Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammed Shami carved through South Africa’s batting line-up with a five-wicket haul as India secured a consolation win after beating South Africa by 63 runs on the fourth day of the third Test in Johannesburg.
Starting off the day on 17/1, Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla converted their 12-run partnership into a 119-run stand, during which both batsmen surpassed their half-centuries.
However, shortly after bringing up his fifty, Amla was brilliantly caught by Hardik Pandya off the bowling of Ishant Sharma for 52, which came off 140 balls and included five boundaries.
Amla’s dismissal marked the start of an unbelievable collapse, which was spearheaded by Shami, as the Proteas went from 124/2 to being bowled out for 177.
Elgar held his own throughout South Africa’s implosion and finished unbeaten on 86, which came off 240 deliveries and included nine boundaries and a six.
Shami was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Ishant and Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets apiece. As for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he claimed one.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was disappointed not to have whitewashed India 3-0, and said: “I think India outplayed us in this Test. We didn’t take our chances. We were just sloppy. From a bowling point of view, we weren’t consistent. Our fielding was pretty average. And with the bat, it was tough conditions.
“We were surprised how well the pitch played this morning, Hashim and Dean great partnership. But the history of this wicket tells you the ball does a bit more late in the day. We can only blame ourselves. Extremely happy to win the series. But if you told me 2-1 before this series, I would’ve bitten the hand off.
“India have played great cricket, but we were deserved winners. Lot of one-day cricket against a very strong Indian team, and then Australia, and we will take confidence into [those series].”
India skipper Virat Kohli was ecstatic to have won, and said: “Lovely. We required some character playing on a pitch that was very difficult. I think our guys showed great guts through the four days. We took the challenge. Batting first wasn’t a call that went down well with some people, but we knew it was the right call. We knew we were close in the first two games. This was perfect.
“Elgar and Amla played really well, although it was not easy. You expect that from South Africa. But one thing I know is that when wickets go down, in pressure situations, its very difficult to come back. And the other good thing was we didn’t leak runs. The bowlers are a big positive.
“Sixty wickets in a series is rare, and if the batsmen step up, they understand they need to and they did in this game and the win feels really great. Need bowlers confident to win Tests and as batsmen, we need to think about our game, prepare better and I’m sure we can win more often away from home.”
Kumar was named Man of the Match, and said: “Very happy. Whenever I get the chance, I try to do well and it came good at the right moment. I always enjoy batting, when it comes to Tests. It wasn’t an easy wicket but I wanted to stay there as long as possible and luckily runs came too. It was an amazing track to bowl on, there were a few awkward balls, but overall it was good.”