A series defeat in South Africa is nothing to be ashamed about. The Proteas rarely lose at home. India have never won a series in South Africa. But this team promised so much more. Virat Kohli spoke about the intent. Ravi Shastri spoke about a new-age team India. And after a batting capitulation like that, it all feels hollow. The lack of fight must rankle the most for the team.

But, credit where credit is due, South Africa was fantastic on the field. The dug it out with the bat. They were sensational with the ball. Ultimately, cricket is not played in press conference rooms. It’s played on the ground.

That’s it from us, stay tuned for post-match analysis. There’s plenty to talk about!

Data check: Even after the first Test, Kohli spoke about the need to build partnerships. And they didn’t again. The talk was talked, but while walking, this batting lineup stumbled around like a kid who just learn to walk yesterday.

Post-match comments

Virat Kohli:

“We thought the wicket was really flat. We thought we have our best chance to put up some runs on board, we had the chance to take the lead. And failed to convert those chances again. The bowlers again stuck to the guns but the batsmen have let the team down again.

The 150 means nothing right now, because we have lost the match and lost the series. Had we won the match, I’d have been happy with even a 50. We tried our best, South Africa better than us in every department, especially fielding, that’s why we lost and they are the deserving winners.”

Faf du Plessis:

Over the five days, we were pretty much on top. The fielding was sensational today. We were disappointed that we gave India a sniff at the end of day one, and wanted to change that on day two. And we did that with the tail scoring runs and the wickets we got. We showed incredible character over the last four days. Special performance by Lungi Ngidi. Amazing future that lies ahead. First and foremost, I look at the players’ personality and he’s a great guy. 

Better catch? Morne, definitely. He is going to tell us about that for the days to came.

DATA CHECK: For all the talk about this team being the new India, the dismal away record continues.

India lose the series 2-0, South Africa dominate: Kohli identified partnerships as the reason for India’s defeat after Cape Town. And if you think they worked on it, it did not show at Centurion. A terrible batting effort once again, to be completely honest and not mincing words - and this team once again proved, without Kohli, there’s not much of a fight left in this batting lineup.

Here’s some post-match reaction...

SOUTH AFRICA WIN THE MATCH BY 135 RUNS: It’s all over. Lungi Ngidi, you beauty! Wide smiles on his face and it’s wonderful to see as he gets his sixth wicket of the innings – Bumrah the man who seals the fate for India. Brilliant, brilliant bowling performance by the youngster, whose smile might go down as one of the lasting images of the series.

India 151/9 after 50 overs: 150 up! They have played 50 overs! Huzzah! Small wins for India. Ishant Sharma delaying the inevitable (and our lunch breaks), gets a four off Rabada’s over.

India 145/9 after 48.2 overs - Shami gone. WHAT A MOMENT FOR LUNGI NGIDI! He has his arms in the namaste gesture as he gets his first five-for in his first Test match. This is short of good length, Shami goes swinging again and it’s gobbled up at mid-on. India just one wicket away from being consigned to yet another series defeat.

Questions over temperament again

India 141/8 after 48 overs - ROHIT SHARMA GONE! SENSATIONAL CATCH! THIS DESERVES AN ALL-CAPS UPDATE! But we’ll contain ourselves. Goodness, South Africa’s catching and fielding has been another level this morning and it’s that man from another planet, ABdV who takes a sensational diving catch at fine leg. Rabada continues with the short ball strategy and Rohit can’t keep the pull short down this time. But if it was any other fielder, he would have survived. This is ABdV - he dives forward full length and completes a wonder catch. And runs around the ground in celebration.


India 141/7 after 47 overs: Rabada decides it is time to go short-short-short at Rohit Sharma. From around the wicket, the first two balls are well-directed by Rohit is ready for this and pulls twice for two fours – more in control of the first one than the second, which is gloved just past QdK. He then goes for a pull shot off the fifth ball again - this is hit hard and and goes flying at Amla at square leg who jumps high but can’t hold on to it. Terrific effort but a reprieve for Rohit nonetheless. Similar strategy from Morkel at the other end to Rohit. And he negotiates it. Denies a single to Shami off the last ball to take strike for what could be the last over before lunch.

