Proteas' home dominance versus India's slow rise: Has the South African press been over-aggressive?
India makes history in South Africa
All's well that ends well. Team India has wrapped up the T20 series 2-1.
After a month and a half (50 days to be precise), India's South African safari ended on a victorious note. Team India had finally breached the South African wall but failed to make a complete conquest.
The lost Test battle seems to be a distant memory now, drowned by the euphoria of subsequent victories in the shorter and the shortest formats of the game. Many will argue that the true measure of superiority in the game of cricket has to do with a team's performance in the five-day format.
Yet, Virat Kohli's team have managed to do what all of their predecessors could not. The Indian team won a one-day series in South Africa for the first time and comprehensively so.
History has been made for sure, but a peek into the past is quite essential to understand the enormity of this achievement.
The historic 1992-93 series
Not many cricketers make their international Test debut at 39! Yet, this was precisely the age when Jimmy Cook of South Africa faced his first ball in an international Test match.
The ban on South Africa following the atrocities of the apartheid regime meant that an entire generation (and more) of immensely talented South Africans could not play international cricket for their country.
Cook's Test debut was not exactly sensational. Opening for South Africa in the first innings of the first Test, he faced Kapil Dev and was out caught by India's Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar. His career lasted just two years, but Cook recalled, in interviews since, that he was lucky to have played some international cricket after all.
India had the "privilege" to be the first international cricket team to be invited to South Africa as a reward for the Indian board's support for South Africa's return to the international fold. India had also been the first country to host South Africa after their international exile. The above factors made this tour historic and memorable.
Captained by Mohammad Azharuddin, India's performance on the field, however, was not quite so commendable.
The first two Test matches ended in a draw and South Africa's Allan Donald blew India away with 12 wickets in the third Test at Port Elizabeth, helping his side win the Test series 1-0. In the ODI series, South Africa steamrolled India 5-2 in a seven-match series.
Sachin, Sourav, Rahul, Dhoni: Unable to conquer the Proteas at home
Sachin Tendulkar captained India in the 1997 tour to South Africa and Saurav Ganguly led India in 2001-02. The first win, however, came in the first Test in Johannesburg in the 2006-07 series with Rahul Dravid as captain. India lost the series 1-2.
MS Dhoni led India to South Africa twice. In 2010-11, the Test series was level at 1-1 and in 2013-14, India lost 0-1
India, however, had never won a single ODI series in South Africa until Virat Kohli's team made history.
Is South Africa perturbed by India's ascendancy?
How does the South African press perceive the present Indian cricket team and their performance against the Proteas?