NEW DELHI: South Africa have toured India six times for a Test series. The Proteas, however have managed to emerge winners just once on Indian soil, when they won both the Test matches in the 1999-2000 series. The South Africans fought hard to draw the Test series twice in India – in 2007-08 and 2009-10.
Over the years there have been quite a few scintillating knocks in India vs South Africa Test matches in India. Here’s a look at the top five highest individual scores in India-South Africa Tests on Indian soil.
Virender Sehwag: 319 in Chennai (2008)
When you see Virender Sehwag‘s name on a list, the fact that the knock was swashbuckling and entertaining is guaranteed. In the heat of Chennai, on a beauty of a batting pitch where 1498 runs were scored by both the sides, Sehwag was the highest run scorer with a blitzkrieg 319-run knock. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first and notched up 540 runs before being dismissed after Tea on Day 2. Harbhajan Singh took the last three wickets to complete a five-wicket haul. A nonchalant Sehwag then smashed his way to a 59-ball half-century on Day 2 itself. That, was just a sign of things to come. On Day 3, Sehwag raced to his century before lunch off 116 balls. Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer (73) put up a 213-run opening stand. Sehwag reached his double century (off 194 balls) and triple century (off 278 balls) in the company of Rahul Dravid (111), as the duo added 268 runs for the second wicket in a stand that lasted 278 minutes. Sehwag smacked five sixes and 42 fours in his swashbuckling knock off just 304 deliveries. Needless to say, his knock was the fastest triple century ever, in terms of balls faced (278). So brutal was the assault by Sehwag, that he needed just 78 balls to score his second hundred, and 84 for the third.
Hashim Amla: 253* in Nagpur (2010)
South Africa registered an innings victory in the opening Test of the 2010 tour thanks largely to two of their stalwarts – Hashim Amla with the bat and Dale Steyn with the ball. Opting to bat first, the Proteas lost Ashwell Prince and Graeme Smith to Zaheer Khan by the seventh over. But an innings collapse was avoided by two of the best South African batsmen ever – Amla and Jacques Kallis (173). The duo added 340 runs for the third wicket as Amla’s maiden double hundred put the Proteas firmly in the driving seat. Amla’s disciplined knock hardly consisted of lofted shots and the way he played Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra on a pitch that behaved like a fourth-day track, was a lesson in itself. Amla added 108 runs with AB de Villiers as South Africa went on to declare their first innings at 558/6 with Amla remaining unbeaten on 253, having slammed 22 hits to the fence.
AB de Villiers: 217* in Ahmedabad (2008)
After the first Test in Chennai proved to be a nightmare for the bowlers of both sides, the 2008 series moved on to Ahmedabad where an AB de Villiers masterclass ensured an innings win for the Proteas in three days and India’s worst home defeat in nearly 50 years. Opting to bat first, India were skittled out for just 76 runs before De Villiers’ unbeaten 217 and his 256-run stand with Jacques Kallis (132) multiplied India’s misery. De Villiers reached his fifth Test century off 174 balls and took just 146 more balls to reach his double hundred, smashing 17 fours and 2 sixes in his stupendous knock. For the record, India were bowled out for 328 runs in their second innings as South Africa won by an innings and 90 runs.
Jacques Kallis: 173 in Nagpur (2010)
When Hashim Amla struck a masterful unbeaten 253 in the 2010 series, giving him company was Jacques Kallis who helped himself to a 173-run knock, hitting 15 fours and 2 sixes in his knock. Kallis reached his 34th Test hundred off 165 balls on Day 1 of the Nagpur Test and his 340-run stand with Amla rendered Zaheer Khan’s opening burst ineffective. The Indian left-arm pacer had reduced the Proteas to 6/2 in the seventh over before Amla and Kallis came together and with a rock-solid approach batted India out of the game. This was the Test in which all that could go wrong for India, went wrong. An unfit VVS Laxman missed the match, Rohit Sharma – all set for a Test debut, picked up an injury while playing football just minutes before the match. India were forced to play reserve wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha as a specialist batsman on his debut and then captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost the toss. And despite a first innings century by Virender Sehwag and a second innings hundred by Sachin Tendulkar, India lost the match by an innings and 6 runs.
Virender Sehwag: 165 in Kolkata (2010)
Virender Sehwag carried his form from Nagpur to Kolkata in the 2010 series, smashing a destructive 165 at the Eden Gardens. Hashim Amla (both innings) and debutant Alviro Petersen hit centuries for South Africa. Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and then captain MS Dhoni also notched up hundreds for India but when Sehwag notched up a three-figure knock, it more often than not overshadowed the efforts of others and made a long-lasting and devastating impact on the match. Taking the South African attack head on, Sehwag stormed to his fifty off 41 balls, century off 87 balls, overshadowing Tendulkar’s 92nd international hundred in the process. There was no swing for Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell, as Sehwag toyed with the Proteas pacers. Paul Harris tried to unsettle Sehwag by bowling round the wicket but was slog-swept and smashed inside out by the marauding Indian opener, as he notched up his 150 off 160 deliveries. The Sehwag onslaught resulted in an Indian victory by an innings and 57 runs as the two-match series ended level at 1-1.