Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed a five-wicket haul to lead his side to a comfortable 108-run win over South Africa on the third day of the first Test in Mohali.
Starting out the day on 125/2, India made a cautious start before South Africa clawed their way back into contention with a number of quick wickets that eventually saw the hosts be skittled out for 200, which set South Africa a target of 218 to win.
Simon Harmer and Imran Tahir picked up four wickets apiece, while Vernon Philander and Stiaan van Zyl chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 218 to win, South Africa got off to an awful start as they were reduced to 45/5 in the 17th over. Despite continuing to lose wickets at regular intervals, van Zyl was South Africa’s most composed batsman as he scored 36 before his resistance was ended by Ravichandran Ashwin.
After van Zyl was back in the pavilion, the Proteas’ tail folded and India subsequently went on to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Jadeja inflicted the most damage with his five-wicket haul, while Ashwin snapped up three and Amit Mishra and Varun Aaron claimed one wicket each.
South Africa captain Hashim Amla was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “200 was a chaseable total, probably 150 would have been more realistic, 150-160 would have been a fair challenge on a deteriorating wicket. There were some soft dismissals, we were in the game till we lost four or five and put pressure on the lower guys, Stiaan showed you could gets runs if you hung in there. To get India for 200 was an excellent effort from our bowlers, we kept ourselves in the game till the last session, credit to India for bowling us out.”
India skipper Virat Kohli was thrilled to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “First Test as captain at home was a special occasion for me, it is a young team, building a strong team together. Seeing the way things have gone in the past month and half, the way we played here, a lot of credit has to go to the team. We thought if we are finding it difficult on this wicket, it is going to be difficult for them. As Hashim said, there were soft dismissals, I don’t think there were any demons in the wicket, the ball did not turn square at any stage, batsmen had to apply themselves, it was a bowler’s game. You need mental strength at this level. (Vijay and Pujara) are two of the most solid guys we have. Had we applied more, we could have given them a bigger target.”
Jadeja was named Man of the Match, and said: “We played on turning tracks at Rajkot (in Ranji) so I had confidence about my bowling, I worked hard this season, I was bowling in the nets for hours, this was my comeback game and I was looking to play positive. I scored three fifties in domestic as well, it has been a pressure game for me, I was trying to prove myself again, so I am really happy.”