The South African cricket team is touring India for a three-match T20I series starting on September 15 and a three-match Test series in October. This will be the ninth occasion the rainbow nation is visiting Indian shores, their first trip dating back to the fall of 1991–92.
It was a hastily arranged trip, but certainly a historic tour in South Africa’s cricketing journey, since it marked the first official international cricket series for the Proteas since their return from exile in 1970 due to the apartheid.
Manjrekar cuts loose in the first series in 1991
The first of the three-match series witnessed India somehow squeak through for a win as Allan Donald announced his arrival in world cricket. The second also went India’s way as the visitors failed to come to terms with the conditions.
Kris Srikkanth (68), Navjot Singh Sidhu (61) and Sanjay Manjrekar (52 not out) gave India a solid platform to score 223/6 in 45 overs. South Africa’s response was restricted to 185/8 in 45 overs.
Manjrekar truly brought his class to the fore in the third ODI, a day-night affair on November 14 which was played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. On a ground which had installed floodlights for Asian Games 1982, cricket was a sight to behold.
Manjrekar cut loose and scored 105 off 82 balls (eight fours and two sixes) maintaining a strike rate of 128.04. Ravi Shastri also scored a century, but was much slower- 103 off 149 deliveries at a strike rate 73.15. India posted 287/4 but South Africa chased it down with 3.2 overs to spare. It was their first win in international cricket.
Sanjay Manjrekar would go on to share the Man of the Series with South African skipper Kepler Wessels.
Dravid’s two wickets in an over in 2000
What can Rahul Dravid not do on the cricket field? ‘The Wall’ often stood tall with the bat and later would even go on to take up the role of wicketkeeper for his team. He was an equally brilliant slip fielder. But not many would know about his ability to bowl, and even take wickets.
In fact, in the first ODI between India vs South Africa at Kochi on March 9, 2000, Dravid took an unexpected 2 wickets in one over. One of them was centurion Gary Kirsten while the other was a caught and bowled to dismiss Lance Klusener, that too for a duck.
His spell of 2/43 in 9 overs was instrumental in arresting South Africa’s momentum was at one stage 235/0 in 39 overs. They were restricted to 301/3 in 50 overs and India chased it down with 2 balls to spare, Ajay Jadeja scoring a brilliant 92 of 109 balls.
Sourav Ganguly’s stylish century in 2000
The quality of the video is bad but Ganguly’s first century as the ODI captain was a stylish 105 off 139, which included 10 fours and four sixes. A well-compiled knock by the southpaw helped the Indian team chase a target of 200 with 17 balls to spare.
The match resulted in India’s first win in Jamshedpur’s Keenan stadium.
Incidentally, when India were 155/2 after 30 overs, crowd trouble forced an 18-minute break. There was no reduction in overs, and instead, the lunch interval was shortened.
Fittingly, the winning runs came off the bat of Ganguly, as he guided Cronje to the fence at backward point.
Yuvraj Singh rises to the occasion in 2005
It was the first ODI of South Africa’s tour of India at Hyderabad on November 16, 2005. Coming in at a difficult position with India reeling at 3/5, Yuvraj scored 103 off 122 balls (10 boundaries and three sixes). While India did go on to lose the match by 5 wickets, it marked a golden phase in Yuvraj’s career.
He scored three centuries in the season and all three came under pressure. He also bagged three consecutive man of the series awards in the calendar year.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 breaks world record
On 24th February 2010, Tendulkar became the first man on the planet to scale Mt 200. He was exactly 200 not out against South Africa in the record-breaking inning at Gwailor. It was the first double hundred in one-day cricket, breaking the previous highest score of 194 held jointly by Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry and Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar.
At the age of 36, Tendulkar brought up his 46th ODI century and took India to a total of 401/3 (50 overs), the 18th highest innings total in an ODI match.
What was astonishing was he faced just 147 balls, hitting 25 fours and three sixes.
India’s run-fest meant that a victory was always on the cards, but AB de Villiers chose the same day for a special knock of 114 runs from 101 balls, but that was not enough to take his side past the finish line.