If this is what the future looks like without AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, the Proteas are in for a thoroughly depressing ride.
Ottis Gibson’s troops sunk to their lowest ODI total ever at home after they were shot out for 118 and lost by nine wickets in the second of six matches against India in Centurion on Sunday.
Playing for the first time under rookie stand-in skipper Aiden Markram, the hosts simply had no answers against the leg-spin of Yuzvendra Chahal, who was simply a magician in grabbing 5/22.
He was magnificently supported by his left-armed partner Kuldeep Yadav (3/20), India’s hero from Durban as the Proteas didn’t seem to have learnt any of the lessons from Kingsmead.
South Africa had made a cautious if decent start before Hashim Amla (23) got himself in an awful position to play Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/19) to leg.
But from there on, it was the spin twins’ show.
Both Chahal and Yadav were a tad fortunate with their first wickets.
The woefully out-of-form Quinton de Kock (20) skied a long hop to midwicket when he should’ve smacked a Chahal delivery out onto the N1, while Markram (8) did exactly the same to Yadav.
Then came the awesome skill.
Chahal ended South Africa’s best partnership when he had competent debutant Khaya Zondo caught after lulling him into a slog sweep before trapping JP Duminy (25) in front with a superb, drifting delivery.
Zondo had been slow in making his 25 but he certainly didn’t look out of place, especially given how the rest failed.
Once that stand of 48 was broken, it was all downhill.
In contrast, the Proteas attack was toothless.
Kagiso Rabada delivered a superb bouncer to have Rohit Sharma caught at fine leg but South Africa’s idea of imitating India with two spinners didn’t work.
Imran Tahir was nothing more than mediocre and Tabraiz Shamsi conceded 18 runs off his three overs.
The pair of Shikhar Dhawan (51*) and captain Virat Kohli (46*) made things look terribly easy.