After 45 overs, India 129/7: Morkel and Rabada bowling in tandem now. This is a good little partnership now. Shami throwing his bat at anything wide - smashing Rabada past point for four. He’s now batting on 24 off 20 balls. Sharma has moved on to 35. The pitch doesn’t look all that threatening with the old, soft ball and this partnership just highlights the importance of the middle order batsman batting out time.

After 41 overs, India 115/7: Ngidi keeping things tight from one end. Maharaj continues. (WHY OH WHY?) Concedes 9 runs in his over. This time Shami takes him, drilling a lofted on drive just wide of Morkel at long on. OF the fifth ball of the over the ball goes behind the stump for byes, Rohit had the chance to take a single and make sure he’s on strike next over (Let it go for four, says Faf, caught by the stump mic!) and he’s unable to take a single off the last ball to take strike against Ngidi.

Little things. IT’s the little things that have cost India dearly...

Stat alert: Rohit sealing his spot in the middle order for the next match? *winking emoji*

After 39 overs, India 104/7: 6 runs from that Ngidi over that got Ashwin’s wicket. For some reason, Maharaj continues with that bizarre Ashley-Giles-tactic from the other end. This time, Rohit Sharma decides he has had enough. Two excellent shots by The Hitman. First a sweep for four and then dances down the track and hits it over long on for six. And smartly, asks Shami to be ready for a single off the last ball, and takes it as well to retain strike.

Atfer 37.1 overs, India 87/7: Ngidi gets his fourth! Ashwin doesn’t last long. Looks like the team wants an early day and some time off. There’s no intention to bat time, bat sessions. Ashwin’s feet go nowhere and he plays a drive outside offstump, well away from his body – Ngidi’s fourth stump line works like a treat. The outside edge safely taken by QdK.

After 36 overs, India 83/6 - PANDYA GONE! “This is how he plays” Well, may be he shouldn’t. This is the worst ball that Ngidi might bowl in this match. It’s a bouncer that is wayyyyy outside the offstump and with the fly slip not in place, Pandya goes for the ramp shot - he has to reach for it though and manages just the bottom edge. Quinton de Kock takes a stunning one handed catch high above his right shoulder. South Africa’s fielding is winning this match! Ashwin comes in and gets a snorter first up - loud appeal for caught behind. Faf goes for a review but knows Ashwin didn’t glove it. Replays prove him right (or wrong, depends on how you look at it)

After 35 overs, India 83/5: I am still baffled by Maharaj coming on to bowl this early and targeting the outside-leg-stump line. Ngidi replaces Rabada at the other end and Pandya almost obliges with a thick outside edge that goes just past slips for a four - no scratch that. It’s brilliant fielding by Maharaj, who cuts it down to 2 runs, flying from the fly slip position. South Africa’s fielding has been magnificent!

After 33 overs, India 75/5: Rohit Sharma gets his third boundary, second one to the third man. And then plays a wide waft off Rabada that could have easily taken the outside edge. Interestingly, Maharaj comes on from the other end and bowls a maiden over to Rohit from over the stumps, targeting the rought. Rohit all too happy to pad it away. What was the need of that South Africa?

After 31 overs, India 70/5: Well, either way this match is not going to last longer, it looks like. Rohit Sharma plants his front foot and hits Philander over midwicket for a lofted four. There’s no doubting what the intention of Rohit and Pandya is going to be. Pandya playing the drives too, not too keen on dead-batting anything.

After 30 overs, India 65/5 - WHAT A CATCH: Parthiv Patel plays the most exquisite front foot drive past Rabada and mid on. It looked classy. It was comforting. That India are here to fight. But no, he had to go for one shot too many. Rabada bowls a well-directed bouncer and instead of ducking and letting it be, Parthiv goes for a fancy hook shot. He’s not in control, but has got the connection - but Morne Morkel pulls off an absolute blinder at deep square leg! Running to his right, sliding on the turf – the entire South African contingent is over the moon. This is ending in a hurry.

