Millennium Post

Indian spinners cut down the Proteas to size

Ravindra Jadeja made a memorable comeback to Test cricket with a five-wicket haul as India relied on the spinners to fashion a resounding 108-run victory against South Africa in the low-scoring first match to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series, here on Saturday.

Chasing a difficult 218-run target on a turning track, the Proteas got bundled out for 109 runs in 39.5 overs in the final session as the match ended inside th ree days at the IS Bindra stadium.

Jadeja, who bagged his third fifer in 13 Tests with figures of 5/21, trapped Imran Tahir (4) LBW to pick the final South African wicket as the team celebrated the win against the No.1 Test side with congratulatory hugs amongst themselves. Virat Kohli’s joy of winning his first game at home as Test captain was also evident, especially after the hosts lost the ODI and the T20 series against the visitors. 

If Ravichandran Ashwin turned on the heat against the formidable batting line-up in the first innings with a five- wicket haul, then left-arm spinner Jadeja, marked his Test return with a fifer in the second. The spin troika of Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra snapped 19 wickets in the game. Kohli wasted no time in getting down to business in the final innings by giving the new ball to spinners Ashwin (3-39) and Jadeja. The visitors’ move of sending pinch-hitter Vernon Philander (1) was neutralised when Jadeja trapped the batsman LBW in the very first delivery of the second over.

Ashwin, who had a special game after becoming the fastest Indian bowler to race to 150 wickets in his 29th Test, spun into action from the other end to send Faf du Plessis (1) caught at slip on a lovely tossed up delivery that the jittery-looking batsman failed to cope. The nerves were palpable in the visiting camp when skipper Hashim Amla was cleaned up for nought by Jadeja after looking to leave a length ball that carried straight in and rattled the middle stump. South Africa were reduced to 10 for three. India, who had taken a slender 17-run first innings lead, added 60 runs in the morning session while losing six wickets after they resumed the day at 125 for two.
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