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3 major milestones Indian players achieved during previous Test series in South Africa

Virat Kohli (left) and Faf du Plessis (right)
Virat Kohli (left) and Faf du Plessis (right)
Ashwan Rao

Team India will begin their tour of South Africa with the traditional Boxing Day Test match beginning on December 26 at Centurion. The series will then head to Johannesburg and Cape Town for the remaining two fixtures.

The latest buzz is that batter KL Rahul has been named vice-captain for the upcoming Test series. The news came after India's limited-overs skipper and Test vice-captain Rohit Sharma was ruled out of longer formats due to a hamstring injury.

Having performed exceptionally well during their tours of Australia and England, the Virat Kohli-led side will be trying their best to replicate those performances against the Proteas.

Team India last visited South Africa for a full-fledged tour comprising three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is in January-February 2018 where they lost the Test series 1-2. Having tasted 72 and 135-run defeats in the first two fixtures, they clinched a memorable 63-run win in the final game at the Wanderers.

Though the final result didn't go in India's favor, a few Indian players were top-notch throughout the series, performing up to their full potential.

On that note, let's look at three major milestones the Indian players achieved in the Test series during their previous South Africa tour back in January 2018.


1) Wriddhiman Saha became the first Indian wicket-keeper to effect ten dismissals in a Test match

Wriddhiman Saha effected a record 10 dismissals in the first Test at Cape Town
Wriddhiman Saha effected a record 10 dismissals in the first Test at Cape Town

In the first game played at Cape Town, former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis opted to bat first upon winning the toss. Thanks to an excellent display of bowling, Team India restricted the hosts to a mere 286 runs in the first innings.

While Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the Indian bowlers with four scalps to his name, Ravichandran Ashwin picked up the last two Protea wickets (Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel) thereby finishing with figures of 2-21. Pacers Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya each took one wicket to complete the proceedings.

Wicketkeeper Saha, who took five catches in the first innings, replicated his heroics in the second innings as well. In the process, he became the first Indian wicketkeeper to effect 10 dismissals in a Test match. The Bengal player achieved this milestone when he caught Morne Morkel behind the stumps off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's delivery in the second innings.

Saha surpassed the legendary MS Dhoni, who previously held this record having effected nine dismissals (eight catches and a stumping) against Australia at Melbourne in December 2014. For India, the previous best in Tests was Nayan Mongia's eight catches against South Africa at Durban in 1996-97.


2) Mohammed Shami took his 100th Test wicket

Mohammed Shami was the joint highest wicket-taker during the previous Test series in South Africa
Mohammed Shami was the joint highest wicket-taker during the previous Test series in South Africa

Pacer Mohammed Shami, who made his Test debut against West Indies at Eden Gardens in November 2013, had a memorable Test series against South Africa in 2018. He finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker along with Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada with 15 wickets (in least number of balls, 501 deliveries compared to Philander and Rabada) which included a five-wicket haul.

The 31-year-old, who is just five wickets away from claiming his 200th Test scalp, reached the landmark of 100 Test wickets in the second Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. Shami dismissed Keshav Maharaj in the first innings on day two to achieve this feat and join the elite list of Indian bowlers.

Given his experience, credentials and record, he is a force to be reckoned with and his role will be pivotal if Virat Kohli's men want to restrict the hosts.


3) Virat Kohli became India's leading run-scorer as captain in Tests (3456 runs)

Virat Kohli was the highest run getter in the Test series during India's previous tour of South Africa
Virat Kohli was the highest run getter in the Test series during India's previous tour of South Africa

Indian skipper Virat Kohli ended the three-match Test series as the leading run-getter with 286 runs at an average of 47.67. His tally of 286 runs was the highest an Indian captain has made during a Test series in South Africa. He surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's 241 runs during the three-match series back in 1996-97 and recorded the second highest score by an Indian batter in Tests at South Africa.

Apart from these records, Kohli achieved yet another major milestone in the second innings of the third Test played in Johannesburg, where India went on to win by 63 runs. During his innings of 41 off 79 balls, the Indian captain (3456 runs) surpassed Sunil Gavaskar (3449) and MS Dhoni's (3454) records, thereby becoming India's leading run-scorer as a captain in Test matches.

India's most successful Test captain, who achieved this feat at a staggering average of 65.20, will be aiming to replicate his good touch with the willow this time around and help his side achieve an elusive series win on South African soil.


Edited by Shourjo Chatterjee

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