India and South Africa have produced some riveting cricket over the years. The marquee players from both the teams have repeatedly enthralled and bewitched cricket aficionados with their ethereal deeds on the field.
Sachin Tendulkar’s magical 155 at Bloemfontein was a classic that any connoisseur of Test cricket would appreciate. In a masterclass that lasted 198 deliveries, the batting maestro flattened the South African bowling attack by blending caution with aggression.
If Tendulkar’s flair captivated the South Africans, then Jacques Kallis pummeled the Indian bowling attack into submission on his way to a magnificent 201 at Centurion. Hashim Amla sucked the life out of the Indian bowling attack at Nagpur during his 253 in 2010, and Virender Sehwag’s 319 came like a tornado that blew away Dale Steyn and Co. in the year 2008 at Chennai.
With South Africa scheduled to take on the Indian team for a three-Test series starting from 2 October, let us look at five Indian batsmen with the most runs against South Africa in Tests.
#5 Sourav Ganguly - 947 Runs
At No. 5 comes the ‘Prince of Kolkata’, Sourav Ganguly. The former Indian skipper played 17 Tests against South Africa and scored 947 runs at an average of 33.82, including 7 fifties.
Ganguly’s fighting 87 at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur will go down as the left hander’s greatest knock against the Proteas. In an innings that lasted 119 balls, Ganguly took the attack to the opposition by dismantling the likes of Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini.
This innings was also Ganguly’s last against South Africa in whites.
RECORD: Matches: 17; Innings: 31; Runs: 947; Average: 33.82; 100s: 0; 50s: 7
Also see – World Test Championship points table
#4 VVS Laxman - 976 runs
Watching VVS Laxman at his best was like watching an artist at work. His pristine cover drives through the off side and his delectable flicks past mid-wicket made him a joy to watch.
Laxman played 19 Tests against South Africa and scored 976 runs at an average of 37.54, including a hundred and six fifties.
Laxman’s sole hundred came in the year 2010 at the iconic Eden Gardens. The right-hander was at his splendid best as he scored an unbeaten 143, which enabled India to crush the visitors by an innings and 57 runs.
RECORD: Matches: 19; Innings: 31; Runs: 976; Average: 37.54; 100s: 1; 50s: 6
#3 Rahul Dravid - 1252 Runs
At No. 3 comes ‘The Wall Of Indian Cricket’, Rahul Dravid. Dravid is India’s second highest run scorer (13288) and second highest century maker (36) in Tests after the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid’s impeccable technique coupled with his monk-like concentration made him a match winner for India.
Dravid played 21 Tests for India against South Africa and scored 1252 runs at an average of 33.84, including two hundreds and five fifties. Dravid scored a classy 148 at Johannesburg to enable India to salvage a draw against South Africa in 1997.
His second hundred against the Proteas came at Chennai in 2008. Dravid’s 111 enabled India to post a mammoth 627 runs on the board in reply to South Africa’s 540 in the first innings, and thus earn a comfortable draw.
RECORD: Matches: 21; Innings: 40; Runs: 1252; Average: 33.84; 100s: 2; 50s: 5
#2 Virender Sehwag - 1306 Runs
At No. 2 comes arguably the most destructive opener India has ever produced in Test cricket, Virender Sehwag. Sehwag’s fearless approach coupled with his incredible hand eye co-ordination made him a nightmare for the opposition.
‘The Nawab of Najafgarh’ played 15 Tests against South Africa and scored 1306 runs at an incredible average of 50.26, including five hundreds and two fifties. In fact, Sehwag’s Test debut was against the Proteas, and he announced his arrival in style, smashing 106 off 173 balls.
Sehwag also blasted a rollicking 319 (the highest by an Indian in Tests) against South Africa at Chennai in 2008. Till date, Sehwag is the only Indian batsman to score two triple hundreds in Test cricket.
RECORD: Matches: 15; Innings: 26; Runs: 1306; Average: 50.26; 100s: 5; 50s: 2
#1 Sachin Tendulkar - 1741 Runs
You talk of batting records, and this man’s name will surely figure in the list. Hailed as the God of cricket by his vast legion of fans, Sachin Tendulkar holds almost every major batting record in Test cricket, including that for the most runs (15921), most hundreds (51) and most fifties (68)
In an unprecedented career spanning almost a quarter of a century, Tendulkar bore the gargantuan expectations of his countrymen every time he strode out to bat. ‘The Little Master’ featured in 25 Tests against South Africa and scored 1741 runs, including seven hundreds and five fifties, at an average of 42.46.
Tendulkar scored a stunning 111 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1992 as a teenager, flattening an attack consisting of the likes of Allan Donald and Brian McMillan. His historic 50th Test hundred also came against South Africa, as he dazzled and sparkled his way to a magical 111*.
Tendulkar’s final century in Test cricket came against the Proteas too. The master batsman scored a sensational 146 at Newlands to enable India to secure a draw.
RECORD: Matches: 25; Innings: 45; Runs: 1741; Average: 42.46; 100s: 7; 50s: 5