India defeated South Africa by an innings and 137 runs at the MCA Stadium, Pune on Sunday to clinch the series 2-0 with one test match to go.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, India posted a mammoth 601/5 runs on the board in the first innings. Virat Kohli set up the match beautifully for India with his master class unbeaten 254. Opener Mayank Agarwal’s century and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s 91 played vital roles in making sure India post the massive total which they eventually did.
The home team then saw the bowlers put up a brilliant display to earn a lead of 326 by dismissing the opposition for just 275 runs. On day three of the match, the likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami wreaked havoc to dismantle the top order of the visitors.
Skipper Faf du Plessis and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock tried to bring some respite into the innings but could not carry the burden for long. However, tail-enders Vernon Philander (44) and Keshab Maharaj (72) displayed a great example of resilience with the bat as they annoyed the Indian bowlers with a partnership of 109 runs for the ninth wicket but as it turned out they only managed to delay the inevitable.
After holding the fort for long, Maharaj fell short as Ashwin struck at the twilight of the third day’s play to take the last two wickets in quick succession. With the last wicket of Kagiso Rabada, the umpires decided to call it a day and the players headed the dressing room’s way.
Kohli asked the tourists to bat again on a fourth-day wicket as India became the first-ever cricket team to enforce the follow-on on South Africa since 2008. Indian bowlers proved their captain’s decision right and dismissed the opposition on the fourth day itself for just 189 runs, helping India complete a record win. None of the South African batsmen seemed to have the answers to the questions asked to them by the Indian bowlers. Dean Elgar top-scored for them in the second innings with his 48 runs. Temba Bavuma’s 38, Vernon Philander’s 37 along with Keshav Maharaj’s 22 were the only other significant contributions from their batsmen.
For India, Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets for 22 runs while Ravindra Jadeja picked up three wickets for 52 runs. Ashwin picked up a couple and Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma picked up a wicket each to wrap up the South African innings.
India’s catching was absolutely spot on in the second innings with wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha taking a couple of brilliant catches. The one-handed stunner down the leg side to dismiss Theunis de Bruyn deserves a special mention. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma grabbed smart catches at the slip cordon too.
The win has helped India to their 11th consecutive series win at home, another world record. India last lost a Test series at home against England in 2012-13.