Proteas Bavuma

Temba Bavuma during the third Test. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Proteas beat India at Newlands to clinch Freedom Trophy Series

The Proteas beat India by seven wickets at Newlands in Cape Town to secure a 2-1 Test series win over the tourists.

Proteas Bavuma

Temba Bavuma during the third Test. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The Proteas worked their way to a seven wicket victory over India at Newlands with an assured chase of a target of 223.

Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen calmed any early nerves by very nearly batting through the morning session.

Proteas beat India at Newlands

Petersen went to his third Test half-century and would add 54 runs for the third wicket with Van der Dussen, who set out his stall to occupy the crease.

Shardul Thakur eventually drew a false stroke out of Petersen, who chopped on 18 runs short of a maiden Test century.

Once again any nerves the Proteas might have felt at the fall of a wicket were soon assuaged with a steady tick of runs when Temba Bavuma joined van der Dussen.

The pair ensured the Proteas strung together three consecutive fifty partnerships that made short.

Bavuma stroked the winning runs with a boundary ensuring the Proteas finished the series in imperious fashion and clinched a 2-1 series win.

For India the finest of margins have denied them a first Test series win in South Africa, and at times emotion has got the better of Virat Kohli and company. It is only the fourth time that India have lost a Test series after claiming the opener.

The Proteas showed a willingness to keep scrapping and never allowed India to stay on top of them.

Petersen and Marco Jansen have been the finds of the season and South African cricket fans should take heart from seeing two youngsters put in impactful performances in the game’s ultimate format.

The Man of the Match and Series awards went to Keegan Petersen for his dual half-centuries.

Quinton de Kock’s Test retirement after the Boxing Day Test has been mostly forgotten as the team rallied to win the series without him.

Elgar lauds character

Speaking after the match, skipper Dean Elgar lauded the Proteas character: “The guys responded brilliantly. After the first loss, had a lot of hope knowing we can still win this. Asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly. Extremely happy. Challenging your players within the group, need character to stand up.

“The way our bowling unit delivered throughout the series is brilliant. I threw down the challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly. Got a young, talented group. Every day in this environment, we’re gaining this experience. Unreal to see how a group that doesn’t have the repertoire or names can gel together as one. Extremely proud of this group. If you want to operate at a high performance level, have to have tough chats.

“If guys don’t like it, it’s up to them to deal with. I’ve got old-school mentality with new-school twist. Laid down challenges to senior players as well, great to see them take it on board and deliver. Would like to think I gave us the best message for us to go out and perform. Us as a close group, we’ve been hurting a little bit and it’s something for us to feed off. We played as a unit, if you can do that, if you have guys moving away, it’s challenge to pull them in. I think as a unit, we’ve grown massively over the last two Tests. I’m already thinking of the next series. Lot of positives, but in order to grow, need to curb the challenges we have”

ESPN Cricinfo