Review of Tests between India and South Africa-1

The series in 2021-22 resulted in a 2-1 win for South Africa, after India won the first Test. India has failed to win a Test series in SA, although they have won at least one series in all other countries. The best India has done there is an 1-1 draw in 2010-11. The 2021-22 series followed the pattern of 2006-07 where India won the first Test but lost the next two.

Here is an overall summary of Tests between these two countries:

SA leads India 17-15 overall. Both sides appear to have strong home advantages.

We now look at individual performances, starting with

Batting:

Most runs (500 or more):

Led by Tendulkar and Kallis.

These two have the most centuries (7)

Amla, Kallis and Tendulkar have the most 50+ scores (12).

From the above table, the best by current players is 1236 by Kohli, followed by Rahane, Pujara and Elgar with 800+. RG Sharma is further down.

Highest innings (125 or more):

The highest by current players are 254* by Kohli, followed by double centuries by MA Agarwal and RG Sharma. But no one crossed 125 in this series.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Kallis has the highest average, followed by Kohli at some distance. Other current players here are Rahane, Elgar and Pujara.

Highest strike rates (Minimum 1000 balls faced, all instances):

Sehwag and Azharuddin lead here. Among current players there are RG Sharma (in 3rd place), Kohli and Rahane. Also note Dravid at the bottom of this list.

Bowling performances:

Most wickets (12 or more):

Led Kumble, followed by Steyn and Srinath at a distance. Ashwin (56) has the most by a current player, followed by Shami, Rabada and Jadeja. Also note M Jansen with 19 in his debut series.

The most 5-fors are 5 by Steyn and Ashwin. No one has taken more than one 10-for.

Best innings bowling (includes all 6wi and more):

The best performance was an 8-for by Klusener on his debut.

Current players here include SN Thakur, Ashwin and Ngidi.

Thakur’s 7-61 in this series is the best for India against SA, surpassing the earlier record of 7-66 by Ashwin (Nagpur, 2015) and 7-120 by Harbhajan (Cape Town, 2011) which was India’s best in SA.

Best match performances (includes all 8wm and more):

Led by Ashwin and Donald with 12-fors, and 10-fors by Steyn, Pollock and V Prasad.

Current players here include Ashwin, Jadeja and Ngidi.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, all instances):

Headed by Donald and Jadeja (!) Current players here include Jadeja, Shami, Ashwin and Rabada.

The best economy rates are by Pollock and Jadeja.

The best strike rates are by Steyn and Shami.

To be continued.

ODI debuts for and against India

ODI debuts by Indian players were highlighted in the first match, both in batting and bowling.

ODI debuts by India (minimum 40 runs):

KL Rahul is the only player from India to score a century on ODI debut. Before that, RV Uthappa’s record of 86 stood for several years.

This table also gives the strike rate for the innings. Indeed, the highest rate is 187 by KH Pandya, far ahead of the previous record of 127 by Azharuddin back in 1984-85.

This list includes several who served India well, and others who vanished quickly. For instance, Khurasiya scored 57 on debut and played in only a few ODIs after that.

Now we look at those who scored 40 or more on their ODI debut which was against India:

The highest is 90 by SP Fleming, who also scored 90+ on his Test debut. Some other famous names here include Wade, du Plessis, RB Richardson and YJ Bairstow. Others such as CS Cowdrey and Moxon did not last long.

Now we look at ODI debuts by Indian players, with a minimum of 3 wickets in an innings:

We see that MP Krishna’s 4-54 is the best by an Indian player on ODI debut, surpassing the long-forgotten NA David’s 3-21 in 1997.

David’s 2.62 is also the best economy rate here, followed by ST Banerjee’s 3.00. The worst is 6.66 by C Sharma, just ahead of Krishna’s 6.61.

Prominent names here include Pandya junior, DR Doshi and even BS Chandrasekhar.

Finally, we look at those who took 3wi on their Test debut which was against India.

The best here is 5-28 by BD’s Taskin Ahmed, just ahead of AA Donald’s 5-29. Donald and maybe Henry and Styris are the only others who lasted long enough.

The best economy rates are 2.50 by FA Rose and 3.16 by SA Thomson. The worst is 6.30 by SB Styris.

Review of South Africa-Zimbabwe Tests

A summary of all Tests between these countries:

Teams

SA has won 8 out of 9 Tests, including all 4 played at home and 4 out of 5 played away. Zimbabwe’s best performance can thus be said to be the Test at Bulawayo starting on 14 Sep 2001 (just after 9/11!) which was drawn.

We quickly go through the main individual performances:

Most runs (200 and above):

Most runs

Andy Flower’s performance in a weak team is particularly creditable. He and Kallis are the only ones with more than one century.

Highest innings scores (90 and above):

Highest scores

Andy Flower again, highlighting his lone battle with 142 and 199* in a losing cause.

Most wickets (8 and above):

Most wkts

The first three names are no surprise. Zimbabwe bowlers hardly figure here, particularly since their team sustained several innings defeats.

Best innings bowling (including all 5wi and above):

Innings bowling

Donald’s performance in the first Test between these teams remains unsurpassed. And Bryan Strang’s performance in the same Test is still a record for Zimbabwe.

Best match bowling (6wm and above):

Match bowling

As above, Donald’s record stands since 1995. And no Zimbabwe bowler appears here (again, because of the numerous innings defeats).

Most dismissals (5 and above):

Most dismissals

As one would expect. Interestingly four non-keepers share the record of 5 catches.

Best innings fielding (3 or more dismissals):

innings fielding

As expected, though Sibanda’s presence as the lone Zimbabwe player is strange.

Best match fielding (4 or more dismissals):

Match fielding

Note the absence of any Zimbabwe players here, and GC Smith’s record among non-keepers.

Overall all-round performance (see criteria below):

AR overall

The best all-rounder on both sides, while Pollock and Streak did not play enough in these matches.

All-round match performance (50+ runs and 5+ wickets):

AR match

There is no instance of 50+5wi in these matches, so the criterion is reduced to 50 runs and 5 wickets in the match. Here again it is Kallis all the way with Pollock playing a minor role.