There was a lot of positivity about Virat Kohli's Team India ahead of their ongoing tour to South Africa. After decimating top teams over the last two years in subcontinent conditions, the world number one Test side was expected to clinch an unprecedented series win in the "Rainbow Nation".
Kohli had sounded optimistic, Ravi Shastri had oozed confidence. The latter, who took over from Anil Kumble as Indian coach last year, even seemed to take a dig at former Indian players who have toured abroad when he said: "We [Kohli and Co] play to win. We don't go there to do time-pass."
However, all the hopes of a revival of overseas fortunes under Kohli and Shastri were dashed as the Asian giants conceded an unassailable 2-0 lead to the hosts in the ongoing three-match Test series.
Let down by insipid batting shows, the visitors lost the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs and the second in Centurion by 135 runs.
India to suffer unprecedented series whitewash?
As India prepare to face another trial by pace in the third Test, starting Wednesday (January 24) in Johannesburg, captain Kohli stares at an unwanted record as he is in line to become the first Indian captain to lose all matches of a Test series in South Africa.
Notably, no other Indian team has been whitewashed in the past by the Proteas. A Sachin Tendulkar-led team came close to losing all the matches of a three-Test rubber on their 1996/97 tour but a special ton from Rahul Dravid in Johannesburg helped India secure a draw and avoid the 3-0 scoreline.
Also, Deep Dasgupta and Dravid had helped a Sourav Ganguly-led Indian side avoid a whitewash during their 2001 tour to South Africa. The duo batted India out of trouble on the fifth day of the second and final Test in Port Elizabeth.
Kohli, though, would be determined to avoid an unprecedented whitewash in South Africa. The visitors are reportedly looking to bolster their batting unit by adding vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to the playing XI for the third Test.
India will also be tempted to go in with an all-pace attack in what is expected to be a pace-rich Wanderers track. However, the team management is likely to consider R Ashwin's ability to contribute with the bat before taking a call on the playing XI.
India in South Africa so far (Test series results)
|1992/93||Mohammad Azharuddin||1-0 defeat in a 4-match series|
|1996/97||Sachin Tendulkar||2-0 defeat in a 3-match series|
|2001/02||Sourav Ganguly||1-0 defeat in a 2-match series|
|2006/07||Rahul Dravid||2-1 defeat in a 3-match series|
|2010/11||MS Dhoni||1-1 draw|
|2013||MS Dhoni||1-0 defeat in a 2-match series|