The South African way of taking wickets in India

Posted by
< 1 minute read

The South Africans generally get their wickets by having fast bowlers knock the stumps over. This is not the way it’s supposed to work in India. Aside from Dale Steyn’s efforts this week, there was the 2008 match where India were dismissed for 76.

On that occasion, Steyn and Ntini clean bowled Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. The fact that half the Indian side were all knackered from doing IPL promotion the night before perhaps contributed to the fact that they were all out in a symbolic 20 overs exactly, but still.

For a lot of sides, taking wickets in India seems impossible and they struggle to come up with a plan. The pitches don’t offer much bounce and they tend to take spin. You have three options:

  1. Pick another spinner
  2. Devise unusual tactics
  3. Just plough on as if nothing’s any different

The first option’s often disastrous, because while the pitches are spin-friendly, the batsmen are not. The second option’s often painful, because unusual tactics are generally ones that don’t work that well, otherwise people would use them more. Nasser Hussain’s ploys of off-side wides to Sachin Tendulkar and Ashley Giles bowling a leg-side line to everyone else were most painful for those watching.

South Africa have gone for option three and there’s a lot to be said for that. Make allowances for conditions, but don’t allow them to dictate to you. Play to your strengths.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. I don’t think they chose any option. It doesn’t even occur to Graaeeme that there is ever more than one way of doing anything.

  2. There is one reason India collapsed – Steyn.

    And another thing. Harris annoys me – all he does is bowl a batsmens asses. Harbhajan annoys me – all he does is bowl shit. Can we please borrow Swann? We need an attacking finger spinner in this series.

  3. The last time the Aussies toured they tried ploughing on only Lee and Clark were both playing on one leg and MJ and Watson aren’t in Steyn’s league.

    So having Steyn does help. For him, India is what Lord’s was for McGrath.

  4. yeah, but to be fair, most of the guys steyn bowled in the last test were tail/lower order batsmen. I’d say sehwag throwing his wicket away and harris getting dhoni was as important to south africa.

  5. They have a proper bowling unit.

    They have Steyn and the rest of the attack does not give much away.

    e normous – if you are going to take 10 wickets in one match [as one of 5/6 bowlers] you are going to get a fair number of tail/lower order batsmen, especially if you take more than 5 in an innings – unless you are working voodoo.

    Has anyone ever taken 10 consisting only of the top order batsmen? [Presumably 5 an innings on a non dodgy pitch – any more than 10 and that’s voodoo too!]

  6. I think this is more a case of the Indians learning what it means to be no. 1.
    The Saffers were pretty bad against England so now they’re hungry again – combined with Steyns happy hunting ground this was never going to be easy for the Indians. They may well have felt that they’d climbed a mountain so deserved a breather, psychologically speaking. They haven’t been given one, of course. They’ll dust themselves off and pick up again, I believe, but probably not for Sunday. It’s great having three/four teams scrapping it out. Now come on England, you’ve shown you can be good on a good day just do it more often! (but not too good for next November, of course)

  7. Harris getting Dhoni, how does this keep happening with Harris?

    Two reasons India lost the test for me,

    1) Inexperienced middle order (with the obvious exception), was a lot to ask of Tendulkar to carry an inexperienced batting line up with the reserve wicket keeper in it against SA’s four seamers .

    2)Dale Steyn, whether he gets tail enders or not, he still cleans teams out, how many times has not been able to get rid of tail enders cost a team a match? Just look at SA V Eng. He is the best fast bowler in world at the moment and he has got India’s batting in his pocket.

    Before anyone states that he didn’t do it against England, in 2nd Test he was coming back from injury and wasn’t 100% fit, and in 3rd Test he was very unlucky, look at the spell he bolwed at Paul Collingwood on last day, on another day he would have got 3-4 wickets.

  8. yeah, I wasn’t trying to downplay Steyn’s wickets, I just meant that the “number of batsmen bowled” thing in the post was… you know, AGH YES STEYN BOWLED GOOD, BUT BOWLED WERE MOSTLY TAIL THE>


  9. Watched the match highlights overnight. Therefore not an expert.

    But when ahs that ever stopped any of us from spouting forth?

    The Saffers have a superb bowling unit at the moment. They were undercooked against England but look fully cooked in India. Even Harris comes into play on these wickets that take turn and bounce a bit.

    India were understrength in the batting department to be sure, but I suspect that South Africa would have won that match anyway after posting 550+ on that pitch in less than 2 days.

  10. Well. If Indian batsmen didn’t play like complete shit in the first innings, it would have, maybe, helped a little.

Comments are closed.