India lost Test 2 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg by 7 wickets as South Africa chased the 240-run goal on Day 4 to level the three-game series. Captain Deal Elgar scored a brave 96 *, while players like Rassi van der Dussen (41), Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma made helpful contributions. The victory also ended India’s flawless record at the venue: the visitors had never lost an event at the Wanderers. India’s seamers, for once, fell short of expectations. Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur went wild without much luck or success. The third and final decisive Test match of the series in Cape Town will begin on January 11.
Here is our report card from India playing XI for the Johannesburg test
Mayank Agarwal – 4/10, below average
As in the first test in Johannesburg, Mayank Agarwal looked good in both innings of this test, but somehow failed to turn his start into something substantial. The India starter achieved scores of 26 and 23 in Johannesburg.
KL Rahul – 6/10, above average
Rahul missed in the second inning, but overall he was pretty good as a hitter, scoring fifty fighters in India’s first inning when the rest of the hitters battled the ball in motion, but maybe he could have done better as captain, especially in South Africa’s second inning. The right-hander led India after regular captain Virat Kohli was ruled out with a back spasm.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 6/10, above average
India’s No. 3 played an attacking blow in India’s second inning when the chips were down. India had lost their first matches early and desperately needed a partnership. That’s when Pujara, who was terribly short of runs in the series, raised his hand and scored a quick 53 to help India take a decent lead. The law, however, is far from the best and should contribute more consistently to keep the young at bay.
Ajinkya Rahane – 6/10, above average
Rahane’s place on the test side has been under scrutiny for some time. Criticism rose when the veteran right-hander recorded his first gold duck in test cricket in the early innings of the Johannesburg Test. However, as he has often done in his career, Rahane came back strong in the second inning to emerge as India’s best running back. It was his 58-run knock and the 111-run position he put in with Pujara that allowed India to give South Africa a 240-run goal.
Hanuma Vihari – 6/10 above average
There was a lot of talk when Vihari was not included in the test team for the home series against New Zealand and rightly so, as the right-hander had done well abroad on the limited opportunities he had had. He had the opportunity to be part of the XI in place of the injured Virat Kohli. The right-hander scored 22 fighters in the first inning, but his undefeated hit of 40 in the second inning was crucial.
Rishabh Pants – 3/10, poor
The wicketkeeper-batsman from India disappointed with the bat. He failed to score a notable score in the first inning, but what drew a lot of criticism was the shot the southpaw played in the second inning for India. Facing only his third ball, Pant went down the court towards Kagiso Rabada trying to hit the main South African pacemaker over the top, but ended up gaining an outside advantage for the goalkeeper.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 6/10, above average
Ashwin became the first Indian spinner to pick up a wicket in the Wanderers after the legendary Anil Kumble. He did his best with the ball, but conditions weren’t receptive enough for him to make a difference with the ball. With the bat, however, he made a useful contribution of 46 in India’s first innings.
Shardul Thakur – 9/10, excellent
India’s best performer of the second test by some distance. Shardul Thakur was simply excellent on the ball. In fact, if it weren’t for their 7 of 61 in the first innings, the best figures for an Indian against South Africa in testing, South Africa would have taken the game. Shardul also hit a quick 28-of-24 shot in India’s second inning.
Mohammed Shami – 7/10, good
The Indian hero of the first trial was out of control even in the second, but luck was not on his side; otherwise, he would have ended up with a lot more ground and even the outcome of the match could have been different. Shami picked up two plots in the first inning and one in the second.
Jasprit Bumrah – 3/10, poor
It would be criminal to point the finger at someone like Bumrah after just one test, but even his biggest fans would agree that he didn’t live up to their standards in the Wanderers. He just wasn’t patient enough on a track that had a lot of help for the paddlers and the results were there to be seen: just one wicket in the entire match. Bumrah was left without wicketless in the second inning when India needed him most.
Mohammed Siraj – 3/10, poor
Siraj was the only Indian bowler to miss the entire Test, but he had his reasons. He just wasn’t the same pitcher after he injured his calf muscle while bowling very early in South Africa’s first innings. He returned to bowling the next day and also in the second inning, but his career lacked that energy and as a result, he did not get enough support on the track.
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