Christiaan Jonker. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Christiaan Jonker. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

South Africans searching for positives in the debris of India’s tour should be pleased to know that their team have stopped telling groundsmen how to do their jobs.

And a good thing too‚ what with a series of four Tests against Australia starting at Kingsmead on Thursday.

"We have to get to Durban and see what we get‚" SA coach Ottis Gibson said on Saturday.

"Everybody knows what happened at the Wanderers‚ so we’ve left the groundsmen to prepare the best possible pitches they can this time."

The Wanderers earned three demerit points for the pitch prepared for the third test in January‚ which was temporarily suspended after Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet — the last straw after batsmen had taken umpteen blows on their hands and bodies.

Blame that on the bee the South Africans had in their bonnet about leaning on groundsmen to skew conditions further in their favour than they would normally be.

SA were hamstrung by injuries to Faf du Plessis‚ AB de Villiers‚ Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn

Gibson spoke after India underlined their superiority over SA by winning the third T20 at Newlands by seven runs to seal the series 2-1.

Virat Kohli’s men won twice as many matches as the home side on their tour and claimed two of the three trophies.

They won on Saturday even though Kohli‚ their captain and star batsman and his team’s driving force‚ missed the match with a back injury.

The Indians were dominant in the one-day rubber‚ which they owned 5-1 to push SA’s 2-1 success in the Test series far back in the memory.

SA were hamstrung by injuries to Faf du Plessis‚ AB de Villiers‚ Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn.

Of those players only De Kock has been confirmed as good to go against the Australians on Thursday.

"Our captain missing [Du Plessis] has been a massive loss‚" Gibson said.

"I’m not sure that AB will be 100% but he’ll be somewhere near and he can take his place in the team. Dale Steyn isn’t far away again.

"We’ve missed the seniors. Having them back will give everybody a lift."

The upside is that several young players were given opportunities to stake their claims‚ and they took them encouragingly often.

"We’ve seen some exciting new players in the one-day series‚" Gibson said.

"Lungi Ngidi made a debut. Heinrich Klaasen made a debut‚ and he’s been excellent.

"Junior Dala made a debut in this T20 series and was also very good.

"We saw a little bit of Christiaan Jonker [on Saturday]‚ and he played an outstanding innings," said Gibson.

"The result of the series is hard to take but you have to look forward to the future‚ and the future looks for some of the youngsters like it’s going to be bright," he said.

Fast bowler Ngidi took 7/90 on his test debut in Centurion and was SA’s leading wicket-taker in the ODIs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Klaasen played important innings in both white-ball series and topped the batting averages for the home side in the ODIs.

In the T20s no South African bowler came close to Dala’s return of seven wickets at an average of 15.71.

Jonker played his first game for SA on Saturday and smote a fiery 49 off 24 balls that helped his team run the Indians close.

But those singular highlights did not add up to a significant challenge against a highly competent‚ assured‚ superbly led Indian team.

They kept winning, and winning well‚ and best of all, they were impeccably gracious in victory.


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