There is no doubt that Indians suffer Achilles feat on bouncy tracks. It is rather surprising that in the 15 Tests that have been played in South Africa, India have scored as many as 10 centuries, but the Proteas will heave a sigh of relief as five of those have been scored by Sachin Tendulkar.
The credit of setting the tone should go to Praveen Amre, who scored a century on debut in India’s first away Test against South Africa in 1992.
Here are top-5 knock by the Indian batsmen in the Rainbow Nation.
1. 96 by VVS Laxman in Durban (2010)
For all the centuries that have been scored it is Laxman’s 96 that tops the list. No because he was the top-scorer from both the sides in the match, but because he was the only batsman to get past half-century. Such were the conditions that even the South African struggled in the conditions and this knock set up India’s second Test victory in South Africa.
What looked like a defeat was turned into a victory by one of best Indian second innings batsman. Even though he failed to score a much-deserved century, he was the top-scorer on both sides as India registered their second ever Test victory in South Africa with a 87-run victory.
2. 129 by Kapil Dev in Port Elizabeth (1992)
Known to chip in with the bat when the chips are down, Kapil waged a lone battle weathering the young and fast Allan Donald. The Indian legend walked in at 27/5 in the second innings as Donald was wrecking havoc and scored a counter attacking 129 off 180 balls.
After scoring 212 and bowling South Africa for 275 in the third match of their first ever South African tour. India were in contention until the second innings when the top-6 batsmen were dismissed for single digits. India were eventually bundled out for 215 and SA won by nine wickets. For the record, Donald finished with seven wickets in second innings and match-haul of 12.
3. 169 by Sachin Tendulkar in Cape Town (1997)
After the opposition scored 529 in the first innings and the score is 3-25, it is not a pleasant feeling when you walk in. This is what differentiates the normal human being from a genius. In a rearguard action, setting example as skipper Tendulkar put South African on the back foot with a 169 and along with Mohammad Azharuddin added 230 runs for the sixth wicket. Eventually India lost by 282 runs.
4. 148 by Rahul Dravid in Johanneburg (1997)
After being thumped by South Africa in the first two Tests and being juggled up and down in the batting order, Dravid showed why he was one of the best of his generation. He scored a patient 148 as India piled up 410 in their first innings and restricted SA to 321. In the second innings he top-scored with 81 and if it was not for a fighting unbeaten 122 by Daryl Cullinan this would have been Indian’s first Test win on South African Soil. Only two wickets stood between India and victory at the end of Day 5.
5. 146 by Sachin Tendulkar in Cape Town (2011)
In eventually what would be Sachin Tendulkar’s last match in South Africa, he signed off in style and showed why he is regarded highly. After the hosts managed to stave off trouble and score 362, Tendulkar first joined hands with Gambhir and then shared some great partnerships with the tail to help India take two-run first innings lead.
What is important is that South Africa were trying hard to stop India from levelling series in South Africa. He was the eighth man to get out and by then India had almost got closer to South Africa’s first innings total, at 341.