After ending India's 22-year wait of a series win in Sri Lanka earlier this year, Virat Kohli added another feather to his cap when India ended South Africa's nine-year unbeaten overseas run with a thumping 124-run win in Nagpur. While the Proteas batsmen were seen dancing to the tunes of the Indian spinners, here are few other reasons that led to India's triumph:
Rare failure of Hashim Amla: Since the start of the series, Amla, who has a knack of hitting centuries at will, has looked a mere shadow of himself on Indian soil. After a forgettable show in limited-overs cricket, the classy right-hander was expected to find his rhythm back in whites. However, his dismal run continued. For the record, he is yet to score a half-century on this tour. How bad has been his form, can be ascertained from the fact that the 32-year-old has reached double digits, on just two occasions in the last five innings. He has had a terrific outing in India in the past and his poor form was one of the lowlights of Proteas' debacle.
Lack of experienced players: While the Proteas were a force to reckon with in overseas series in the last nine years, one should not forget that they had players like Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, two cricketers who (had) played pivotal knocks in different batting conditions across (around) the world. Kallis, in particular, was the backbone of the team and the visitors terribly missed their legendary all-rounder on the Indian tour.
Injury to key players: While the batsmen were finding it hard to combat Indian spinners, the injury to key players only added to Saffers' woes. Dale Steyn has spearheaded the South African pace attack in the last several years, and even though his speed has slowed down in the last one year, he is someone who can dismantle any batting order irrespective of the conditions. Steyn's injury, unfortunately came in a Test where his team needed him the most to keep their brilliant overseas record intact. South Africa suffered another blow when another pacer Vernon Philander was ruled out of the series with injury. The visitors were heavily dependent on their pacers to cause damage and these two injuries broke their back to a great extent.
Imran Tahir's inconsistency: Ahead of the series, legends including Sachin Tendulkar, spoke highly of the spinner and warned the Indian batsmen about the leggie's variation. However, while Indian spinners have wreaked havoc in the series so far, Tahir has failed to weave his magic. He claimed a five-wicket haul in the second innings during the third Test, but barring that performance, he has hardly made his captain's job easier. Tahir was expected to be the go-to man for Amla in the series, but his tally of 12 wickets in the series so far tell a different story.
Indian spinners' brilliance: The spin troika of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra proved to too hot to handle for the Proteas. Ashwin, in particular, is becoming a world class spinner with each passing series. The Tamil Nadu spinner has 24 wickets to his name in the series so far and even a genius batsman like AB de Villiers has looked vulnerable against him. Jadeja, after an outstanding domestic season, made a statement with the ball as the cricketing fraternity was left in awe of his ability to take wickets. While the Ashwin-Jadeja duo was the major reason behind India's triumph, Mishra too didn't disappoint his skipper and bagged key wickets whenever the ball was thrown at him.