South Africa head coach Mark Boucher on Friday ranked the remarkable, come-from-behind 2-1 series win against World No. 1 India as one of the best in their history of Test cricket. Trailing 0-1 after losing the Boxing Day opening Test at Centurion, the Dean Elgar-led side showed immense resilience to win back-to-back matches at the Wanderers and Newlands to upset the firm favourites.

“To put it into perspective we have lost three tosses. A lot of people, including some of the media, had written us off after day one of the first Test of the series,” Boucher said at the post-match media interaction. “So, to come back after losing the first Test badly and then to win the second Test and now win the third Test is pretty incredible. It will rank up there – in top five must be. Where we’ve come from, the on-field and off-field stuff… It’s good to get some good results.

“The way the whole Test series was played was hard fought, some good cricket, it must be up there with some of the best Test series to have played in South Africa.”

‘Will take a lot of confidence from this triumph’

Going into the series, the hosts were short on experience as they played their first Test in six months at Centurion. They played just six Tests under new captain Elgar as Australia opted not to travel for a four-match series last March.

Elgar started his journey with a 2-0 win over the West Indies before losing to India in the Boxing Day Test. “It’s certainly something that we can take a lot of confidence from. This team is on a mission, really. We’ve been through some tough times of late and they have driven in a way that is pretty special. I’m incredibly proud of where they come from in a short period of time and the results are starting to come through now which is fantastic.

“Our feet are firmly on the ground. We know that we’re not the finished product. We’ve got goals ahead of us. So we will enjoy this win,” Boucher said.

‘Loss for words for Keegan Petersen’

For South Africa, Keegan Petersen and 21-year-old lanky left-arm pacer Marco Jansen were the finds of the series. Heaping praise on the duo, Boucher said: “You get two youngsters who have just come into the side. Both of them deserve their little spotlights.”

Petersen, who was playing only his second series after a lacklustre debut against the West Indies in June, impressed with his solidity and composure at No. 3. The 28-year-old scored three fifties in four innings and each time bettered his score to be adjudged Man of the Series. He was also the Man of the Match in their series-clinching win here.

“Keegan probably didn’t start off as well in the West Indies as he would have liked. Then he didn’t start off too well at the Supersport Park. But he’s always shown signs of the player that we are seeing right now. He just stuck to his guns. He’s in a good position to have a guy like Dean next to him. He (Dean) really backs him,” Boucher said.

(with PTI inputs)

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