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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Performances that made the Wanderers Test an affair to remember

Performances that made the Wanderers Test an affair to remember

Last updated on: December 23, 2013 18:14 IST

Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

The opening Test between India and South Africa at the New Wanderers ended in a thrilling draw. While both the teams ensured the match will be etched in memory for a long time to come, a few individual performances stood out.

A look at some of the best efforts in the course of the five days.

Virat Kohli

The man-of-the match was the stand-out batsman, so to speak.

Virat Kohli's magnificent 119 in the first innings, only his second Test hundred overseas, gave the Indian total a semblance of respectability, and, eventually, a slight lead.

And though he missed out on another hundred in the second innings, falling short by four runs, he did enough to ensure South Africa had a mountain to climb to save the game. 

Pujara notched his maiden overseas hundred

Image: Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Cheteshwar Pujara

It was always going to be a crucial series for Pujara.

Having failed to make an impact when India toured South Africa in 2010-11, his lone overseas tour, Pujara made sure he got it right this time.

While he looked good during his 25 in the first essay, an innings cut short by a needless run-out, it was in the second that he displayed maturity belying his age.

Pujara's 153, his maiden hundred overseas, was certainly masterclass!

Ishant's early burst restored his reputation

Image: Ishant Sharma is congratulated by his teammates
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Ishant Sharma

For Ishant Sharma, it was all about restoring his battered reputation.

The butt of jokes in the social media after being hit all over the park by James Faulkner in the recent one-day series against Australia, he needed to deliver.

And deliver he did, especially in the first essay.

His early burst saw South Africa collapse from a comfortable 130 for 1 to 146 for 6.

His overall figures of 4 for 79 gave India a 36-run lead. He added the wicket of AB de Villiers to his tally in the second innings.

Zaheer picked his 300th Test wicket

Image: Zaheer Khan is congratulated by teammates after taking a wicket
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Zaheer Khan

Back in the team after eternity, Zaheer Khan did what he does best: fill in the role of strike bowler.

The left-arm pacer took 4 for 88 in the first innings to help India take a lead.

In the second innings, he added the wicket of Jacques Kallis to his kitty. It was his 300th wicket in what was his 89th Test, making him only the fourth bowler to achieve the feat.

'Zak is the leader of the attack and his experience of foreign conditions always helps,' said Mahendra Singh Dhoni, about his most reliable bowler after the match.

Smith contributed in both the innings

Image: Graeme Smith
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Graeme Smith

South Africa's captain had a good match with the bat.

He scored a valuable 68 in the first essay, adding 93 runs with Hashim Amla (36) for the second wicket in the process.

It was his 38th Test fifty, his eighth against India.

However, Zaheer returned to haunt him, trapping him plumb in front.

It was the seventh time in 10 Tests that Zaheer dismissed him, and 14th overall across all formats, with 68 being the highest in those 14 innings.

Smith also contributed to his team's cause in the second essay, with a well-made 44 before a direct hit from Ajinkya Rahane cut short his innings.

Philander delivered with the ball...and the bat as well

Image: Vernon Philander is congratulated by his teammates
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Vernon Philander

This 28-year-old delivered with the ball and bat for South Africa.

In the first essay, Vernon Philander picked four for 61 as India's innings folded up for 280.

With the bat, he scored a valuable 59, adding 67 runs with Faf du Plessis (20), after South Africa had suffered a mid-innings collapse.

And the first of his three wickets in the second innings, that of Shikhar Dhawan (15), was his 100th in Tests.

In doing so , in just 19 Tests, Philander bettered the record of Dale Steyn, who reached the milestone in 20 Tests.


The partnership that saved the Test for South Africa

Image: AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis
Photographs: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

AB de Villiers/Faf du Plessis

Finally, the duo that ensured all the Indian dominance in the first four days ended in futility.

After the loss, in the morning session, of Alviro Petersen (76) and Jacques Kallis (34) had put India on top, a 205-run fifth wicket stand between Faf Du Plessis (134) and AB de Villiers (103) laid the platform for what could have been an extraordinary victory.

The match eventually ended in a draw, but it was a herculean effort nonetheless.

It saved the home team the blushes.