Delhi: The fate of the match was already known to everyone, but it was only the South Africa’s courage that saw the match being dragged to the final session of the play. With a target of 480 runs and 2 days’ play remaining, result was imminent and draw was a distant dream.
But Africans did the unpredictable and kept playing slow cricket. The message was clear; they were playing for draw. Amla and De Villiers went to shell and just spent time on the crease without any desire to even try for a win. But Amla couldn’t repeat his yesterday’s history and got bowled out on day 5 to a beauty of Ravinder Jadeja cleaning of his off-stump. He got out on 25 (244b, 4s x 3) in the morning session.
Once India got the breakthrough, it simplified the task for spinners. Then, De Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Dane Villas tried to fight it out to some extent but failed and eventually handed a 337-run victory to India. South Africa’s explosive batsman AB de Villiers was caught by Jadeja while trying to play Ashwin. He was the seventh wicket to fall and his dismissal brought the visitor’s dream of drawing the match to an end.
AB de Villiers 43 (297b, 4s x 6) remained top scorer of the South Africa’s 2nd innings. He tried everything possible to save the test but Indians completely outwitted the Protease in all respects.
After the end of the match, Indian captain Virat Kohli admitted that this was the most important and satisfying victory for him and as well as for the team considering the kind of effort that Indian bowlers had to put into Delhi test to win this match.
Interestingly, the match passed through various twists and turns since first innings. At one stage in the first innings Indians were languishing at 198 for 7 despite Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant 127 (215b, 4s x 11, 6s x 4, but thanks to Ashwin’s 56 at the end that helped hosts put a commanding total of 334 on board.
But South Africans scripted their own misery when they even failed to play India’s lethal spin duo of Ashwin and Ravnder Jadeja and threw their wickets away at cheap scores. They were completely clueless on how to tackle India’s spin attack. Ravinder Jadeja’s five wicket haul in the first innings restricted Protease to 121 (all-out) at 49.3 overs.
India got mammoth 223 runs lead in the first innings and added 267 for 5 with the help of Kohli’s 88 and Rahane’s 100*. This took India’s run-target cross 480 run mark and visitors were given a target of 480 to chase with around 2 days’ playing left. Though, Africa safely spent the day four but Ashwin’s turning deliveries compelled them to make mistakes after tea bowled them all-out at just 143.
Brief Score Card
1st Innings; (India 334; Rahane 127, Ashwin 56; Abbott 5/40; South Africa 121; R. Jadeja 5/30)
2nd Innings; (India 267/5; Rahane 100*, Kohli 88; South Africa 143; Ashwin 5/61)