Spinners hang in to deliver India victory against fighting South Africa

Rana, Sharma, Gayakwad trio's effort helped India to get South Africa all out for 373 in their second essay.
Spinners hang in to deliver India victory against fighting South Africa
Photo | P Ravikumar

CHENNAI: Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma, Gayakwad bowled in tandem and picked up two wickets each to enable India to inflict a 10-wicket defeat upon South Africa in the one-off Test match played at the MA Chidambaram stadium here on Monday. The trio's effort helped India to get South Africa all out for 373 in their second essay. Set a target of 37, India achieved the same in just 9.2 overs without any damage. This is India's second ten-wicket triumph in Tests after scoring a similar win over the Proteas at Paarl in 2002.

India had to earn a hard fought win as the visiting skipper Laura Wolvaardt made a patient century (122; 314b, 16x4) to frustrate the Indians and take the game into the last session. Nadine de Klerk put up a fighting effort at the other end, helping South Africa avoid an innings defeat, but in the end India prevailed.

The way the game went into the final session and how South Africa fought to save an innings defeat augurs well for Women's Test cricket. ''We played against England, we won, it was a historic Test match. Then we played against Australia, we won that and now this one. I would say this one was a real test of character for both teams. Fantastic Test match to watch and fantastic match for all the players also. No better advertisement than this Test match,'' said Amol Muzumdar, head coach of India, after the match.

Earlier, resuming at the overnight 232 for two and trailing India by 105 runs, Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp appeared to be in good touch. Laura brought up her maiden Test century. However, Kapp was soon trapped leg-before by Deepti for 31, while Rana ousted Delmi Tucker for a duck as the visitors slipped to 266 for four.

With still a long way to go to take the lead, Wolvaardt tried her best to play anchor at one end but was unlucky to be trapped by Gayakwad. The visitors were now reduced to 281 for five and India had a chance to go for the kill and register an innings win. But the stumbling block for India was De Klerk. The 24-year old, who is known to play aggressively in the shorter format, shifted gears smoothly to trouble the hosts. De Klerk spent 213 minutes on the field and in the process notched up her maiden Test fifty in 174 balls with the help of seven boundaries.

Harmanpreet Kaur was pleased with the effort and attributed teamwork for India's splendid show. ''They really batted well. They didn't give us an easy win. We had to work hard. Credit goes to Shafali Varma and Smriti Mandhana first. Secondly, everyone contributed with the bat. It wasn't easy to field in this heat but everyone contributed. The spinners kept believing that we could take those wickets and win the game. All of them (spinners), the way they played the last two matches, they knew they could create the chances. Even the medium-pacers did their job,'' said Kaur, skipper of India. ''The support staff had positive talks and kept pushing us. They have created a very good atmosphere. It was a bit tough (to rotate three spinners). I was greedy to keep giving them the ball. Shafali and I chipped in. Everyone bowled well and were really happy with the performance. When we came in the morning, we knew we only had 100 runs in the pocket. We had to be careful but we needed to keep looking for wickets. We planned really well and stuck to it,'' she added.

Next both teams will lock horns in T20Is from Friday.

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