When the collective sum trumped individual flashes: 5 takeaways from Proteas v India

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Proteas win Test series win over India in 2022 (Gallo Images)
Proteas win Test series win over India in 2022 (Gallo Images)
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • South Africa's 2-1 series win came as a result of a better collective effort that trumped India's individual brilliance.
  • SA's batting and bowling partnership generally came together when it truly mattered.
  • The series win meant India have now lost seven out of eight Test series in South Africa.

Several parts of South Africa's sum came together as a whole to ensure India left with another Test series defeat on these shores.

South Africa's collective excellence was shown in how they outbatted and outbowled India despite the visitors taking more five-wicket hauls and scoring more 100s.

Here are five takeaways from South Africa's come-from-behind 2-1 series win against India.

A collective bowling effort beat India's spectacular individual showings

India's fast-bowling group is a golden generation in every sense of the word. It has carried India to unheard of overseas success.

With SA's batting group at its weakest, they were expected to engineer regular collapses, and after the first Test when they kept SA to under 200 in both innings, the portents brewed nicely for them.

However, SA's attack led by Kagiso Rabada caught a second wind from the third day of the first Test that they sustained through the series.

They had some soft moments, but when it truly mattered, they kept India in check. The numbers will say Kagiso Rabada (20) was SA's best bowler while Marco Jansen (19) took his chance, but it was Lungi Ngidi (15) who made the biggest impact.

His spells at Centurion and Johannesburg unceasingly educated his teammates with where to bowl when the runs started to flow.

His 6/71 was SA's best individual bowling figures and SA's only five-wicket haul as compared to India's three that were speckled across the first innings of each Test.

However, when SA's bowlers needed to come together, they did so with aplomb and proved to be the difference.

Keegan Petersen is a keeper at three

Petersen is still an infant in Test cricket and batting at first drop, there will be more searching examinations in New Zealand, England, and Australia.

What can't be denied though is that he passed India's test with flying colours. 276 run at an average of 46 with three 50s against an Indian attack that across two tours of Australia, only conceded two 100s, is nothing to be scoffed at.

Yes, there were flaky moments outside off-stump, but a lot of that had to do with India's persistence and excellence.

In trusting his attacking and defensive instincts regardless of the match situation, he showcased the value of knowing what has worked at first-class level.

His technique will be found out and examined, but in the interim, there's a long-term option in him as not just a bridge player.

Should Aiden Markram be persisted with in New Zealand?

This is a difficult question to answer considering that on last year's tour to Pakistan, he was head and shoulders SA's best batter.

His fallibility outside off-stump was exposed by the West Indies, but India's bowlers took it a step further in this series.

They attacked his pads and stumps with success and with each dismissal, Markram didn't seem to have a solution to the problem.

Is dropping him an answer? It is tricky in that he was the highest run-scorer in the four-day series last year.

SJ Erwee and Pieter Malan, who replaced Markram for the England series, wait in the wings as bridge players who can help Markram up his game and better understand how to overcome his shortcomings.

It is unfortunate that Markram doesn't even have the comfort of a round of four-day cricket to rediscover some confidence before the New Zealand tour next month.

All's not lost for Keshav Maharaj

Keshav Maharaj's selection throughout the series was hotly contested based on the spicy surfaces and India's proficiency in playing spin.

He took just one wicket in the series, and it was instead his contributions with the bat and in the field that made him a valuable member of the team.

The selectors weren't wrong in giving him games and keeping his body ready for combat.

Australia doesn't drop Nathan Lyon regardless of where they play, even if it's a green-top, because of his attacking and defensive bowling qualities.

Maharaj excels in both fields and his selection remains important in any game.

There's life after Quinton de Kock in Test cricket

The Test series success has quickly pushed Quinton de Kock's spiky retirement firmly into the pages of history, even though Rishabh Pant served as a reminder of the De Kock qualities SA will miss.

Kyle Verreynne's neat glovework immediately filled the void and while his Test batting will take some time to develop, it's also worth remembering that, like De Kock, he's also pressing a serious ODI case.

The game replaces its great with players who are not always of the same ability, but those who aspire to play at their best.

Verreynne has pressed his red-ball case and deserves to play Test cricket. While his adapting will be slow, Mark Boucher is best placed to remind him of the different development speed followed by keepers.

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