The Bounce
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ICC rate the Newlands pitch: Poor.


The first test in the Freedom Series between South Africa and India took place in Newlands, coming to a thrilling end on day 4. South Africa the victors in a lively encounter that offered something for the seamers from start to finish.

But was the pitch a fair one? 


Winning the toss and electing to bat, the hosts were in a spot of bother early on at 12/3 as the Indian seamers took advantage of favourable new ball conditions.

Virat Kohli celebrated wildly as his team took early control, but then AB de Villiers and Faf Du Plessis put on a stand of 114 runs to return the contest to a level platform. This angered Kohli very much.

Both batsmen departed shortly after though, swaying the match back in India's favour much to Kohli's delight. Then in the 3rd session the visitors managed to dismiss the Proteas for 286.

Confident that they could end the first day ahead, the Indians were horrified to find the pitch was just as bouncey and difficult to bat on than it was earlier for their opposition. Kohli was livid when a ball from Morkel rose sharply on a good length to leave him 195 runs short of a well deserved double hundred. 3 wickets down, it was South Africa's day first up.

As the conditions were still tough for batting on day 2, Sharma and Pujara had to try and see off the early overs. The former in particular could not swing randomly at the ball like he does at home, something that restricted him a great deal before being dismissed for 11.

After lunch on day 2 the Indian middle order experienced a mini collapse, only to be saved by a swashbuckling 93 from Hardik Pandya. This angered Virat Kohli as he made it look easy at times, taking the game to the bowlers. Many suggested this is how the captain should have played. Nobody tells the captain how to play!

Pandya's efforts could only take India to 209 all out, and when the day closed on 65/2, the Proteas had an already handy lead on a pitch that would become more and more difficult to score on.

The pitch could then not be played on for all of 3 days. Rain, during a drought. Simply not good enough.


Day 4 and India's seamers again got off to a great start. Hashim Amla fell early with the score on 66, then the wickets kept falling until the Proteas were all out for 130. Kohli was celebrating wildly at this point, and felt his team could easily chase down the 208 needed for victory on a pitch that would get significantly easier to bat on in the sun.

The 8th and 9th overs saw the chase get compromised however, again placing Kohli in a position where he needed to perform for his team. He stuck around for 40 uncomfortable balls, but was gone again without adding anything substantial to the cause.

The pitch had given him hope all day, but now had come back to bite him as Philander trapped him LBW. Out to the naked eye, Kohli nevertheless reviewed to see if DRS could do the right thing and find him not out. Not to be, DRS failed miserably here too.

With Kohli gone, the Indians slowly stumbled to a crushing 72 run defeat within three days of play.


The pitch exposed the Indian batsmen's inability against pace and bounce. It gave them false hope that they were in the game at times, and ultimately only allowed Virat Kohli to score 33 runs in the match. It was too favourable to the home team and thus of a general poor quality.

C+ (Poor)

Final comment:

As flights are expensive this time of year, the ICC asked Ravi Shastri to compile the pitch report, to which he had this to say:

"This pitch was certainly not what the doctor ordered. Of all the pitches chosen for this series, the Newlands track was not meant to see the ball come through like a tracer bullet. The Indian captain Virat Kohli had just got married, and this was a very unfair reception for him and his team. The ICC ranking points for the Test should ultimately be shared, as it is clear that the South Africans had prepared this pitch for there to only be one winner. Them."


We now move on to Centurion and the Wanderers for the 2nd and 3rd Tests in the series.

This is obviously a parody.

Tags: sa vs india, freedom tropy, newlands cricket pitch, sa vs india cricket, ravi shastri, virat kohli


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