South Africa, chasing a record-breaking 305 to win on a deteriorating pitch, were no match for a ruthless Indian attack at SuperSport Park on Thursday as they were bowled out for 191 to succumb to a 113-run defeat in the first Test.
The Proteas began the final day on 94/4 and India claimed three wickets before lunch and then wrapped victory up with ridiculous ease after the break as the last three wickets fell in the first two overs.
Captain Dean Elgar, who batted for more than four hours in scoring his tenacious 77, was the key wicket to fall before lunch, India’s strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah switching to around the wicket and trapping the left-hander lbw.
Temba Bavuma batted with similar grittiness to his captain, finishing on 35 not out off 80 balls. Quinton de Kock (21) was the only other batsman to score more than 20, but he seemed to be chasing runs rather than trying to save the match and a third loose waft outside off stump saw him chop the ball into his own stumps off Mohammed Siraj.
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Elgar admitted that his team had been chasing the game from the first day when poor bowling allowed India to rack up 272/3.
“If the opposition are only three down at the end of day one here, then you’re always going to struggle,” Elgar said. “Them scoring more than 300 after winning the toss and batting first was a massive positive for them.
“But we were behind on runs throughout the four days. There were a lot of learnings for us, we need to get the basics of the game right and we did not have that from a batting point of view.
“It’s never easy against the new ball here, but the top-order know what it’s about. But if you get a good one then you go and watch the rest of the innings.
“They utilised the new ball to a T and their batsmen left very well, especially in the first hour of that first session. Our batsmen need to capitalise on starts,” Elgar said.
Jasprit Bumrah, with 3/50 in 19 overs and Mohammed Shami with 3/63 in 17, were the chief demolishers for India, although Siraj took 2/47 and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed the last two wickets off successive balls to finish with 2/18.
“We had a lot of belief in our bowling unit to get the job done,” India captain Virat Kohli said. “Just the way these guys bowl together, it’s a hallmark of our team, getting a result from that position with a day washed out.
“Shami is an absolutely world-class bowler, among the top-three seam bowlers in the world for me. I’m very, very happy for him to get 200 Test wickets and have an extremely impactful performance.”