South Africa last visited India for a tour in 2010 where, apart from the ODIs, they also featured in two Tests.
First Test at Nagpur (February 6-9, 2010): South won the toss and decided to bat first. However, they were off to a horrific start as Zaheer Khan sent back their openers, skipper Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince, very early in the piece. India were unaware of what was to follow though. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis featured in a marathon partnership, and the third wicket fell with the score approaching 350. Amla batted on and on to remain unbeaten on 253 from 473 balls with 22 fours. Kallis, on the other hand fell after making 173.
The lower order also made quick contributions as South Africa declared at 6 for 558. Zaheer was the only Indian bowler to make some sort of an impact on the South Africans, finishing with three wickets. All the others struggled in the face of the Kallis-Amla alliance, which took the fight out of the Indians. The same was evident when the hosts came out to bat.
In response to South Africa's mammoth score, 233 was all India managed. Dale Steyn ran through the Indian line-up with seven wickets. He was at his deadly best, removing Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar and the two debutants, Subramanian Badrinath and Wriddhiman Saha. Sehwag stood up to the bowling with an attacking 109, and Badrinath made an impressive debut with 56, but India fell well short of the follow-on target.
Going against the trend, Smith imposed the follow-on, and was rewarded as South Africa won by an innings and 6 runs. India made 319 runs, with Tendulkar making a hundred this time, but in vain. Steyn and Harris finished with three wickets each for the Proteas while Amla was the man of the match.
Second Test at Kolkata (February 14-18, 2010): South Africa again won the toss and batted first in the match which marked the debut of Alviro Petersen. It was a memorable debut for the opener as he smashed exactly 100. Amla continued his great form with 114, but India's spinners hit back to restrict South Africa to just under 300. Zaheer dismissed both the centurions after which Harbhajan Singh got three big wickets while AB de Villiers got run out.
India replied in emphatic fashion, making 643 for 6 before declaring. It was the master and pupil show as Sehwag smashed 165 from 174 while Tendulkar made a subdued 106, and VVS Laxman and skipper Dhoni cracked unbeaten hundreds -- making 143 and 132 not out respectively. All the South African bowlers suffered in the face of the Indian onslaught.
Amla continued to torment India with another unbeaten hundred, but India kept getting wickets from the other end to bowl out South Africa for 290, and square the series with an innings and 57-run win. The spinners delivered for India, with Harbhajan claiming five and Amit Mishra three. A number of South African batsmen got into the 20s, but did not carry on. For his stupendous batting effort, Amla was man of the match and series as well.
-- By A Cricket Analyst