Umesh, Shami blitz puts India on brink of 3-0 sweep

South Africa lost 16 wickets on the day as India pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami dominated proceedings in the third Test in Ranchi.

Umesh set the tone for India on the day with the early wicket of du Plessis.   -  AP

Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav ran through South Africa's batting twice in one day, as the visiting side lost a mindboggling 16 wickets to finish on the cusp of a crushing 3-0 whitewash at the JSCA Stadium on Monday. 

It was the fifth ball of the first over in the morning. There was rain in the air and seamers were going to be the flavour of the session with the Proteas resuming at nine for the loss of two wickets. Three slips were waiting to pouch an edge, but Umesh Yadav had just dished out successive leg-stump deliveries to Zubayr Hamza, who scored seven off the two balls before giving the strike back to Faf du Plessis.

Day three: As it happened

Du Plessis can't be blamed for being briefly flummoxed by what happened next. Umesh landed the ball on the seam around middle and off before it nipped away just enough to beat the outside edge and crash into the stumps. Having lost their skipper three minutes into the day's play, Hamza and Temba Bavuma then went about the business of repairing the damage. 

The duo, at one stage, scored at a rate of more than five runs an over with Hamza looking good on the front foot. He got behind the line and looked to play straight, getting value for his shots, the pick of them a gorgeous straight drive past Mohammad Shami.

Shami ran through South Africa's top order with three wickets in the second innings. Photo: AP

The 24-year-old got to his maiden Test fifty off just 56 balls, with a maximum over mid-on off Ravichandran Ashwin. There was a fear that, under pressure, the Proteas would revert to the timidity that has characterised theirbatting in this series. 

Hamza allayed the fears - albeit briefly - by playing some eye-catching, aggressive cricket. But just when he was growing in confidence, Ravindra Jadeja brought an end to the 91-run stand with one that sped on, beat Hamza's bat and hit the leg-stump.

A familiar sight

The very next over, Shahbaz Nadeem got his first Test wicket when he had Bavuma stumped. It was a flighted delivery around middle and leg, that turned and bounced past an advancing Bavuma's outside edge, only for Wriddhiman Saha to take the bails off in a flash. Then wickets fell like nine pins in a bowling alley. Heinrich Klaasen. Dane Piedt. Kagiso Rabada.

It was an all too familiar sight. South Africa, like on a few occasions before in this series, looked like it will put on a fight but somehow, almost always fell short.

READ | Shami, Umesh forcing the initiative with right line and lengths

Immediately after lunch, Shami bowled a barrage of bouncers to new man Anrich Nortje, hitting him twice on the shoulder and the elbow once. Kohli, aware that the weather and fading light could become a factor later in the day, was on the lookout for wickets and set attacking fields. While Nadeem bowled with three close catching men, Jadeja had five at times. 

George Linde and Nortje delayed the follow-on with a stodgy 32-run stand for the ninth wicket, but couldn't prevent South Africa from folding for 162: the third time it was bowled out for under 200 in the series.

Shahbaz Nadeem had Bavuma stumped to claim his maiden Test wicket. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

If the Proteas thought the second innings was going to be any better, Yadav gave them a reality check, sending Quinton de Kock's stumps cartwheeling with a length ball around off and middle. 

Shami joined the fun, removing Hamza, du Plessis and Bavuma in quick succession. Meanwhile, Dean Elgar retired hurt after being hit above the ear by a Yadav delivery. Theunis de Bruyn became the game's third concussion substitute after it was confirmed that Elgar would not bat again. But it mattered little in the end as South Africa's middle order came undone. The play was extended by half-an-hour but bad light put an end to India's hopes of claiming the final two wickets and force the result tonight.

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