South Africa seals 2-1 series win against India at Cape Town

South Africa had, with this seven-wicket victory on Friday, come from behind to win the Freedom Test series 2-1.

A resolute Temba Bavuma hit the winning runs on day four of the third and final Test against India.   -  REUTERS

You need more than temper tantrums and theatrics to win a Test series. 

The fielding has to complement the bowling. Execution is the key. 

The opportunity for India appeared and disappeared in a flash. And with the dropped catch, India blew the chance for a historic series triumph.

Fielding lapse

Jasprit Bumrah got a delivery to straighten at a well-set Keegan Petersen, on 59, the batter edged, and Cheteshwar Pujara grassed a regulation offering at first slip.

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Bumrah was aghast, Pujara buried his head on the ground, and Virat Kohli looked away. 

By the time Petersen dragged a Shardul Thakur delivery outside off to his stumps, he had progressed to 82, and the Proteas had victory within striking distance.

And when Temba Bavuma put away R. Ashwin to the mid-wicket fence, it was all over on day four of the third Freedom Test.

South Africa had, with this seven-wicket victory on Friday, come from behind to win the Freedom Test series 2-1.

India will never receive a better opportunity to win a Test series in South Africa. This was a transitional and eminently beatable Proteas side. 

In the end, a resolute Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and a strokeful Bavuma (32 not out) guided the Proteas home.

IND vs SA 3rd Test Highlights: South Africa beats India by seven wickets to win series 2-1

Gritty No. 3

In the morning, India was desperate to strike early. However, the visitor was bereft of luck as deliveries kept eluding the edges.

Gradually, Petersen found his range. The dapper batter punched Umesh Yadav through cover. And then he flicked and cover-drove Bumrah. 

Petersen has the technical attribute to bolster his natural talent at No 3.

He has a rather high back-lift, but the bat comes down straight. He does not have a trigger, and the length dictates his footwork. And he plays close to his body. 

But then, he is also a busy player. When Bumrah offered him width, he was steered to the ropes.

Fighting knock

The lanky van der Dussen, a well-schooled batter, is a fighter.

Even as the Indians were looking to make inroads, he held his end up. van der Dussen has an interesting technique. 

He stands tall and upright in his stance, but as the bowler is about to deliver, he crouches and utilises the ground force as he meets the ball.

Like Petersen, he doesn’t have a trigger forward or back and his footwork is determined by the delivery’s length.

While he defended capably, van der Dussen also cover-drove Shami gloriously. And he flicked Bumrah with conviction when the seamer missed his line.

A shot Virat Kohli wouldn't want to remember

Growing in confidence, van der Dussen flicked Umesh to the mid-wicket fence. A checked cover-drive off Umesh was a top shot. 

The gritty van der Dussen accumulated his runs. When he swept Ashwin to the fence, he did so with assurance.

Bavuma is in good touch, and he square-drove Bumrah to the fence to whittle down the target. And he followed this with a blistering cover drive.

The strokeful Bavuma doesn’t have the footwork or the technical finesse of Petersen but can thump the ball.

The short Bavuma rose on his knees and punched Umesh to the point fence. When Ashwin flighted, he was whipped to the square-leg fence. 

It was South Africa all the way on the biggest day of the series.

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