Ajinkya Rahane feels India could have defeated South Africa in the Test series as well. India lost the Tests 2-1 but bounced back in style to win the limited-overs series.
Before the Test series against the Proteas, India had not lost a series under Virat Kohli; winning a record nine consecutive ones including the 3-0 win over the hosts at home in 2015.
But all the past performances counted for little against Faf du Plessis & Co., as India got outplayed in the first two games. In the first Test, they lost the match by 72 runs while chasing 208 while in the second game they were all out for just 151 while chasing 287.
However, India did not look back since losing the second Test. They went on to win the third inconsequential Test in Johannesburg and carried the same momentum in ODIs.
With Virat Kohli in red-hot form, the Men in Blue thrashed the Proteas 5-1 in ODIs. It was India’s first bilateral series win in the rainbow nation. The Men in Blue then went on to win the T20I series 2-1 to cap off the tour in style.
The performance in the limited-overs series has made many believe India could have won the Test series also and Rahane is not an exception either. The Test vice-captain said good partnerships in the Tests would have changed the course of the game.
“What I can say as vice-captain is yes, we played really well; we could have won the Test series. Our bowlers were excellent in those conditions and taking 60 wickets is no mean feat. We must also not forget that South Africa played better cricket, especially in Tests. They didn’t let our batsmen settle down. If we had a good partnership in the first two Tests, we could have won the series. Had we won in all three formats, our tour would have been complete,” he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Rahane further said how he felt after being recalled into the playing eleven for the third Test.
Despite being one of the best overseas performers, Rahane warmed the bench in the first two games.
However, after being recalled, he proved his worth with a dodgy 48-run knock in the second innings on a tough Wanderers pitch.
“When I got to know I was going to play, the only thing I was thinking was how to contribute. I wasn’t thinking about myself. It was an opportunity for me to become a hero. I was sitting alone in the dressing room, visualizing about my batting and shot selection. That really helped me. It motivated me to do well because I was really hungry and determined. I was waiting for my opportunity. I was very sure about my plan, my ability, and I was really confident,” he said.