5 reasons why India lost the 2nd Test against South Africa
When India lost by 72 runs in the 1st Test at Cape Town after coming so close to victory, it looked as though they had missed a golden chance. The captain and the team looked determined that the next time they were faced with such an opportunity, they would grab it with both hands.
The opportunity came again in the next Test and went begging this time around as well. With a brown wicket and conditions akin to home, India had their best chance to win at Centurion but once again they let the crucial moments slip from their hands. Here is a look at 5 key things that led to India's failure in the 2nd Test.
#5 Losing the toss
Virat lost the toss in the Newlands. In the 2nd Test as well, South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first. On the wicket that offered variable bounce, batting got tougher as the match progressed.
Some short pitched balls kept low, while others shot off from nowhere. In the fourth innings, opener Murali Vijay got one such delivery that took the bottom edge of his bat and crashed into the wickets.Once India lost the toss, it was always chasing the game rather than calling the shots.
#4 Pandya's recklessness
Neither cricket pundits nor fans are unaware of Hardik Pandya's mercurial style of play. He takes his chances. If they come off as they did in the 1st innings at Cape Town, it's well and good, otherwise they seem foolhardy.
After defending the ball for some time in the 4th innings, Pandya went after a wide ball from Ngidi to play his favourite ramp shot over the keeper's head. He could only manage a faint outside edge as de Kock took an easy catch. At a time when the team needed him to fight it out and save the Test, such a stroke was uncalled for.
In the first innings as well, he had got run out in a very careless manner when he did not ground his bat while running back to the crease. If either of these mistakes were avoided, it could have led the match in a different direction.
#3 Ashwin misfires in the 3rd innings
If there was one person whose eyes must have lit up after seeing a brown pitch in Centurion, it would have been Ravichandran Ashwin. The first ball that he bowled gripped and spun off the surface. He ended up bowling 31 overs on the first day of the Test match. After the first innings, his wickets column had four entries.
On a pitch responsive to spin, it was expected of Ashwin to run through the South African side in the third innings. His opening spell with the new ball ignited some hope as well. However, after bowling almost thirty overs, Ashwin only had one wicket to show for all of his efforts.
#2 Substandard fielding
It is not only batting and bowling in which India have been outplayed by their opponents. One of the prime areas which has been the differentiating factor between the two teams is their contrasting fielding performances.
While AB de Villiers contributed in two Indian dismissals on Day 5, Indian fielding has been below par. Despite a couple of run outs in the first innings, the Indian team has dropped more catches than it has taken.
#1 Running between the wickets
This match will be remembered for rash running between the wickets as much as it will be remembered for Ngidi's performance on debut. The match saw five run outs in total, out of which three were of Indian batsmen.
Cheteshwar Pujara became the first and only Indian batsman to get run out in both the innings of a Test match. Hardik Pandya also fares on the list of run outs for his slothful running. He failed to ground his bat and gifted his wicket to the opposition on a platter.
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