1st Test: India clean up South Africa for mammoth win
South Africa captain, Faf du Plessis, wears a surprise look after being bowled by Mohammed Shami (AP Photo)India beat South Africa in first test match by 203 runs
- Shami produced a masterly spell of fast bowling coupled with reverse swing to deflate the South African batting
- The visitors fell apart chasing a 395-run target to lose the first Test by a huge margin of 203 runs
- Rohit and Mayank among batsmen and Ashwin, Shami and Jadeja among the bowlers were the stars for India
ACA-VDCA Stadium was witness to India’s first home win in the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle — boosting their total tally to 160 points — and the 1-0 lead in the three-match series augurs well for the World No. 1 team that was stretched in parts by a South African team lacking in experience, but making up for it with pluck aplenty.
That South Africa — needing 395 to win and resuming at 11 for one — could muster 191 was in the main due to Senuran Muthusamy (49; 108b, 5x4) and his 91-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Dane Piedt (56; 107b, 9x4, 6x1) after Shami, who had excellent returns of five for 35, and Ravindra Jadeja struck at various times to reduce the Proteas to 70 for eight before lunch.
The hosts tasted success with the 11th delivery of the day when Theunis de Bruyn shaped to cut but ended up giving offie R Ashwin his 350th Test wicket — the joint quickest to the milestone in 66 Tests. If the early loss rattled the South Africans, more was in store and in quick time too, as Shami hit the right areas.
The quick from Amroha, who was slightly off-colour in SA’s first innings with his pace wavering, struck it rich by cleaning up Temba Bavuma with a delivery that kept low and knocked back Faf du Plessis’s off stump with an incoming delivery that the South African skipper shouldered arms to.
Probably the heat had something to do with the quicks operating in short bursts, but Shami’s two spells in the morning session — 3-1-12-1 and 3-1-8-2 — were enough to set South Africa back considerably.
The conditions suited the seamers more than the spinners and having put SA on the mat, the hosts looked well placed to quickly mop up the rest of the South African batting when Ravindra Jadeja got into the act.
Aiden Markram (39; 74b, 5x4, 6x1), who was a mute spectator as wickets fell in a heap at the other end, fell to a brilliant return catch by Jadeja.
The left-arm spinner then successfully reviewed a LBW verdict against Vernon Pilander and Keshav Maharaj lost the LBW review the very next delivery, but Piedt denied Jadeja the hat-trick. It was all over bar the shouting but Piedt joined Muthusamy, who too had other ideas.
The South Africans should take heart from the remarkable poise of debutant Muthusamy and Piedt, playing only his ninth Test.
Like the left-handed duo of Dean Elgar and de Kock showed in the first innings, Muthusamy and Piedt left the Indians frustrated at various stages of the game till the hosts found their man of the hour in Shami.