5 talking points from first India-South Africa Test
India lost the Test but gave the nation hope.
The battle between the top two Test nations of the world kicked off with a thrilling encounter at Cape Town as South Africa beat India by 72 runs on the 4th day of the Test. Both teams had their fair share of bright moments across the three cricketing days – the 3rd day of the Test was called off due to rain. But the Proteas took complete advantage of the home conditions and took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match Test series.
India went into the series having won nine straight Test series, a joint world record, and with the desire to prove that they could finally do well outside the subcontinent. But the lack of application in those testing conditions seems to have brought back painful memories of failures in nations such as South Africa, Australia and England.
That said, we look at the five talking points that shaped the outcome of the first Test:
Not playing the warm-up match
In December 2017, it was announced that the two-day warm-up match scheduled for India was cancelled and they opted to have practice sessions on those days instead. Virat Kohli was quick to justify the team’s decision, citing reasons such as the apparent low quality of practice matches and the different conditions as compared to the actual Test match.
However, it’s important to note that even if it’s an inconsequential match, it’s still a lot closer to a game than a practice session, and decisions such as selecting the starting 11, tinkering with the bowler-batsman combination could be better made after analyzing a player’s performance against a Proteas domestic side.
Important lessons can now be learnt from the first Test and changes to the lineup would surely be expected for the next one.