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Why could not India win the test series in South Africa?

By Ravi - December 26, 2023 - Last updated on Dec 26, 2023 01:43 PM
Why could not India win the test series in South Africa?

Why could not India win the test series in South Africa?

Team India's last and most difficult series on the South Africa tour is going to start tomorrow i.e. from 26th December. The first match of the 2-Test series between the two teams will be played in Centurion. Team India has not been able to win even a single Test series in South Africa so far and this series is very important to reach the WTC final.

Team India played 8 series in South Africa, India lost the first 4 series in a one-sided manner. For the first time in 2010, the series was a draw and from 2013 to 2021, Team India came close to winning the series thrice, but lost in all three.

India won series in every country, only South Africa was left.

When India started playing cricket in 1932, the team was very weak. Teams used to lose in every country, but after winning the 1983 World Cup, the world recognized India. After this year, India started the process of winning Test series abroad also. The team won Test series in England, New Zealand, West Indies and all the countries of Asia. India has got success twice in Australia, but the team has not been able to win the series in South Africa till date.

India could not win the series due to batting, but in South Africa, two great Indian legends Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have scored 7 centuries together. The average of both is also more than 45. Statistics show that the South African team was much better than India.

1. India played 4 test series from 1992 to 2009

On 13 November 1992, India played a Test in South Africa for the first time. Under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin, India lost the 4-Test series 1-0. 3 matches were drawn. In 1996, under the captaincy of Sachin Tendulkar, Team India lost the 3-Test series 2-1. In 2001, India came under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly, but the result remained the same, the team lost the 2-Test series 1-0.


In 9 years, India played 9 Tests and did not win even a single one. The team lost 4 tests, while 5 matches were drawn. Then under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, India played a 3 test match series in 2006. India won the first test by 8 wickets due to the sharp bowling of S. Sreesanth, but the team lost the remaining 2 tests and lost the series. That is, for 17 years from 1992, India played 12 Tests, the team won only one and lost all four series.

Why did you lose?

  • Out of the 6 Tests that India lost, twice the team lost by more than 280 runs and twice the team lost by 9 wickets. That means India got a one-sided defeat. The team also lost the remaining 2 tests by a margin of 174 runs and 5 wickets, which means South Africa dominated the series for most of the time.
  • 13 South African batsmen scored at an average of more than 35, while only 5 batsmen from India could maintain an average of more than 35. In these too, Sachin Tendulkar was the backbone of Indian batting in most of the series, while the rest of the batsmen were flops.
  • In 12 Test matches, South African bowlers were taking wickets for just 25 runs, while Indian bowlers were giving 35 runs for one wicket. That means India proved weak in both batting and bowling departments.

2. From 2010 to 2014, India won one out of four Tests, one series was drawn.

By 2009, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had taken command of Team India in all three formats. In 2010, he faced a big test in the form of the South Africa tour. In the very first test, India was all out for 136 runs. Sachin scored the 50th Test century of his career in the second innings, but the team lost by an innings and 25 runs. India made a comeback in the second test and won the close match by 87 runs. The third Test was drawn and India did not suffer a series defeat for the first time in South Africa, with the series being drawn 1–1.


In 2013, Team India once again came to play the Test series under the captaincy of Dhoni. India set a target of 458 runs in the first match of the 2 test match series. It seemed that the team would win, but South Africa scored 450 runs for 7 wickets on the 5th day and the match was drawn. Kohli played innings of 119 and 96 runs. In the second test, India suffered a humiliating defeat by 10 wickets and the team lost the test series 1-0.

Why did you lose?

  • Six batsmen of Team India scored runs at an average of more than 40. During this period, only 8 South African batsmen could maintain an average of more than 40. However, the South African team was losing one wicket after scoring runs at an average of 40. Runs, while India was losing one wicket for 28 runs.
  • In 5 Test matches from 2010 to 2014, South African bowlers took 89 wickets, while Indian bowlers could take only 66 wickets. Indian bowlers were giving an average of 44 runs for taking one wicket, while South African bowlers were taking wickets for taking only 30 runs.
  • Under the captaincy of Dhoni, the performance of the batsmen was excellent, but the bowlers disappointed. This was the reason why India could not change the result even after coming close to winning the series in South Africa.

3. From 2015 to 2022, India won 2 out of 6 Tests, came close to winning the series.

In 2014, Virat Kohli took command of Team India, who later proved to be India's best Test captain. Under his captaincy, India drew a series in England, won 2 Test series in Australia and did not lose a single series in Asia, but even Kohli could not help India win the Test series in South Africa. However, it was only under his captaincy that the team could come close to winning the series.


In 2018, under the captaincy of Kohli, Team India reached South Africa for the first time. The team won the ODI series 5-1 and the T-20 series 2-1, but lost the Test series 1-2. India lost the first two Tests by margins of 72 and 135 runs, both times the team came close to victory, but faced defeat. India won the last test by 63 runs.

Why did you lose?

  • Between 2015 and 2022, Team India challenged South Africa the most. The average of 6-6 batsmen of both him and India was more than 24. South Africa lost one wicket for every 23 runs scored, while India gave an average of one wicket for every 20 runs scored. The batsmen of both the teams performed poorly, but India's batting looked much weaker than the previous series. Apart from Kohli, other batsmen could not perform anything special.
  • 5 bowlers each from South Africa and India took more than 10 wickets during this period. Indian bowlers took 103 wickets, while South African bowlers took 117 wickets. This means that even in bowling, both the teams were almost on par.
  • Kohli was removed from ODI captaincy before the South Africa tour. After the Test series, Kohli also left the Test captaincy. Due to the change in captaincy, Captain Kohli could not take command with a free mindset. The result was that despite being better than South Africa in the batting-bowling department, Team India had to lose the series. Why Kohli left the Test captaincy then has not been revealed till date.

Rohit captained only 3 tests abroad

Till 2006, the Indian captain could not even take the team close to winning the series in South Africa. In 2010, Dhoni became the captain to draw the only series in South Africa. Till 2022, Kohli remained the only Indian captain to win 2 Tests in South Africa. Under his captaincy, India came close to winning the series twice, but could not win.

ind vs sa

Now Team India will play a 2-Test series under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. Rohit has captained India in only 9 Test matches so far and in the name of abroad, he has experience of Test captaincy only in West Indies. Rohit also took command of the team in the 2023 World Test Championship final.

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