India in South Africa

Sloppy India, resurgent SA: Here are the talking points from the 4th ODI at Jo’burg

South Africa’s batsmen finally turned up and won a game for the home side but it would not have been possible without a generous dose of assistance from India.

With the series on the line, South Africa’s batsmen finally turned up and won a game for the home side but it would not have been possible without a generous dose of assistance from a sloppy India.

Shikhar Dhawan, who scored a century in his 100th ODI, and Virat Kohli set things up beautifully for the middle order, which failed to show up and crucial mistakes in the field then saw SA hammer their way to what seems like an easy victory.

Here are the big talking points from the 4th ODI:

Rohit being Rohit

Rohit Sharma’s woes in SA continued thanks to Kagiso Rabada’s brilliant caught and bowled. In 4 innings, the India opener has managed just 40 runs at an average of 10 and while that still doesn’t mean that he will be rested, it does place a huge question mark on his technique is conditions that are perfect for swing and seam. It is a worry mainly because the 2019 World Cup will be played in England and conditions usually aid swing bowlers. Rohit’s inability to even hang around has seen him play just 66 deliveries in these four innings — a far cry from how he usually operates in India where he can often start off slowly, knowing that he can catch up with the strike-rate once he gets going.

The golden partnership

While Rohit has been struggling, Kohli-Dhawan have been going from strength to strength. There are times in Test cricket when Dhawan seems to struggle with the short ball or the movement but he is a different batsman in ODIs. He has taken on the short ball with aplomb and with Virat Kohli, he has forged partnerships in each and every game. The duo put on 34 in the first ODI, an unbroken stand of 93 in the second, 140 in the third and 158 in the fourth ODI on Saturday. Kohli and Dhawan have a good rhythm to their batting and while they sometimes seem to struggle while running between the wickets (Dhawan isn’t as quick as Kohli would perhaps like him to be), the rest of it has been magical.

The Kohli six was perhaps the shot of the series. He even held the pose for good measure. Screenshot.
The Kohli six was perhaps the shot of the series. He even held the pose for good measure. Screenshot.

Out of order

Things changed after the lightning break. The ball seemed to bounce a little on the batsmen and it just looked like the SA bowlers were bowling that little bit quicker. The loss of Kohli and Dhawan didn’t help matters neither did the fact that the middle order failed to get going. Ajinkya Rahane wasted another opportunity to make the No 4 slot his own by finding a fielder in the deep despite having plenty of overs to play around with. The same is true of Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya. India reached the 200-run mark just ahead of the 35th over and from that point, they definitely needed to get a lot more than 289.

India in last ten overs:

59/3 (230/4 to 289/7)

Six fours

No sixes

26 dots

Runs scored each over: 4, 6, 3, 6, 4, 6, 3, 5, 10, 12

The AB impact

The SA innings got off to a decent enough start. Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla put on 43 before Jasprit Bumrah sent back the young skipper by trapping him LBW. A rain delay after the fall of the wicket led to a shortened game but almost immediately after resumption, Kohli pressed Kuldeep into the attack. And the left-arm wrist spinner did not disappoint. He sent back JP Duminy and Amla in quick succession. But Kohli strangely enough took Kuldeep out of the attack when AB de Villiers was there early on. The Indian skipper persisted with Chahal from one end and Pandya from the other. AB’s innings (26 off 18 balls) may not have lasted long but he showed his team-mates that once you start going after the spinners, the mind can do strange things. It forced Chahal onto the defensive for probably the first time in the series and showed the South Africans that there was a way out of this quagmire.

Sloppy India

The shortened game probably left SA with no option but to go for their shots but India helped them along with dropped catches, no-balls, wides and numerous misfields. David Miller was a prime recipient — surviving once due to a dropped catch and then due to a no-ball — and he made his chances count. Kohli chose not to be too harsh on Chahal in the post-match conference but try explaining the no-ball to Sunil Gavaskar, who simply couldn’t understand the business of spinners bowling no-balls. Kohli will hope his team get their A game back on in the next ODI because this certainly wasn’t it.

The Klaasen-Miller partnership

Despite AB’s bit hits, India were still well in control of the game when Henrik Klaasen and Miller decided it was time to go for their shots. The two lives that Miller got seemed to spur him into action. He stopped pottering around and started going for the big shots and they kept coming off. But the star of the show was Klaasen. There were some outrageous shots — like the one where he had predetermined that he would play a shot on the leg-side and went so far as to drag the ball from outside the wide line on the off-side to get four runs. It was a shot that prompted a smile even from Kohli. But the 72-run partnership between the two came off just 43 balls and changed the complexion of the game in quick time. India’s wrist spinners ended up with not very flattering bowling figures for the first time in the series.

Yuzvendra Chahal
5.3-0-68-1. ER 12.36

Kuldeep Yadav
6-0-51-2. ER 8.50

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.