MOHALI:The last three Tests in India — one against Australia and two against West Indies — had lasted only three days. When India and South Africa took the field on Saturday, it didn’t look like another three-day finish. Not when overnight batsmen Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara had added 36 runs in the first hour of Day Three. Post drinks, the whole match changed on its head. In the next one hour, following Kohli’s dismissal, India lost six wickets for 24 runs and by the time tail folded up a little after lunch, with a lead of 217, it still looked to make up for a good contest.
But by the time India’s tweakers led by Ravindra Jadeja – adjudged man of the match – reduced South Africa to 3 for 10 in the fourth over, the writing was on the wall as the visitors eventually crumbled for 109 to give Kohli & Co an emphatic 108-run victory in their first Test at home in two years.
Kohli began the slide by feathering Stiaan Van Zyl to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas. South Africa then unleashed Imran Tahir and Simon Harmer from both ends as Indians collapsed like a pack of cards. It wasn’t like Harmer and Tahir bowled unplayable deliveries or they conjured something vicious off the surface. They either got out by coming forward instead of going back and defending or staying back to the ones they should have come forward.
Chasing 218 for win, Proteas opened with Veron Philander to counter Ashwin, but Jadeja removed him in the second over. Faf du Plessis fell to Ashwin and Hashim Amla left a Jadeja delivery that pitched on the off-stump, only to see it crash onto the middle-stump. By the time Mishra bowled AB de Villiers for the second time in the match, the contest was heading only one way.