Millennium Post

3rd Test: India bring alive dead rubber, register 63-run victory

Johannesburg: India salvaged lost pride by pulling off a dramatic 63-run win against South Africa in the third Test as relentless pacers scripted a sensational turnaround on a treacherous track, here on Saturday.
Mohammed Shami led India's fightback with a career-best five-wicket haul as India snapped nine wickets for 53 runs to shot out South Africa for 177 and avoided a humiliating whitewash in the three-match series.
It is first time that an all-pace attack has fashioned victory for India on overseas soil. Overall, the four full-time seamers shared all 20 wickets in the match, which ended on the fourth day.
Shami ended with figures of 12.3-2-28-5, while Jasprit Bumrah (2/57), Ishant Sharma (2/31) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/39) shared the other five wickets. With this win, India also kept their unbeaten record intact at the Wanderers. It was their second victory in five Tests with the other three being draws. Opener Dean Elgar, who took a nasty blow on his helmet and forced early stumps yesterday, remained unbeaten on 86 even as four of his colleagues could not even open their account.
India skipper Virat Kohli was under pressure to deliver after losing the first two Tests following a stellar home run last year. South Africa won the series 2-1 but India ended it on a high. The pitch remained a talking point throughout for the dangerous bounce it offered to pacers and forced early stumps on day three. Surprisingly when India were expected to dominate the proceedings at the start of the day, the batsmen found it easy to score on Saturday morning.
South African downfall began post tea as Faf du Plessis (2) was bowed in the fourth over after resumption of play. He missed an in-swinger from Ishant and it cut through the gap between bat and pad.
The heavy roller's effect used in the morning wore off quite quickly as the pitch started doing a lot more in this last session. Three overs later, in the 64th, Bumrah trapped Quinton de Kock plumb lbw for a first-ball duck.
Running out of time, and patience, Vernon Philander (10) tried attacking the bowling just as Shami returned for a spell with the old ball. He was bowled as the ball clattered onto the stumps off an inside edge. Shami then tore through the lower order, bowling Andile Phehlukwayo for a three-ball duck and Morne Morkel (0) first ball.
In between Kumar had Kagiso Rabada caught at slip for another three-ball duck as South Africa went from 144/3 to 160/8 in the space of 47 balls.
There were a few comic elements as Hardik Pandya missed two run-outs, but the formalities were completed in the 74th over as Lungi Ngidi (4) was caught behind with the Indian players breaking into a celebratory jig.
Meanwhile, Parthiv Patel did not come out to keep wickets in this final session. He had suffered an injured right index finger and is scheduled to go for an x-ray in the evening.
Dinesh Karthik came on as substitute keeper. This was after Elgar and Hashim Amla (52) added 119 runs for the second wicket to take South Africa to 136/3 at tea.
Post lunch, Elgar and Amla continued building their stand even as India looked to make quick in-roads to gain footing back in the match. The visitors were denied as the duo batted calmly and took South Africa past the 100-mark. Ishant bowled a tight spell after lunch, but India struggled to string together a bowling partnership that could put Elgar-Amla under pressure. Soon after, they raised a 100-run stand, the first in this Test. In doing so, Elgar reached his 10th Test half- century off 153 balls. At the other end, Amla crossed 50 off 134 balls, his 38th in Test cricket. It was also the ninth time that he scored twin half-centuries in the same Test.
Brief Scores: India 1st innings: 187 and 247. South Africa 1st innings: 194 and 177 all out in 73.3 overs (Dean Elgar 86 not out, Mohammed Shami 5/28, Ishant Sharma 2/31, J Bumrah 2/57).
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