Images from the second One-Day International between South Africa and India, in Paarl, on Friday.
South Africa continued their domination over India, trouncing the visitors by seven wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the One-Day International series, in Paarl, on Friday.
On a flat track, in the second ODI, a target of 288 was well below-par and the seasoned Quinton de Kock (78 off 66 balls) in the company of rising sensation Janneman Malan (91 off 108 balls) put on 132 in an opening stand to set up what turned out to a comfortable victory for the young home side in 48.1 overs.
K L Rahul's captaincy ambitions and head coach Rahul Dravid's wish to see him being anointed in the long run suffered a rude jolt following back-to-back defeats in 50-over games on a track, which was more Indian in nature than South African.
India's archaic approach, a very '90s safety first mind-set, hurt the team as has been the case for a while now in the white-ball format.
A tour that started with a great Test win at Centurion is now in tatters and the Indian contingent will be looking to board the charter flight back home on Monday after the inconsequential third ODI at the Newlands, which would be a spicier track compared to the one at Boland Park.
The batting, save Rishabh Pant's cavalier style, was too defensive starting with skipper Rahul, whose 55 off 79 balls was an innings of bygone era, which cannot align with the fearless cricket that teams want to associate with now.
The match slipped away from India's grasp once Pant was gone, as the others simply failed to get going when the ball did not come on to the bat. It was not a track that offered firm and even bounce.
It's not a new malaise to plague Indian cricket but what should be worrying is that nothing has been done to address the issues.
A veteran like Bhuvneshwar Kumar (8-0-67-0) was swept as well as pulled for sixes by De Kock while Malan came down the track to hit him through the covers, signalling that the bowler’s early 130 kmph speed, with lack of variations, was simply not working.
For Shardul Thakur (40 not out and 5.1-0-36-0), the quality batting show won't save him if he doesn't curtail the number of bad balls he is bowling per spell.
Ravichandan Ashwin (10-1-68-0)'s second coming in white ball cricket might end in a whimper even before it gathers enough wind to sail through.
Yuzvendra Chahal (10-0-47-1) tried his best but his confidence, after being unceremoniously dumped from the T20 World Cup final squad, has been in tatters.
Venkatesh Iyer (22 off 33 balls and 5-0-28-0) is still a work in progress and his fast-tracking in the limited overs set-up is less of pragmatism and more desperation to find a fresh version of injury-plagued Hardik Pandya.
Iyer might develop into a good cricketer but he is a far from finished product and may be some time away from being a success at the international level in all conditions.
As of now, he is not a natural No.6, who can be a finisher like Pandya was in his best days before injury.
Had Pant not come up with his attacking approach, even a target of 288 wouldn't have been possible. And this was after it seemed India would score close to 315 when he was having a steady stand of 115 with his skipper.
Pant played the role of enforcer to perfection, scoring a career-best 85 off 71 balls.
Pant and skipper K L Rahul (55 off 79 balls) added 115 runs in less than 19 overs, the former taking the South African slow medium pacers and spinners to the cleaners.
But three dismissals in quick succession saw the Proteas stage a comeback on a Boland Park strip, where stroke-making wasn't an easy proposition for a new batter.
The two Iyers -- Shreyas (11 off 14 balls) and Venkatesh (22 off 33 balls) - found it a real struggle to get going as the ball did not come onto the bat. That saw the momentum completely shift.
India ended up with a score that was at least 20 runs less than what it could have been had Pant gone on to score a deserving maiden ODI hundred.
Shardul Thakur (40 not out off 38 balls) again used the long handle well in the company of Ravichandran Ashwin (25 not out off 24 balls) to prop the score somewhat.
Skipper Rahul, opening the innings, dropped anchor at one end but it was more like his own runs than what would have really helped the team's cause, as he stayed at the wicket for more than 30 overs and barely managed a fifty-plus score.
It didn't hurt much during their stand as Pant, with 10 fours and two sixes, took charge to keep the run-rate at a healthy five-plus per over.
Slow left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj (9-0-52-1) and left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (9-0-57-2), who otherwise looked good, were made to look pedestrian by Pant.
He not only lofted them for a six each over long-on, but played the sweep shot -- both slog-sweep towards cow corner and the conventional ones square off the wicket -- to good effect.
It was one such shot, off Shamsi, that brought about his downfall.
Before that, rookie pacer Sisanda Magala (8-0-64-1), in his second spell varied the pace of his deliveries well to force Rahul commit into an uppish flick-shot that was taken at short mid-wicket by Rassie van der Dussen.
Magala and Andile Phehlukwayo (8-0-44-1) kept things tight between the 33rd and 43rd over with a lot of slower deliveries and cutters mixed and matched.
At the start, it was Shikhar Dhawan (29 off 38 balls), who took on rookie pacer Magala in the initial Powerplay overs to contribute handsomely in an opening stand of 63 before Aiden Markram's 'golden arm' once again provided the breakthrough.
Dhawan played the slog-sweep and found Magala at deep mid-wicket boundary taking an easy catch.
Virat Kohli (0) was snuffed out early by Maharaj, was foxed by the slowness of the track.
Pant and Rahul then came together and resurrected the innings.