Centurion — India wrapped up the South African innings just after lunch on Thursday afternoon to seal a memorable 113-run victory over their hosts at SuperSport Park.
IOL Sport’s Stuart Hess, who was at SuperSport Park for the entirety of the Test, gives us the plays of the match that enabled India to overcome a determined Protea outfit.
INNINGS: KL Rahul, produced an opening batting masterclass in scoring 123 in India’s first innings. Conditions were tricky on that first morning — overcast, and a green surface — and while South Africa didn’t bowl as well they wanted, Rahul’s patience, especially his leaving outside off-stump was precise. There were moments of luck, the kind any opener need, but utilised those to his advantage and provided his side with the perfect platform.
SPELL 1: Lungi Ngidi, having not played a cricket match for five months, stepped to the fore with a superb performance. Starting in the session after lunch on the first day, he bowled with greater aggression and applied the kind of pressure South Africa had missed at the start. He continued in that vein on the third day, and finished with 6/71 from 24 overs.
SPELL 2: Mohammed Shami is a canny operator. He doesn’t have the physical attributes of a fast bowler, but he has the mind and skill to make up for it. His performance on the third day was one for the ages, and made for captivating viewing. The post-lunch spell contained one bad ball and he finished the innings with a sixth Test ‘five-for,’ that included his 200th wicket. Kohli’s right, Shami is one of the three best fast bowlers in the world right now.
FALLEN FORTRESSES: For the second time in 2021, India has dismantled a fortress. In Brisbane in January they inflicted Australia’s first defeat at the Gabba in 33 years. Here at a ground where South Africa, in 27 Tests, had won 22 times, they became just the third overseas team to win a Test.