Indian batting came unstuck once again at a lively track at Johannesburg in the face of relentless fast bowling by Proteas bowlers in the channel outside and outside off-stump. It was once again poor application by our batters which caused their downfall. They failed to learn any lesson from previous Tests and continue to chase wide deliveries and perished in this bargain. Murali Vijay again got out driving well away from his body without moving his feet. He has been a disappointment. He was supposed to mentor his partners, considering his previous experience where he had a fairly good run. But he looked totally clueless and failed to provide solid start which was expected of him.
Captain Kohli threw his wicket away after getting set and didn’t capitalize on two chances that he received. He continued to flash at wide balls which South Africans bowled to frustrate him and test his patience. Ultimately he perished trying to play his favourite cover drive without moving his feet.
All batters were guilty of poking at away deliveries betraying poor application, discipline, lack of patience. Hardik Pandya got out in a horrendous fashion, again playing the rash stroke. The team management must sit with him and drill into him the discipline and patience required to play at the highest level. He has been throwing his wicket away by playing reckless shots. It is all very well to play your natural attacking game, but shot selection has to be right.
Shot selection of our batters has been consistently poor in the entire series. No lessons were learnt from past dismissals and failures. There was no plan on how to tackle SA bowlers, who bowled well as a unit, executed their plans well. Our batters’ propensity to drive without moving their feet has been their undoing. Their dismissals have been identical in all 3 Tests.
Lack of fight by our batsmen exposed their poor temperament and fragile mental make-up. Had our batsmen been half as successful as our bowlers, we would have won this series instead of facing the prospect of a imminent whitewash. If it happens, it will be the first whitewash for South Africa since their readmission in 1992.
Our bowlers bowled as good and as fast as Proteas bowlers and didn’t allow the likes of ABD, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis to dominate, which is no mean achievement. Sadly batsmen failed to make matching contribution and complement their effort, allowing South Africa to escape to victory.
Collective failure of our batsmen must force our administrators to revamp domestic cricket setup. Domestic tourneys must be played on sporting pitches affording pace and bounce. Till it happens we will continue to struggle overseas and remain tigers at home only. BCCI should also plan overseas tour in such a way that it gives the players ample time to acclimatize and a few practice game to adjust to pace and bounce.
What’s the point of having richest cricket Board and passionate cricket fans, if our team continues to perform poorly abroad. We deserve a strong team which can register wins abroad regularly and command worldwide respect, not the dubious tag of “tigers at home, but lambs abroad.”
Hope the CoA has its ears to ground and is cognizant of the dismal situation. The abysmal showing in South Africa must lead to structural reforms in our domestic structure so that our team becomes world beater, feels at home even when playing overseas.