Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja’s shared nine wickets among them as India scored a resounding 203-run win victory over South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series at the ACA-VDCA stadium here on Sunday (October 6).Chasing an improbable 395, South Africa were expected to put up a fight like they did in the first innings but Shami’s (5/35 in 10.5 overs) fifth five-for in Test cricket topped up by Jadeja’s four-wicket burst saw South Africa dismissed for 191 in 63.5 overs.
How India won Senuran Muthusamy (49 not out) and Dane Piedt (56 off 107) delayed the inevitable with a fighting 91-run stand for ninth wicket after South Africa collapsed to 70 for eight in the morning. The second Test of the three-match series will be played in Pune from October 10. The pitch, which had played fairly for the first four days with the odd ball surprising the batsman, turned tricky on day five. The spinners got the ball to turn sharply and the variable bounce also helped the pacers, as predicted by Cheteswar Pujara on Saturday (October 5). The collapse began in the second over of the day when R Ashwin castled Theunis de Bruyn (10) with one that turned back sharply from wide outside of the off-stump for his record equalling 350th wicket. With that dismissal, he became the joint fastest to 350 wickets, matching Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan’s feat in his 66th Test. After Ashwin provided the early breakthrough, Shami castled Temba Bavuma (0), Faf du Plessis (13) and first innings centurion Quinton de Kock (0) in two short bursts to break the backbone of South African batting.
Shami’s words”It’s difficult to bowl on such a wicket because it was getting slower. So, the plan was to bowl at the stumps. Jaddu and Ash bowled well. We knew variable bounce and reverse swing would help us in the second innings. So, we tried to attack the stumps. It was important to get the top batters out as early as possible,” Shami said.
Batsmen made merry India’s victory was set up by Rohit Sharma, who became the first batsman to score two hundreds on debut as a Test opener, and Ashwin, who took a seven-wicket haul in the first innings. It was also a match to remember for Mayank Agarwal, who scored a double century to take India to 502 in the first innings.
The 2nd Test — when, where, pitch, conditions The second Test between India and South Africa will be played at Pune from October 10 at Pune. South Africa will work harder and show a lot more fortitude to counter India on a pitch that is expected to carry a similar nature.