Shami’s fiver helps India to win third Test in South Africa, lose series 1-2

Johannesburg: India, with a splendid bowling performance in the final session of day’s play, bundle out South Africa for 177 in the second innings to register an emphatic 63-run win in the third Test.

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India couldn’t out Dean Elgar at all, but found a way around him to complete their Test win in South Africa. He was ridiculed on the third evening for a short ball that hit him in the face and caused an interruption in the play, but Elgar tried his darnedest – in vain – to deny India.

The visitors were efficient and ruthless even as Elgar and Hashim Amla went more than half the day without losing a wicket and adding 119 of the 241 required for the second wicket. They waited and waited for the first breakthrough without giving away free runs, and once the wicket came they swooped in on the kill. The last nine wickets fell for

As at Lord’s 2014, Ishant Sharma began the slide with a mid-afternoon spell of 7-2-15-2, but here the load was shared. His victims were big: Amla and Faf du Plessis.

Jasprit Bumrah was equally impressive in his nine-over spell that followed up with wickets of AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. Once the two were taken off, Mohammed Shami came back from an average morning with quick, full and accurate bowling to run through the tail.

Having set South Africa 241, they would have looked at an easy job, but there were hiccups. Play was suspended 19 minutes before stumps on the third evening as the umpires were concerned about players’ safety.

After meetings, it was decided the pitch would be given a chance on the fourth morning, but overnight and early-morning rain pushed India’s quest for a win back by an hour.

Elgar showed a lot of ticker in not getting perturbed by the number of blows he took. He showed great judgement in leaving the ball, didn’t follow the ones that seamed away from him, and kept nudging away ones and twos.

India played the waiting game. This was a mature spell of play. When not much was happening they sought to shut down the scoring. Hardik Pandya did a job too, bowling six overs for 15. If the worst happened, India wanted to be in the game by the time the new ball was taken.

On the other side of tea, Ishant and Bumrah did their one-two again. Ishant got one to nip back in and stay low too to hit du Plessis’ stumps. Quinton de Kock grabbed a golden duck with Bumrah bowling quick and straight at his stumps. The pace and efficiency of this four-pronged attack was too much for the rest. Elgar, who carried his bat with 86 not out off 240 balls of pure grit, and Lungi Ngidi fought hard with the last-wicket stand of 16, but they were only delaying the inevitable.

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