Test matches between India and South Africa have produced some incredible contests over the years, with big names from both sides coming up with some memorable performances. Virender Sehwag has slammed a triple hundred, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis have notched up double centuries, and Herschelle Gibbs narrowly missed out on one.
Even if we look at the Visakhapatnam Test, Rohit Sharma has got a hundred in each innings in his very first effort as Test opener -- a new record. Further, Mayank Agarwal converted his maiden hundred into a double century.
For South Africa as well, opener Dean Elgar and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock came up with hundreds in the first innings.
Things have, however, not been easy a lot of times for prominent batsmen from either side. That is largely due to the presence of match-winning bowlers like Dale Steyn, Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin, who have dismissed quality players cheaply more than once.
In this feature, we take a look at five renowned batsmen who have been dismissed for zero three or more times in India-South Africa Tests.
Faf du Plessis (4)
The current South African captain has not enjoyed a great run against India; he has four ducks to his name in India-SA Tests.
It all began at Mohali in 2015, when he was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja 4th ball, and then managed only 1 from 6 in the second innings, this time falling to Ashwin. In the next Test at Bengaluru, where only one day’s play was possible, Du Plessis was sent back by Ashwin third ball.
In the 4th Test of the 2015 series at Delhi, the South African batsman’s woes continued as he was caught off Jadeja again, this time second ball. Du Plessis registered his fourth duck against India in the second innings of the Cape Town Test in January 2018, caught behind off Jasprit Bumrah of his fifth delivery. This time though he had contributed 62 as captain in the first innings as South Africa won by 72 runs.
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Sourav Ganguly (4)
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was also dismissed for a duck four times in Tests against South Africa.
Ganguly’s first score of zero against the Proteas came at his home ground during the 1996 Test. It came in the second innings as India were chasing an improbable 467; Ganguly was caught behind on his fourth ball off the bowling of Lance Klusener, who ended up with 8 for 64 on debut as India crumbled to 137 all out. The Test also marked the debut of Herschelle Gibbs.
Ganguly’s second duck against the Proteas came at Durban in the Boxing Day Test of 1996 where India batted disastrously to fold up for 100 and 66. Ganguly was cleaned up by Allan Donald for a golden duck in the second innings as India succumbed to defeat by 328 runs.
A decade later, in yet another Boxing Day Test at the same venue, Ganguly got his third duck against the Proteas. He was caught by Gibbs off Makhaya Ntini, second ball in the first innings as India went on to lose the Test by 174 runs.
It was Ntini again who dismissed Ganguly for a zero in Ahmedabad Test of 2008. He clean bowled him, again second ball, as India collapsed to 76 all out. South Africa went on to win the Test by an innings and 90 runs.
Overall, Hashim Amla had an impressive record against India, with 1528 runs from 21 Tests at an average of 43.65 with as many as five hundreds. But even he was dismissed without scoring four times.
His first duck against India came at Johannesburg in the 2006 Test, which India famously won by 123 runs. Amla was one of S. Sreesanth’s victims in the fast bowler’s match-defining spell of 5 for 40. He was caught by VVS Laxman facing his 6th ball in the first innings as South Africa were all out for 84.
In the very next Test at Durban, Amla fell lbw to Sreesanth for a four-ball duck in the second innings. This was after he was trapped lbw by Zaheer Khan for 1 in the first essay. South Africa though won the Test by 174 runs.
In the Kanpur Test of 2008, Amla was out without scoring in the second innings, as Harbhajan Singh had him caught by Wasim Jaffer sixth ball. Amla had contributed 51 in the first innings but a good all-round show by India saw them win by 8 wickets.
The South African legend got another zero as South Africa looked to chase down 218 in the Mohali Test of 2015. He was cleaned up by Jadeja 6th ball. The left-arm spinner finished with 5 for 21 as India won by 108 runs.
Herschelle Gibbs (3)
The mercurial Herschelle Gibbs, who made his Test debut against India at Kolkata in 1996, also got a few blobs against them. His first duck came in the 1996 Durban Test when he was caught by Nayan Mongia off rookie David Johnson. Gibbs got a 10-ball duck even as South Africa eased to victory.
Gibbs then registered a pair in the 2006 Johannesburg Test. In the first innings, he was caught by Virender Sehwag off Khan, and in the second innings by Sachin Tendulkar, again off the same bowler. He faced only four balls each in both the innings.
Gibbs did not finish with a great record against India, averaging 32.16 despite two hundreds.
Sachin Tendulkar (3)
Just to prove that he is only human, Sachin Tendulkar also fell without scoring three times in India-South Africa Tests.
His first duck came in the 1992 Test at Port Elizabeth, which South Africa won by nine wickets. In the second innings, Tendulkar was caught behind first ball off the pace bowling of the express Brett Schultz.
Then, in the 2006 Durban Test, Tendulkar was trapped lbw by Ntini for a 7-ball zero as India managed only 179 chasing a tough 354. The master blaster also registered a duck in the same innings that Sehwag made 319, at Chennai in 2008. He was caught by Kallis off Ntini for 0 from 5 balls.
Overall though, Tendulkar had an impressive record against South Africa, with 1741 runs from 25 Tests with seven hundreds at an average of 42.46.