Don’t know if you’ve seen, but South Africa have been in India playing some Test matches. They haven’t had a wonderful time.
They lost the toss every time, and every time they played in such a way that it was very obvious that the toss didn’t actually matter at all. Maybe if Faf du Plessis had called differently they’d have lost by ten wickets instead of by an innings or something like that, but in the grand scheme of things the toss was not important. We’re talking about a level of damage limitation akin to LL Cool J doing something slightly different in Deep Blue Sea and maybe managing to save his parrot from the sharks. (And actually, maybe not even that because you could certainly argue that LL summoned extra grit and determination from his parrot’s demise, so saving it may even have proven counterproductive.)
South Africa’s highest score of the series was in their very first innings. After that, they made 191, 275, 189, 162 and 133.
Those scores would be pretty bad even if they’d managed to bowl India out at some point during the entire series. But they didn’t.
Dean Elgar topped their bowling averages with 1-30 off five overs. Next best was George Linde, who made his debut in the third Test and took 4-133 off 31 overs. Kagiso Rabada averaged 40, Vernon Philander averaged 77, Keshav Maharaj averaged 85, Senuran Muthusamy averaged 90, Dane Piedt averaged 155 and Anrich Nortje averaged 179.
Flat pitches, you say? Umesh Yadav, who must be India’s fourth or fifth choice fast bowler at the minute, took 11 wickets in 39 overs.
Our daughter refused to share a see-saw with another toddler earlier this week. The series has been that one-sided.
Given such a backdrop, South Africa really had their work cut out to round things off in appropriate style. Losing two wickets in two balls to a debutant was a pretty decent effort, but the second of those wickets – the very final one of the series – was pretty much unimprovable.
What happened was that Shahbaz Nadeem floated one up and Lungi Ngidi twatted it straight into his batting partner, Anrich Nortje. The ball then gently looped off Nortje straight into the hands of Nadeem. Golden duck. Series over.
The way the ball floated directly to Nadeem via Nortje’s chest seemed to sum up South Africa’s luck versus India’s luck in this series.
But here’s the thing: these things aren’t entirely out of one’s control. Maybe don’t just wildly slog the ball into your batting partner.