On this day in 2000, a touring South African team did the unthinkable by defeating India by four wickets in the first Test in Mumbai. The visitors eventually went on to win the two-match Test series 2-0, thus ending the hosts’ sequence of 13 unbeaten home series since Pakistan won here in March 1987.
The Indian team were invincible at home, but they were coming into this series after a 0-3 whitewash in Australia. Besides their run of consecutive defeats away from home, the hosts were also grappling with skipper Sachin Tendulkar’s sudden announcement to relinquish the captaincy four days before the Test series added to their already deflated morale.
Nevertheless, Tendulkar and team began well by winning the toss and electing to bat first. That decision didn’t bode well for the home team as they folded by making just 225 on the Wankhede track that looked good for batting. The Proteas’ pacers were too hot to handle for the Indian batters, who could not back their brave skipper’s 97. I
n response, the hosts did well to restrict the visiting team to 176. Openers Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs made 50 and 47 respectively, but others failed to make good contributions.
Things looked to be going India’s way as they took a first-innings lead of 49. All they needed was a solid second innings performance, to give South Africa a run for their money. Instead, doing far worse than their first innings, India collapsed inexplicably at 113. Once again, the openers failed, the middle-order folded under pressure, while the tail-enders went out without a fight.
Chasing 163, India did manage to trouble South Africa, who were rocking at 128/6 but Gibbs’ superb 46 at the top, Jacques Kallis’ 36 not out and Mark Boucher 32-ball 27 seized the day. South Africa won the match with four wickets to spare.