India and South Africa faced each other in the Rainbow Nation for the first time since 2018. Since the last Test series the two sides played, they have had almost contrasting fortunes.
Ahead of the series, South Africa were struggling to find the right balance and stability in their side. Meanwhile, Team India has been the top-ranked test team, defeating Australia (twice) and England and reaching the WTC Finals.
When India landed in the country and dominated the first Test at Supersport Park, nobody could have predicted the 2-1 outcome of the series in South Africa's favor. The way South Africa have performed in the final two Tests has been remarkable.
We look at the reasons behind the hosts' success in the recently-concluded series.
#1 Top quality bowling
It is tough to compare bowling lineups when one side has Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravichandran Ashwin and the other side has Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, and Marco Jensen.
The Indian side have made a habit of dominating their opposition not just on home pitches but also on bouncy tracks. South Africa faced a major blow with Anrich Norje's injury before the test series. Without Norje, the Proteas were relying on Rabada's skills to control the Indian batting attack.
However, in crucial moments, everyone in their bowling attack stepped up. Jensen was fantastic except on his Boxing Day debut. The Indian batters were deceived by his left-arm pace and tightly held line. He had Rabada in support, who never bowled a single wrong ball and troubled all the Indian batters.
Ngidi and Olivier also stepped up their games, held their lines, and gave the hosts crucial breakthroughs at various junctures in the second and third Tests. Their relentless attack prevented the Indian batters from getting settled.
Barring the first test, the South African bowlers did not use the new ball in the rest of the series. This shows the quality of the South African bowling attack.
#2 Small targets and partnerships
One crucial difference between the teams in the final two Tests was how each side approached their batting. While India focused on putting early pressure on their opponents, South Africa focused on partnerships and smaller targets.
They were beaten, edged, and took body blows as well, but the Proteas stood their ground. While Dean Elgar has been India's nemesis since 2018, youngster Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma became the major roadblocks between India and their elusive series win.
Keegan Petersen, who had played just two Tests before this series, was remarkable and fluent in the last games. His reliable and patient batting gave his team a footing in crunch moments.
#3 Catches win matches
Keegan Petersen, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma will forever haunt the Indian batting lineup after this series loss because of their stunning performances in the field.
Keegan Petersen started off the third day of the final Test by plucking the ball out of the air and sending the Indian batting into a barrel hole. Elgar dismissed Rahane with great awareness and presence of mind while Markram grabbed a bullet-speed catch flying from Kohli's bat. Finally, it was Bavuma's sharp hands that ended India's first innings on Day One.
In contrast, the Indian fielders dropped Elgar and Petersen in the slips, giving them easy singles that allowed the hosts to rotate the strike and ease the pressure.