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India vs South Africa | From Historic 1991 Tour to the AB de Villiers Show - South Africa's ODI History in India

Indian batsman Virat Kohli (Captain) taking a run during the 1st T20I cricket match in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Christiaan Kotze)

Indian batsman Virat Kohli (Captain) taking a run during the 1st T20I cricket match in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Christiaan Kotze)

As India prepare to hos South Africa in a three-match ODI series, we take a look back at the Proteas' previous ODI series' in India.


South Africa first visited India in 1991 in what was the most historic and significant tour for the nation. It was their maiden official international series in the post-Apartheid era.

The series consisted of three ODIs and it was the first time South Africa was playing the format officially.

Sachin Tendulkar came out to bat at 3 for 2 and scored a match-winning 62 off 73 balls helping India chase down 177 in a closely fought opening encounter at the Eden Gardens. Allan Donald picked 5 wickets for the visitors.


Kris Srikkanth, Navjot Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar registered fifties to record a comfortable 38-run win in Gwalior.

Ravi Shastri and Manjrekar hit hundreds in Delhi – it was the only century of the latter’s ODI career. But a strong reply by the South African top-order (Kepler Wessels 90, Peter Kirsten 86 and Adrian Kuiper 63 off 41 deliveries) gave them a significant first win in an ODI as they chased down 287 with 8 wickets and 20 balls to spare.

Kepler Wessels with 211 runs in the three matches was the standout batsman of the series.


South Africa have won 13 of the 28 matches (and lost 15) they have played against India in India.

Overall, against all opposition in India, they have a favourable win-loss ratio having won 23 and lost 18 (one no-result) of the 42 matches they have played. Only Australia (win-loss ratio of 1.472) and Pakistan (1.368) have a better record for touring teams in ODIs in India.

Again, although, India have won 3 of the 5 bilateral ODI series (two or more matches) between the two countries at home, they have not quite dominated as indicated by the series-scoreline over the years.

South Africa have been very competitive in the Group Stages of multi-nation tournaments/series in India before choking on the big stage in the knockouts – a perennial problem with the South African team.

India won both their matches against South Africa in the five-nation Hero Cup in 1993 going on to win the tournament. The more memorable was the semi-final encounter at Eden Gardens when Tendulkar defended six of the final over conceding just three runs in the only over he bowled in the match. India were victorious by 2 runs. Mohammad Azharuddin, their skipper had rescued the innings with a fine 90 after a top-order collapse and scored 46.15% of India’s total of 195.

South Africa had the better of India in the tri-nation Titan Cup in 1996 winning all the three group stage matches before faltering in the final in Mumbai. Tendulkar top-scored for India with 67 before Ajay Jadeja gave the innings the impetus at the end with an unbeaten 43 off 42 deliveries.

Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad then ran through the top and middle order to reduce South Africa to 96 for 7 before Dave Richardson and Pat Symcox came together and put together 88 for the eighth-wicket almost pulling off a miraculous win. But India’s two bowling heroes of the day returned to bowl out the visitors for 185 handing India a 35-run win and the trophy.

The 2000 series was highly competitive with 4 of the 5 matches going down to the wire. The middle-order duo of Jadeja-Robin Singh stitched together a 92-run sixth-wicket stand to help India chase down 301 at Kochi.

Gary Kirsten (93) and Hansie Cronje (66) scripted a two-wicket win at Faridabad to keep South Africa alive in the series but a Tendulkar masterclass (122 off 138 deliveries) helped India chase down 282 at Vadodara and with that seal the series.

Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly was the leading run-getter of the series with 285 runs in 5 matches at a strike rate of 90.18.


Yuvraj Singh and Graeme Smith were the stars with the bat in the 2005 series which ended 2-2. A brilliant hundred (from 5 for 3) by Yuvraj was not enough as South Africa took the series lead in Hyderabad.

Irfan Pathan’s opening spell in Bengaluru, in which he saw the back of AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, pretty much sealed the game for India. A fine bowling performance followed by Smith’s smashing unbeaten 134 gave South Africa a thumping ten-wicket win in Kolkata before Rahul Dravid levelled the series anchoring a 221-run chase in Mumbai.


India won a humdinger in the series opener in Jaipur in 2010 by a solitary run. But no one could imagine what was in store in Gwalior.

Tendulkar became the first male batsman in ODI cricket history to register a double hundred. His unbeaten 200 off 147 deliveries helped India amass a colossal 401 for 3 – India have only surpassed 400 on five occasions in ODI cricket. The innings included a century of boundaries (25 fours). India thrashed South Africa by 153 runs.

Such was the ecstasy around Tendulkar’s milestone achievement that AB’s hundred, a brilliant innings although in a lost cause, went in vain.

But it marked the beginning of his greatness in India.


AB went on to score two hundreds in the 2011 World Cup. He was South Africa’s leading run-scorer in the tournament with 353 runs in 5 matches at an average of 88.25 and strike rate of 108.28.

But the team again choked when it mattered the most. After winning 5 of their 6 group stage matches, including a three-wicket chase (of 296) against India at Nagpur (Steyn bagged 5 wickets), South Africa went down to New Zealand in the Quarter-Final at Dhaka.

However, AB by now had mastered the subcontinent conditions. He went on to register three more hundreds when South Africa toured India next in 2015.


104 off 73 deliveries in Kanpur, 112 off 107 in Chennai (albeit in a losing cause) and last but not the least a stunning 119 off just 61 deliveries in the series-decider in Mumbai helping South Africa to 438 for 4 – which remains the joint fifth-highest team total in ODI history – this was AB de Villiers in 2015 in India, helping South Africa to their only ODI series win in India till date.

AB’s strike rate of 195.08 makes his knock in Mumbai the second fastest 100-plus innings in India.

India’s 214-run loss in the decider remains their second-worst defeat (in terms of runs) in ODI cricket.

Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock also aggregated above 300 runs for South Africa in the series.

Kagiso Rabada and Steyn were the leading wicket-takers with 10 wickets each.