Umesh, Shami sizzle to ensure series sweep against sorry South Africa
- At end of Day 3, SA were just two wickets away from another defeat, being 132/8 after following on, still 203 runs in arrears.
- Umesh and Shami were in peak form, sharing five wickets between them in SA first innings and taking five of the eight to fall in their second.
- All this on a typical Indian wicket where the ball tended to turn.
RANCHI: If you are from India's T20 generation and find Test cricket too slow, it's high time you watched this Indian Test team. Even if you are much older, from the generation which was once traumatised by Caribbean or Australian pacers, it's time to heal your wounds.
When Team India plays Test cricket these days, things move really fast. Runs are scored at a fair clip, the pacers men can bowl really fast and opposition batsmen generally tend to come and go quickly.
At the end of the day, they were just two wickets away from another defeat, being 132/8 after following on, still 203 runs in arrears. As if things were not bad enough for the visitors, opener Dean Elgar got hit on the helmet just before tea and had to retire hurt, paving the way for Theunis de Bruyn to become the third concussion substitute in the history of Tests.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami were in peak form, sharing five wickets between them in the visitors' first innings and taking five of the eight to fall in their second. All this on a typical Indian wicket where the ball tended to turn.
It all started with a unplayable delivery Yadav bowled to Du Plessis in the first over of the day. The ball swung in, landed on full length and evaded the South Africa skipper's defence by slightly moving away off the seam - a seemingly once-in-a-blue-moon delivery, until Shami got Zubayr Hamza with the same delivery in the afternoon while South Africa followed on.
The pace at which the duo bowled had the batsmen hurrying all the time. Anrich Nortje got hit a couple of times in the first innings and it was Elgar's turn in the second. It did not help that the wicket had variable bounce, which landed wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha in trouble a number of times. Eventually, he picked up an injury on the ring finger of his right hand while collecting a ball off Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rishabh Pant took his place. Team sources maintained Saha was "fine" and recovering.
Shami and Yadav were simply outstanding. All of their wickets came by beating the batsman with either pace or swing, sometimes both. Not one of the deliveries kept low. Umesh, in particular, had a field day. The crowd cheered when he bowled and he paid back not just with wickets but also a direct hit, running out Rabada.
Unfortunately, Ravindra Jadeja's three-wicket haul and Zubayr Hamza's resistance in the first innings have to become footnotes on a day like this.