Bowlers down South Africa as India enjoys maiden win in Centurion

Rain stayed away on Thursday and India, defending 305 under sunshine, dismissed South Africa for 191 soon after lunch to win the first Freedom Test by 113 runs for a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Jasprit Bumrah, left, reacts after successfully appealing LBW to dismiss South Africa's captain Dean Elgar.   -  AP

Test matches are won and lost in moments like these. You see a chink and then exploit it.  

A battling Dean Elgar, defending solidly for most part, moved across and turned a Jasprit Bumrah delivery on off-stump past the square-leg ropes. 

The shot also provided the Indians with an opening for a breakthrough. The trap was laid and it was not long before Bumrah struck gold.

SA vs IND, Day 5 - AS IT HAPPENED

Elgar (77) shuffled across, attempting to work the ball, and was caught leg-before. This was the pivotal moment of the final day.

Rain stayed away on Thursday and India, defending 305 under sunshine, dismissed South Africa for 191 soon after lunch to win the first Freedom Test by 113 runs for a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

K.L. Rahul was adjudged Man of the Match for his first innings 123, the difference between the two sides reality. 

After breaching the South African bastion at the SuperSport Park, the Indians are well on course for a maiden Test series triumph in South Africa. 

The Indian pace attack hunted like a pack of wolves. Relentless, clever and always dangerous. 

The three  - Mohammed Shami, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj - have the knack of conjuring wicket-taking deliveries out of nowhere.

This also means the opposition batters are never really 'in', as the ball moves away, nips back or holds its line.    

In the morning, Elgar, all focus and determination, and Temba Bavuma, appeared confident. There was an opportunity for India but Shami spilled an easy caught-and-bowled chance when Elgar (on 63) could not keep a drive off a full length delivery down.

There was nothing alarming in the pitch on day five. If anything the surface appeared to have settled down but for the odd delivery deviating off the crack.

However, the South Africans lost wickets at regular intervals. Quintion de Kock once again promised much with a couple of rousing on-drives off Bumrah.

Siraj celebrates removing de Kock in the second innings. - Photo: AP

 

However, the left-hander played on attempting to cut a Siraj ball, delivered from round the wicket, and holding its line outside off. The impulsive de Kock is often his worst enemy.   

Even as wickets fell around him, Bavuma (35 not out), putting mind over matter, kept the South Africa challenge alive. 

He was compact with his defence and timed the ball sweetly. Bumrah was cover-driven majestically and Ashwin was off-driven to the fence with footwork.

In the end, the South African vice-captain was left high and dry even as Kohli made all the right moves.

Kohli brought back Shami from the Press Box end and the skilful paceman, his seam position upright, made further inroads. 

All-rounder Wiann Mulder got a nick to a lovely good length delivery from Shami that straightened outside off. With South Africa 164 for seven, India was now looking at the tail.  

Soon after lunch, Shami moved one away off the seam to find Marco Jansen’s edge. 

Ashwin’s flight and dip accounted for Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi was picked up by the close cordon the very next delivery.

India had won! The celebrations reflected the joy of an away win. A first Test series triumph on South African soil is still some distance away though. 

The cricket caravan will move to the Wanderers for the second Test, beginning January 3.

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