6 ODI Series, No Wins: India’s Poor ODI History in South Africa

Here’s a look at how the Indian team has fared in South Africa so far.

6 min read
File photo of Virat Kohli.

The Indian team won the final Test of the three-match series in Johannesburg on Saturday, but the visitors maintained their record of not winning a single Test series in South Africa.

India have not won a single ODI series in Protea-land as well. Their best result in an ODI series in South Africa is a 2-3 loss in 2010/11.

Can Virat Kohli’s team India change the course of history in the upcoming 6-match ODI series, starting in Durban on Thursday?

Before we know the answer to that, here’s a little refresher on how India fared in South Africa in their six tours to date.

1. India Play Out Three Draws in 1992/93

File photo of Sachin Tendulkar.
File photo of Sachin Tendulkar.
(Photo: Reuters)

Results: Test series: 1-0 (SA); ODI series: 5-2 (SA)

South Africa was banned from international cricket from 1970 to 1991 due to Apartheid. When the national team was allowed back on the international arena, India was the first team to tour the Rainbow Nation, in 1992-93.

In the first Test of the series, India’s Pravin Amre smashed a century to help his team attain a lead of 23 runs. And in the second Test, it was the young Sachin Tendulkar standing up with a hundred.

After having drawn the first two Tests, India handed the upper hand to South Africa in the third Test by getting bundled out for 212. Allan Donald starred with the ball with 5 wickets. India couldn’t resurrect themselves in the second innings either, getting all out for 215.

South Africa knocked off the 153-run target with 9 wickets in hand.

India salvaged a draw in the fourth Test and the four match series was won by the home team 1-0.

In the ODI series, the South Africans completely dominated the Indians. The Proteas won four out of the first five matches to seal the seven-match series. India managed a four-wicket victory in the third ODI.

After going into the final ODI, 1-5 down, Manoj Prabhakar and Venkatapathy Raju put up an inspiring performance – taking three wickets each – to restrict South Africa to 203/8. India chased down the runs with five wickets in hand and 16 balls to spare.

2. The Horror Tour in 1996/97


Results: Test series: 2-0 (SA); Tri-series winner: SA

The Indian team could manage only 166 runs in both innings of the first Test and eventually lost the match by a massive 328 runs. India couldn’t find the much-needed momentum in the next Test as well, losing by 282 runs.

However, in the third Test, a certain Rahul Dravid scored his first Test century to help set the tone for India. The visitors posted 410 runs in the first innings. The bowlers, particularly Javagal Srinath, backed up the batsmen’s effort by bowling out the Proteas for 321 runs.

After India set a target of 356 runs, India had South Africa on the ropes at 95/7. But then, Daryll Cullinan and Lance Klusener strung together a partnership of 127 runs and with a little help from rain, South Africa drew the Test with a final score of 228/8 on Day 5.

In the tri-series between India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, India couldn’t win a single match against the home side. They lost the final of the series by 17 runs.

3. Controversies Galore in 2001/02


Results: Test series: 1-0 (SA); Tri-series winner: SA

India may have lost the Test series 0-1 and lost to South Africa in the final of the tri-series, but India had to deal with a lot more on this tour.

Virender Sehwag started his Test career with a century in the first innings of the first Test, but India’s total of 379 proved not to be enough.

South Africa piled on 563 runs and India eventually lost the match by 9 wickets.

India managed to draw the second Test, but the news of bigger interest was that Sachin Tendulkar was handed a one-match suspended ban for allegedly tampering with the ball during the second Test.

The Indian board and team were furious with the allegation by match referee Mike Denness and threatened to go back home without playing the third Test.

Finally, both the cricket boards replaced Denness with former South African wicketkeeper Denis Lindsay but since the ICC didn’t take that decision, the third Test was played as an unofficial match. India lost that match by an innings and 73 runs.

4. India Record First Test Win in 2006/07


Results: Test series: 2-1 (SA); ODI series: 4-0 (SA); Only T20I winner: India

India started their tour with a torrid run during the ODI series. After the first match was abandoned without a ball being bowled, India lost the next four ODIs by 157 runs, 106 runs, 80 runs and 9 wickets respectively.

But all of this took place before one of Indian cricket’s sweetest victories. India posted a total of 249 runs in their first innings of the first Test after choosing to bat first. S Sreesanth followed it up with a magnificent spell – 5/40 – to help India bundle South Africa out for just 84 runs.

South Africa could never recover from there and eventually lost the Test by 123 runs. It was India’s first-ever Test win in South Africa.

However, India couldn’t hold on to their 1-0 advantage and lost the next two Tests by 174 runs and 5 wickets respectively.

The one T20 between the two nations on this tour though was won by India. The team’s first-ever T20 international victory however, was little consolation as India once again returned empty-handed.

5. India Lose ODI Series 2-3 in SA – 2010/11


Results: Test series: 1-1; ODI series: 3-2 (SA); Only T20I winner: India

This tour of South Africa, to date, saw the best performance by an Indian team.

It however started in a similar manner to the many before it. India lost the first Test by an innings and 87 runs. The only highlight of the game was that Sachin Tendulkar notched his 50th Test century during the match.

Things quickly turned around in the next game when Zaheer Khan and company bowled out South Africa for 131 and 215 runs in the first and second innings. Zaheer picked up 7 wickets for 92 runs.

India kept up the good work in the third and final Test, securing a draw without much trouble. The series was drawn 1-1.

In the ODI series, India were 2-1 up after the third game with some close victories. A 1-run win and a 2-wicket victory in the second and third ODIs saw India take the momentum. Thereafter though India fizzled out, losing the series 2-3.

India won the only T20 by 21 runs.

6. Kohli’s First Test Hundred in SA – 2013/14


Results: Test series: 1-0 (SA); ODI series: 2-0 (SA)

India started their tour with two big losses in the first two ODIs of the three-match series, by 141 and 134 runs respectively. The batting line-up failed to stand up to the South Africans. The third ODI, fortunately for India, was washed out after South Africa’s first innings.

Virat Kohli set the tone for the Indians in the Test series, when he scored 119 runs off 181 balls in his first Test innings in South Africa. In the second innings, it was Cheteshwar Pujara, who stood up with an innings of 153 runs, leaving South Africa to chase a target of 458 runs.

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers took the Proteas close to the total, but once both of them were dismissed, the South Africans played for a draw.

South Africa sealed the Test series 1-0 after winning the second Test by 10 wickets.

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