After 29 overs, India 60/4: Parthiv hits a boundary off Rabada - a crispy cover drive. Rohit hits a boundary off Philander - hangs the bat outside offstump and (guides?) edges it to third man. Good couple of overs for India after that Pujara runout.

Shastri not happy.

After 27 overs, India 51/4: It was hard enough for India without Kohli. Now they have to do without Pujara as well. It was excruciatingly close – the umpire needed plenty of replays to ensure the bail was completely out of the groove. But really, it should not have come down to that. Poor from Pujara. Rohit and Parthiv out in the middle now.

After 26.1 overs, India 49/4: OH DEAR, PUJARA! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! He’s run out for the second time in the match. Dear goodness. Parthiv runs it down to third man, think it was Ngidi who ran all the way and pulled it around before it crosses the boundary. ABD has meanwhile ran all the way from third slip and he collects the ball and sends in a bullet throw from third man. Pujara is struggling all the way, puts in a full length dive and he is caught short.

After 26 over, India 47/3: Another steady over for India. One ball keeps low to Parthiv as Rabada continues from around the wicket, but the keeper batsman keeps it out.

After 25 overs, India 44/3: Well, well. 9 nine run in 2 overs this morning after 35 runs in 23 overs yesterday. What’s the word I am looking for? Starts with an I... Philander from the other end and Pujara starts with a delicate late cut that rolls to third man for a boundary. And plays a nice looking off drive and gets off strike immediately. The last ball in that over scooted along the pitch but outside Parthiv’s leg stump.

After 24 overs, India 38/3: Oooh, Pujara survives a close one in the very first over. The ball darts back in from outside off stump, Pujara had made up his mind to leave and the ball keeps moving in, doesn’t bounce - but misses the stump. Takes a single to go off strike. Parthiv then gets a couple of the last ball with a dab to third man.

Yikes. Look away, India fans.

01:29 pm: A lengthy huddle for South Africa. A purposeful walk to the middle for Pujara and Parthiv. India resume at 35 for 3. Pujara on strike. Rabada with the ball. PLAY!

01:25 pm: Shaun Pollock with the pitch report. There is definite wear and tear on this pitch now, with cracks appearing. He says the good length are on the fourth stump channel from the pavillion end is where the action is bound to happen. That’s the end that got Ab de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Hope for oodles for luck to survive, Pollock ends his pitch report.

01:20 pm: Mohammad Shami had some interesting things to say after day four:

“I did not expect the ball would stay so low in this wicket. Till now in overseas conditions, we have not seen such slow and low bounce wickets.

So I don’t know what they were thinking when they made this wicket. But whatever it is we have to play on it and the conditions are same for both teams. Tomorrow, we will try to win.

“The wicket has been slow since the beginning, even on the first day you saw that it is going low continuously. And even today, it went slow and low and you needed a lot of extra effort. We tried to give 110-120 percent. That was more important for us.”

01:15 pm: Sunil Gavaskar’s advice for the Indian batting lineup is to bat sessions. Don’t think about surviving the day, don’t think about the target, bat for lunch, then bat for tea, then bat for close of play is his mantra. And Pujara is the man to do it, he says. Chances for India? 70-30, according to Sunny G. Sanjay Manjrekar in the studio respectfully disagrees - ‘you can’t bat for sessions on this track, it has to be next ball,’ he says, adding that this pitch is unplayable.

‘What’s it going to be?’

That’s the question for Virat Kohli and Co isn’t it? As dire as this situation seems to be, India should remember they are the No 1 side in the world. Ashish Magotra writes, looking ahead at what’s in store for India.

Do India have hope?

Not if the reaction on social media after Kohli’s dismissal is anything to go by.

All set for the final day

01:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to our live blog of the final day of the second Test between India and South Africa. India need 252 more runs or bat out three incredibly difficult sessions if they are to avoid a chastening series defeat. And they are going to have to do without their best batsman and captain’s efforts. Logic says the match is as good as over but cricket, as does sport, often defies logic. What do they say about hope, again?