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Proteas clinch test series against India at Newlands against the odds

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South Africa was able to overcome a strong Indian bowling attack to win the third and final test match at Newlands on Friday 14 January 2022 by 7 wickets, clinching the series in Cape Town.

The Proteas started day 4 in a good position at 101/2 needing 111 runs to win. Petersen picked up where he left off the day before on 48*. He was joined in the middle by Rassie van der Dussen.

With pressure on both sides and a nervous atmosphere, India needed to pick up a few early wickets to really mount the pressure on the South African batsmen. It was up to Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah who tried their best by putting the ball in the right areas, probing Petersen and van der Dussen. In addition to their good bowling, the extra movement made it a tough first session for the batsmen out in the middle.

Despite some good bowling, Petersen managed to reach his third half-century in test cricket – back to back in the third test at Newlands.

The South African number 3 was well up to the task, playing some beautiful strokes before edging a flawless ball by Bumrah to the slip region. However, Pujara dropped the South African talisman on 61.

The pair continued to weather the storm brought about by the Indian bowlers, playing their shots when the opportunities arose.

Shardul Thakur was brought into the attack with hopes that he was able to break the growing partnership. He made the vital breakthrough early in to his spell when he picked the important wicket of Petersen.

Petersen, who was eyeing triple figures, was bowled for 82 when an inside edge hit his stumps. As he walked off, the disappointment could be seen in his facial expression.

Temba Bavuma then came in to join Rassie van der Dussen at the crease, and the pair took South Africa to lunch on a score of 171-3, needing 41 runs to win.

After lunch, play resumed and it was smooth sailing for Bavuma and van der Dussen as the belief of the Indian players on the field seemed to deteriorate as the day went on and the result grew inevitable.

The pair built a solid partnership and carried the team to the magical 212 runs needed to win. With four runs left to win, Temba Bavuma hit a boundary that vanquished India’s dream of winning their first test series on South African soil.

Player of the match, Keegan Petersen, who scored 72 in the first innings and 82 in the second said that the journey has been tough,

“I just took every little positive I can from every innings and try and build from that. I’ve been confident and just going through my preparation and all.”

The Protea number 3 went on to say, “It’s been a tough journey. It’s not been easy. It’s been difficult conditions all round, but I just had to stick to my guns and trust myself.”

Captain Dean Elgar expressed his satisfaction with the result and his team-mates, “I couldn’t be prouder of the group of players that I have underneath me. We were thrown under the sword quite a few times in the series and the guys responded brilliantly.”

The two nations will go head to head once more Wednesday, 19 January 2022 when they begin the three-match One Day International series at Boland Park, Paarl.

Junaid Benjamin

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