The India vs South Africa rivalry is one of the most captivating contests in Test cricket.
India and South Africa played their first Test match against each other in November 1992. Led by captain Mohammad Azharuddin, the Indian cricket team first toured South Africa for a four-match series. The hosts were captained by Kepler Wessels. South Africa clinched the four-match Test series 1-0.
In November 1996, the Hansie Cronje-led South Africa cricket team travelled to India for their first Test series. Under the leadership of Sachin Tendulkar, the hosts bagged the three-match Test series 2-1.
Since then, India and South Africa have faced each other in 43 Tests so far. The Proteas have won 18 of those Tests, while India have secured 15 victories. As many as 10 matches have ended in draws.
Both sides have registered numerous records during their epic battles in cricket’s longest format and here we take a closer look at some of those India vs South Africa Test records and stats.
India vs South Africa Test records and stats
Highest team total
The Indian cricket team holds the record for the highest team total in India vs South Africa Tests. During the second Test of South Africa’s tour of India in 2010, the hosts recorded a massive total of 643/6d in their first innings at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
After bowling out South Africa for 296 in their first innings, the MS Dhoni-led India rode on centuries from Virender Sehwag (165), VVS Laxman (143 not out), MS Dhoni (132 not out) and Sachin Tendulkar (106) to post a mammoth total on the board. India then bowled out the visitors for 290 in the second innings to win the Test by an innings and 57 runs.
Lowest team total
The South Africa cricket team registered the lowest team total in this Test fixture. The Dean Elgar-led hosts were bowled out for 55 during the first innings of the second Test against India in Cape Town in 2024. Electing to bat first, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals to record their lowest-ever Test total against India. Wicketkeeper-batter Kyle Verreynne was the top-scorer for the Proteas with 15. For India, pacer Mohammed Siraj was the wrecker-in-chief, having bagged six wickets for just 15 runs.
Legendary batter Sachin Tendulkar has scored the most runs in India vs South Africa Tests. Between 1992 and 2011, the right-handed batter amassed 1,741 runs in 25 matches at an average of 42.46.
Tendulkar slammed seven hundreds and five fifties versus South Africa in his illustrious Test career. His highest score of 169 against the Proteas came during the second Test in Cape Town in 1997. Meanwhile, Jacques Kallis is the highest run-scorer for South Africa, having scored 1,734 runs in 18 Tests at an average of 69.36 against India.
Former India captain Anil Kumble has picked up the most wickets in this Test fixture. The former leg spinner bagged 84 wickets in 21 matches at an average of 31.79 against South Africa between 1992 and 2008.
Kumble scalped three four-wicket hauls and as many fifers against the Proteas in Test cricket. For South Africa, Dale Steyn is the top wicket-taker in this fixture with 66 wickets in just 14 Tests at an average of 21.53.
Highest individual score
Former swashbuckling opening batter Virender Sehwag holds the record for the highest individual score in India vs South Africa Tests. Sehwag scored 319 off just 304 balls during the first Test of South Africa’s tour of India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in 2008.
Sehwag’s triple ton was laced with 42 fours and five sixes. The knock helped India post 627 in their first innings after bowling out the Proteas for 540. While South Africa scored 331/5d in their second innings, the match ended in a draw.
Best bowling figures
Lance Klusener registered the best bowling figures in an innings in India vs South Africa Tests. The former all-rounder finished with figures of 8/64 during the fourth innings of the second Test of South Africa’s tour of India in 1996. Klusener’s sensational spell powered South Africa to a 329-run victory at the Eden Gardens.
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin holds the record for the best bowling figures in a Test match in this fixture. The India off-spinner scalped 12 wickets in the Nagpur Test during South Africa’s tour of India in 2015. India won the third Test of the series by 124 runs.
Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis hold the record for the highest partnership in India vs South Africa Tests. The South African duo stitched a 340-run stand for the third wicket against India in their first innings of the Nagpur Test in 2010.
Hashim Amla remained unbeaten on 253 while Jacques Kallis was dismissed for 173. The incredible partnership helped South Africa post 558/6d in their first innings. India were bowled out for 233 and 319 in their two innings as they lost the Test by an innings and six runs.
Photo credit: Alamy