IND vs SA: All-round India ensures innings win, clinches series 2-0

Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja take three wickets each as South Africa is bundled out for 189 in its second dig on the fourth day.

Cynosure of all eyes: Wriddhiman Saha is hugged by Virat Kohli after Saha’s catch dismissed Theunis de Bruyn.   -  Vivek Bendre

After a long day in the field on Day Three, there were doubts over what India’s team management would do — would it give its tired bowlers some rest? Not one to go on the defensive, captain Virat Kohli went for the kill, enforcing the follow-on on the fourth morning.

It paid off as India crushed the Proteas by an innings and 137 runs, taking an unassailable lead in the three-match Test series. After a first innings score of 275, Proteas could only reach 189 in its second stint.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

With this, the home team registered its fourth straight win in as many fixtures in the ICC World Test Championship.

For a South African side that has struggled to adapt to the Indian wickets, it was a herculean task to go past India’s first-innings total and then strive for a lead in the second innings. And Faf du Plessis’ men once again failed to show any resilience against a star-studded Indian bowling attack.

AS IT HAPPENED

While the pacers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav (3 for 22) dented the opposition with early wickets, spin aces R. Ashwin (2 for 45) and Ravindra Jadeja (3 for 52) kept up the pressure. With the two seasoned campaigners holding fort, South Africa could never really dig in.

Back to square one

After the third day’s play, South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma had said that the team’s mindset will be different in the second innings as there was “no demon” in the pitch. But on Sunday, the Proteas were back to square one.

Ishant gave India the early breakthrough as he trapped Aiden Markram leg-before-wicket on the second ball of the day. While South Africa did not review the decision, television replays showed that the ball was missing the leg stump.

With an early setback, the onus was on Elgar and captain du Plessis to fire. The two stitched a 49-run stand for the third wicket before Wriddhiman Saha took a catch on the fourth attempt on send du Plessis packing for five, off a delivery from Ashwin. A few minutes later, Elgar — who looked set for a big score — was removed by Ashwin, too; he was caught by Umesh for 48.

With the top two batsmen gone, South Africa went in for lunch struggling at 74 for 4. To save the Test, it required one really long partnership. But that did not arrive.

Sinking ship

Soon after lunch, Jadeja cleaned up Quinton de Kock for nine. With the ship sinking, an under-fire Bavuma did try to hang in there, but a stunner by Ajinkya Rahane at slips off Jadeja saw the diminutive batsman walking back to the pavilion for just 38.

That settled things India’s way.

Time to rejoice: Virat Kohli embraces Umesh Yadav after the dismissal of Vernon Philander. Photo: Vivek Bendre

 

After a 109-run stand in the first innings, the pair of Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander tried their best this time, too, but it wasn’t enough. For the eighth wicket, they added 56 runs before Philander was caught behind by Saha off Umesh Yadav. Maharaj (27), too, was trapped lbw by Jadeja soon.

The last time South Africa was handed a follow-on — in 2008 against England at Lord’s — the side did manage to earn a draw. But in front of a 17,000-odd crowd at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, the Proteas batsmen failed to show intent and meekly surrendered.

Test cricket is all about keeping the momentum going and after a rather one-sided win in the first Test in Visakhapatnam, India ensured it didn’t loosen the plot in Pune either.

With one more Test to go — beginning in Ranchi next week — and series already in the pocket, India now eyes a clean sweep.