India vs South Africa live up to its billing - unpredictable and exciting. Everything in the last four days from the pitch, bowling and Pandya's batting had all the ingredients of a delicious curry, just that it was enjoyed more by the hosts than the visitors.
India was definitely outplayed by the South Africans. Though Indian bowlers started the game quite well but that was not enough. Even after creating pressure on the first half of Day 1, Indian pacers gave away 50-60 extra runs. A fact acknowledged by Bhunveshwar Kumar later.
Counter-attacking batting by De Villiers and Du Plessis enabled South Africa to set up a competitive 286 in their first innings.
The first innings for India was extremely disappointing after the batsmen fell without a fight, except India's new all-rounder Hardik Pandya who stood tall amid the ruins.
Pandya's invaluable 93 runs with 14 hits to the boundary and one six - it was was a stand-out performance. However, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada destroyed India's pride.
In the second innings too, Indian bowlers did their bit by holding the Proteas to 130 ensuring India had a target of 208 but this time too the batters disappointed and India surrendered the match, losing by 72 runs.
Kohli's decision of selecting Rohit Sharma ahead of Ajinkya Rahane remains questionable.
No doubt Rohit's performance in ODI and other limited over format is outstanding, but in South Africa, conditions are totally different where the pitch offers swing and bowlers hold sway.
Rohit has played 27 innings in 14 matches on foreign soil and has scored just 653 runs at an average of 25.12, on the other hand, in the matches played in India, his average is a stupendous 65.17.
Clearly, Rohit along with Virat need to come to the party if India wants to hit back in the next Test at Centurion in Gauteng next week.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL).