'South Africa in a solid position, thanks to out of the box thinking from AB deVilliers'.

Friday, April 04, 2022

Analysis: Bowling worries for India as deVilliers breaks records

Arun Gopalakrishnan

AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 217 broke a host of records on the second day of the Ahmedabad Test match. Apart from bettering his own personal best in First Class cricket, de Villiers’ innings also broke the record for the highest score by a South African against India, and became the highest by a player for a visiting team at Ahmedabad. 

Further, his partnership of 256 runs with Jacques Kallis became the best 5th wicket partnership at Ahmedabad, and the best 5th wicket partnership for South Africa against India.

With a subdued Jaques Kallis holding fort at one end, de Villiers took it upon him to unsettle the Indian bowlers and create scoring opportunities on his own. He would generally charge down the track to the Indian spinners at the first possible opportunity and upset their rhythm straightaway. By doing that, he made sure the spinners always bowled short of a length; he conveniently stayed on the backfoot and worked the ball across to the onside – this modus operandi earned him 73 runs off the two Indian spinners.

De Villiers' Wagon Wheel vs. Kumble
        De Villiers’ Wagon Wheel vs. Harbhajan 

Thirdman – 00 Fine Leg – 01   Thirdman – 09 Fine Leg – 04
Point – 01 Square Leg – 08   Point – 03 Square Leg – 17
Cover – 13 Mid Wicket – 10   Cover – 14 Mid Wicket – 13
Long Off - 01 Long On – 08   Long Off – 03 Long On – 12
Total – 15 Total - 27   Total – 29 Total - 46

It was this brand of attacking cricket that ensured that there was a consistent flow of runs, and never a dull period of play during the day. Such was De Villiers’ dominance that he outscored his partners in all the partnerships he was involved in.

Worrying times for India 

While the lack of sting in the bowling attack should in itself be a concern for the Indian team management, what should be more worrying is their captain Kumble has looked the least menacing. In home conditions, Kumble has often known to win matches single handedly – but in the last two Tests, the South African batsmen have seen off Kumble without much trouble.

Wickets Runs Partnership between De Villiers’ contribution
5 256 De Villiers & Kallis 133 (53%)
6 66 De Villiers & Boucher 40 (66%)
7 13 De Villiers & Morkel 12 (92%)
8 42* De Villiers & Harris 32 (78%)

Kumble has so far bowled 33 overs in the match, and has only managed to induce an edge or go past the bat on 28 occasions – numbers India’s leading wicket taker in Tests won’t be too happy about.