India’s fast bowlers brought the third and final Sunfoil Test to rapid ending picking up the last nine South African wickets for just 53 runs in 17 overs, to earn the tourists a 63-run victory and ensure they have a consolation prize to take away from what has been an exciting series.
South Africa won the series 2-1.
Dean Elgar was left stranded on 86 (357m, 240b, 9x4, 1x6) as South Africa, chasing an unlikely 241 on a pitch where the bounce off a length has been inconsistent, was bowled out for 177.
The win also insured India gained just their third triumph on South African soil in 26 years, and maintained their unbeaten record at the Wanderers, which now stretches to five matches.
A 119-run partnership for the second wicket between Elgar and Hashim Amla had raised hopes that the home team might be able secure victory. The pair batted through the first session, the start of which had been delayed by an hour due to a wet outfield caused by early morning rain.
It was a blow to the head of Dean Elgar which brought a premature end to the day’s play on Friday evening and had the umpires concerned for the safety of the players. Late on Friday it was decided that the match could go ahead and for the first two sessions it was a gripping contest.
Elgar, who had to pass two concussion tests, one on Friday and another before play on Saturday, was heroic, somehow keeping the ball out as it continued to seam and bounce disconcertingly.
He and Amla’s partnership was triumph of great judgement and skill, and would have sent jitters down Indian spines.
But the match turned decisively when Ishant Sharma, who bowled superbly throughout the day, had Amla well caught at midwicket by Hardik Pandya for 52.
Thereafter it was a procession of South African batsmen between the pitch and the dressing room that was only halted by the tea break.
AB de Villiers was caught in the gully for 6, Faf du Plessis got yet another ball that ripped back into him from wide of the stumps, this time keeping low and knocking back his off-stump, while Quinton de Kock’s wretched series with the bat ended when he played all around a straight ball from Jasprit Bumrah.
Vernon Philander, bottom-edged an attempted pull onto his stumps after scoring 10, and then Andile Phehlukwayo, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada all failed to score – facing just seven balls between them – to leave South Africa nine down.
Elgar and Lungi Ngidi had a bit of fun for the final wicket, but then Ngidi edged one off the face of his bat through to substitute wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, sparking huge celebrations for the tourists led by the excitable captain Virat Kohli, who let the fans on the Eastern terrace, know who the victors were.
Mohammed Shami finished with 5/28, his second five-wicket haul in a row.
The two team start a six game ODI series in Durban on Thursday.