Cape Town - Hanging on by a thread in the series, the Proteas should take heart from the surprising fact that India have a winless one-day international record at St George’s Park.
That venue is the scene of Tuesday’s fifth ODI (13:00 start), where a second successive South African victory would drag out the six-match series - at 3-2 - right to the climax at Centurion on Friday.
But if India return to their previously very dominant ways in Port Elizabeth, the SuperSport Park meeting automatically becomes a dead-rubber affair.
St George’s Park seems a dream location for India - with their massive expertise on slow, turning surfaces - to complete the business for an historic first bilateral series triumph on our shores.
The historical reality, however, is that the ground has been surprisingly, resolutely unkind to the tourists in an ODI capacity: their record is a stark “played five, lost five”.
Four of those reverses have come to South Africa themselves, but they also suffered the ignominy of a shock defeat to minnows Kenya (triangular tourney) in the Friendly City in 2001/02.
Throw in the fact that India have drawn one and lost one of their only two Test appearances at St George’s Park, and Aiden Markram’s charges will be bidding to extend that international victories duck in PE to eight matches (there have been no Twenty20 internationals featuring India at the ground).
Here are short summaries of India’s ODI “suffering” at St George’s, from most recent …
January 21, 2011, SA won by 48 runs (D/L method): SA 265/7 (JP Duminy 71no, H Amla 64, Y Singh 3/34); India 142/6 (V Kohli 87no).
November 29, 2006, SA won 80 runs: SA 243/8 (H Gibbs 93no, J Kallis 49); India 163 (I Pathan 47no, J Kemp 3/21).
October 17, 2001, Kenya won by 70 runs: Kenya 246/6 (K Otieno 64, T Odoyo 51); India 176 (H Singh 37; J Angara 3/30, T Odoyo 3/41).
February 2, 1997, SA won by six wickets: India 179/9 (M Azharuddin 57, R Dravid 50, A Donald 3/40); SA 180/4 (J Kallis 79).
December 9, 1992, SA won by six wickets: India 147 (WV Raman 33, B McMillan 4/32); SA 148/4 (D Callaghan 45no).
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