Cape Town – South Africa earned statistical ignominy at Newlands on Saturday.
By surrendering the decisive third Twenty20 international to India for a 2-1 series defeat, they also became the first Proteas outfit ever to lose both limited-overs portions of a tour here by a single bilateral foe.
Although, in fairness, the 2-1 Test series victory by SA at the outset of India’s safari will be considered achievement of the main business by many connoisseurs, it is nevertheless a stark reality that these visitors probably deserve to go down as the best Indian team to come to the country – courtesy of their 8-4 supremacy in the internationals played across the three formats.
Virat Kohli and his merry men romped to a particularly humiliating 5-1 triumph in the one-day internationals, and followed that up with their deserved 2-1 monopoly of the T20 fixtures.
In Test terms, you could argue that the current Indians were no better than five compatriot predecessors, all of whom also experienced series defeat in SA, although the exception was 2010/11 under MS Dhoni when a 1-1 stalemate was earned.
But the latest group were streets better than earlier Indian sides in the limited-overs fare, being the first, for example, to win the ODIs in SA after four unsuccessful earlier cracks on a strictly bilateral-series basis.
It didn’t end there: by putting the cherry on top of their white-ball supremacy with the T20 series triumph, that “double” made unpalatable history for South Africa.
Never before, in a single all-formats tour, has a visiting team beaten the Proteas in both one-day landscapes.
South Africa have suffered quite a few home T20 series defeats, in a format that can be notoriously lotto-like and sometimes may only involve one game, but generally compensated for that by faring a lot better in the ODI matches.
In 2016/17, unfancied Sri Lanka snatched the T20 series 2-1 but were clean-swept 5-0 in the 50-overs portion, and four other teams have previously earned bragging rights in the most condensed format while losing the ODIs on the same pilgrimage here.
The West Indies tourists of 2014/15 won the T20s 2-1 while losing the ODIs 4-1, the Pakistanis of 2012/13 won the T20 series 1-0 while being pipped 3-2 at ODI level, India won the T20 match in 2006/07 while losing the ODIs 4-0, and the 2005/06 New Zealanders also won a lone T20 international while being pulverised 4-0 in the ODIs.
So the 2017/18 Indians, apart from looking the most confident, multi-skilled and adaptable to conditions of all Indian touring sides visiting here, have achieved what no other country has before in South Africa …
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing