Cape Town – Even
over the course of a relatively modest four Test matches thus far, the gamut of
cricketing moods and tempos has genuinely been experienced in Newlands Test
tussles between South Africa and India.
enthusiasts at the picturesque venue, presumably keenly weighing up Friday’s
first clash of the three-Test 2017/18 series, have been put through hugely contrasting
levels of entertainment value over the prior quartet of battles.
there’s been some sublime value for money and no small dosage of a
put-you-to-sleep factor since the first bilateral encounter in the formidable
shadow of Table Mountain in 1992/93.
Here is a
summary of the four Tests, featuring two South African victories and two
January 1993, fourth and final Test:
poignant, first ever Test series between the countries, this was a
disappointing stinker … more or less from start to finish.
and severely patience-testing through the funereal pace of batting so often by
both sides, SA had secured the series’ only (and ultimately decisive) win at
Port Elizabeth in game three, and duly did what was needed to be done – not
lose – in the Newlands finale.
wasn’t pretty in Cape Town either: Kepler Wessels’ troops prodded their way at
2.10 runs per over to 360 for nine declared (Jonty Rhodes 86, Brian McMillan
52) but then the Indians, strangely hardly exuding urgency themselves,
countered with 276 in all of 151.4 agonising overs in their own first dig.
Sachin Tendulkar made an unusually laboured 73 off 208 balls.
then went into a stonewall mode of note in their second innings, registering
130 for six declared in 97 overs and setting India a strictly nominal target of
215 late on the last day.
They were 29
for one when the Test – and series - was put out of its weighty misery.
January 1997, second of three Tests:
SA won by 282 runs
clinched this series early, as they powered their way to an unassailable 2-0
lead at Newlands -- only this time in an altogether more rollicking contest
than witnessed four years earlier.
Cronje-led hosts took full advantage of winning the toss to amass an
“insurance” total of 529 for seven declared, built on centuries from all of
Gary Kirsten, McMillan and a cherry-on-top, especially swift unbeaten one from
Lance Klusener toward the tail section.
Indians nosedived to 58 for five in reply, a rout seemed entirely feasible …
but what followed, for those privileged enough to soak it in under the warm
sun, was one of the most high-octane passages of Test play imaginable (certainly
at the time).
Tendulkar stuck to his anchoring task, though interspersed with plenty of
majestic strokes of his own, while seasoned Mohammad Azharuddin took the fight
to the SA attack, lashing 115 at more than a run a ball in a sixth-wicket
partnership of 222.
onslaught included 19 fours and a six, and was only ended by Andrew Hudson’s
running out of partners, upped his own aggression levels before falling victim
to simply another bit of awe-inspiring cricket: last man out for 169, courtesy
of an acrobatic, one-handed boundary catch from Adam Bacher as he unleashed a
(359) were still left 170 runs in arrears, and SA then declared six down after
going past 250 again, aided by half-tons from McMillan, Daryll Cullinan and
At least to
Indian onlookers, the Test then lost much of its hitherto considerable allure
as they were bombed out for 144 in an unlikely hunt of 427, Allan Donald and
Paul “Gogga” Adams bagging three scalps apiece.
January 2007, third and final Test:
SA won by five wickets
This was the
pivotal Test in a series where Graeme Smith’s Proteas had been required to claw
back from 1-0 down (India’s first ever SA win, at the Wanderers) and they
completed the series-sealing task at Newlands.
game had started most promisingly for India, as they compiled a healthy first
innings of 414, opener Wasim Jaffer’s 116 the glue around which it was bound
although Shaun Pollock and Paul Harris each managed four-wicket hauls.
SA then fell
a little short in reply, their 373 featuring a nerve-settling 94 from skipper
Smith, so often a reveller in demanding situations.
But the game
turned on its head with India’s fatally short-lived second knock of 169, the
fast-emerging young speedster Dale Steyn picking up 4/30.
thus needed 211 for the match and series, and duly did the business five down,
Smith again leading the assault with 55.
January 2011, third and final Test:
increasingly determined to confirm improved mettle in the southern hemisphere, arguably
ended the happier of the two nations as this series-ending draw ensured their
first split series in South Africa – after four earlier reverses on these
It all came
down to Newlands, where a monumental batting performance from Jacques Kallis –
almost indisputably one of the best in Test history, if weighed over the course
of both innings and on debilitating circumstance – went a long way to at least
ensuring the Proteas didn’t lose the series.
damaged a rib and muscles in his side fairly early in his first knock, causing
visible, wincing pain for him for the remainder of the Test … but his
successive 161 out of 362 and then 109 not out in the SA second innings of 341
were worth pure gold in an otherwise stuttering showing at the crease by the
established legend of the Test arena, Sachin Tendulkar, had struck a first-dig
146 at a favoured away venue for him.
strongly to Kallis’s special obduracy (the Proteas were a precarious 98 for
five at stage) in their second turn at the crease, India were eventually
required to make a demanding 340 for victory on a full day five, and ended up favouring
discretion as the better part of valour.
drawn with India a tame 166 for three after 82 overs, but nevertheless feeling
a certain SA rot had stopped …
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