012. They had batted for four and half sessions to force a draw then. Faf Du Plessis was the hero with De Villiers curbing his strokeplay to score 33 from 220 balls without a boundary.

De Villiers (43 in 297 balls) had stood with the same resolve on the fourth and fifth days here, after Amla showed the way. But once Umesh Yadav fetched India the breakthrough after tea and Ashwin dismissed De Villiers, the South Africans fell apart. They, however had forced India to snatch the win from them. Virat Kohli and his boys did just that.

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