It was baffling to see South Africa not go for a win, says Sunil Gavaskar

Updated: 23 December 2013 09:24 IST

Former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar is of the opinion that the tense draw between India and South Africa in Johannesburg is a good way to revitalise Test cricket.

It was baffling to see South Africa not go for a win, says Sunil Gavaskar
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While saying that the thrilling Wanderers Test was a great advertisement for Test cricket, Sunil Gavaskar is baffled why South Africa didn't go for winning runs inspite of having wickets in hand.

The first Test between India and South Africa ended in an anti-climax with South Africa 8 runs short of a world record chase. (Read: We are satisfied with a draw, says Faf du Plessis)

The home team ended on 450 for 7, needing 458 for victory. (Shocked to see South Africa didn't go for the win: Virat Kohli)

The highest successful chase in Test history is 418 by West Indies, when they beat Australia by 3 wickets at home. Interestingly, South Africa were the last team to chase down a score of more than 400 in Tests, when they stunned Australia by 414-run chase at Perth in 2008. (Read: Stats - South Africa record highest fourth innings total)

While saying that the thrilling Wanderers Test was a great advertisement for Test cricket, Sunil Gavaskar is baffled why South Africa didn't go for winning runs inspite of having wickets in hand.

The first Test between India and South Africa ended in an anti-climax with South Africa 8 runs short of a world record chase.

The home team ended on 450 for 7, needing 458 for victory.

The highest successful chase in Test history is 418 by West Indies, when they beat Australia by 3 wickets at home. Interestingly, South Africa were the last team to chase down a score of more than 400 in Tests, when they stunned Australia by 414-run chase at Perth in 2008.

"I was baffled and puzzled that why didn't they go for the win. They had three wickets in hand. They didn't make any effort even with three overs left. They left the balls alone in the third last and the penultimate over which did not make sense to be honest," Gavaskar told NDTV on Sunday night.

The Johannesburg Test was a riveting game with all three results possible going into the final day. Starting the day, the hosts needed 320 more runs to win, while the Indians needed 8 wickets to register their first win overseas after losing 8 matches on the trot.

Gavaskar said that the match was a good way to revitalize the longest format of the game.

"It is a fabulous advertisement for Test cricket. Fortunes fluctuated both ways throughout the five days. It showed why Tests are the pinnacle of cricket, being a test of your skills and temperament," he told in an exclusive chat from Johannesburg.

The former India batting great lavished praises on the visitors, who looked almost down and out after the first two sessions of play on the final day with Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers keeping South Africa on track for the record chase.

"At one stage it looked as if India is going to lose the match when De Villiers and Du Plessis were at the crease. One has to give credit to India the way they pulled things back by dismissing both the set batsmen. India need to be complemented for getting themselves out of tight situation. Although the wicket was very good to bat on Day 4 and 5, the bowlers gave their everything so I'll give full marks to the bowlers," he said.

AB de Villiers recorded his 18th hundred and once again showcased why he is such an important cog in the South African batting order. Gavaskar feels that De Villiers, along with Virat Kohli, are among the best batsmen in the world at the moment.

"De Villiers and not to forget Virat Kohli, who has been really consistent in the limited overs format this year, these two players are top of the heap as far as batting is concerned," he said.

Zaheer Khan became the second Indian fast bowler to reach 300 Test wickets after former India skipper Kapil Dev and Gavaskar feels that the left-arm seamer is one of the best bowlers that India has produced.

"He one of the canniest and craftiest bowlers to have come out of India. He knows his limitations and has made very good use of the talent that he has. This Test showed that all the hard work that he put in the off-season has worked wonders for him. He was bowling well and looked like getting a wicket every over. Full marks to him for the way he has come back and congratulations to him for joining the 300-wicket list," he said.

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