Not just the good batting pitch, India’s butter-fingered fielders and wayward bowlers were equally responsible for South Africa posting 438
Three centurions (Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plesis and AB de Villiers) in one innings meant South Africa's batting machinery is in peak condition. It also meant that the pitch was a good batting surface — as reported by mid-day — quoting a Wankhede Stadium ground staff member on Friday.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right) speaks with Virat Kohli during the fifth ODI against South Africa at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/AFP
Indeed, the fifth and final one-day international between India and South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium was a run feast at least in the first half of the game.
The South African batsmen dominated the proceedings and no credit can be too high for the trio especially De Villiers, who has become monstrous for bowlers the world over.
That Kookaburra bat continues to be a weapon of absolute destruction. However, 438 runs in 50 overs also indicated that India's bowling and fielding was not up to the mark.
Bowling stump-to-stump on a good length is an ideal bowling strategy. However, the Indian bowlers seemed to forget this ideology.
Throughout the innings, the Indian bowlers pitched it either outside off-stump or on leg-stump. Also, they bowled too short.
While India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni used seven bowlers including Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli, it is hard to understand why not a single bowler bowled yorkers.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was the most unlucky bowler of the day. Though Mishra too bowled short, he is the only bowler who forced the South African batsmen to commit mistakes. Mishra almost got Quinton de Kock on 58, but Mohit Sharma dropped him at mid-off.
Rub of the green
Mishra continued to be the most accurate of Indian bowlers and Faf du Plesis nearly departed at 45 when Ajinkya Rahane, otherwise an outstanding catcher, dropped one at short mid-wicket off the leg-spinner.
Mishra himself faltered in the field when he dropped a straight catch off Harbhajan Singh when Faf du Plessis was 15 runs short of his century.
AB de Villiers too enjoyed the rub of the green when he was dropped by Rohit Sharma on the extra cover boundary off Mishra when the South African skipper was on 80.
Farhaan Behardien was the last South African batsman to benefit from India's poor work in the field — dropped by Suresh Raina off Mishra, whose figures of 10-0-78-0 does not reveal how unlucky he was.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar who depends on his line, length and swing was unable to find his rhythm in his 10 overs.
He gave away 31 runs in his first spell of four overs, he ended up with one for 106. Only Australian pacer Mick Lewis has conceded more runs in a 10-over spell in one-day cricket than the India pacer.
Lewis had figures of 10-0-113-0 against South Africa in at the Wanderers Stadium at Johannesburg in 2006. Mohit Sharma whom skipper Dhoni showed a lot of faith in, was hammered for 84 runs in seven overs.
Harbhajan Singh, who gave away only 36 runs in his first seven overs and ended up with one for 70 runs in 10, didn't too badly.
Though in the evening of his career, he showed that his recall to the ODI team was justified.
South Africa's total against India in the fifth and final ODI yesterday is the highest total by any team in the sub-continent
1 for 106
Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar registered the second-most expensive bowling figures in ODIs yesterday
Number of ODI centuries scored by Quinton de Kock against India
Number of ODI centuries South Africa's AB de Villiers has scored when coming in to bat after the 25th over
The 214-run defeat yesterday was India's worst on home soil in ODIs