If the Proteas are to make a match of the fourth Test starting on Thursday in New Delhi, much will however depend on how they handle Ravichandran Ashwin. His name has instilled fear in the minds of the young South African batsmen.
With 24 wickets in the three Tests, the visitors simply have not found a way to counter the off-spinner.
Just two days before the final Test in Delhi, South Africa’s assistant coach Adrian Birrell said: “Ashwin has been the difference between the two sides. He bowls tight lines, and doesn’t give away bad balls. It’s difficult to score runs off him. At the moment, he is on top of his game.”
Birrell’s comments does not come as a surprise. More so because the core of his team, consisting of Dane Vilas, Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl, and Faf du Plessis are all featuring in their first tours to India. Hence, countering the bowler of the calibre of Ashwin on such tracks will indeed be an uphill ask. The deputy coach admits his side was “outplayed” by a better home side.
“Every team wants to win a Test series at home and India are no different. They have outplayed us…having said that we will remain positive and look to come back strongly in the final Test,” he adds.
With much at stake, there is still doubts lingering over Dale Steyn’s availability. South Africa remain hopeful he will return to full fitness. The 32-year-old has not bowled since the Mohali Test when he suffered a groin injury. The premier fast bowler will undergo another fitness test on Wednesday.
The South Africans are keeping their fingers crossed.