India, on Thursday, became just the second team in the past 20 years to win in Centurion as the Virat Kohli-led side registered a thumping 113-run win to beat the Proteas and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Heading into the final day, India needed six wickets to win, and the visitors needed just a session and two overs to wrap things up. Kohli’s India are now officially the first and only Asian side in history to win a Test in Centurion.
India deliver hammer blows despite South Africa scoring quickly
India were always going to start the day as favorites, needing just six wickets to win on a wicket that was starting to look like a minefield. But against the script, it was South Africa who started Day 5 on the front foot despite the odds being stacked against them.
The hosts accumulated 32 runs off the first 8 overs of the day, putting away every bad ball that India had to offer. Both Bavuma and Elgar looked in fine touch, and the pitch, surprisingly, did not look unplayable. Although they did have some luck during this period, with Shami putting down a straightforward return-catch of the South African skipper. Elgar also had another streaky moment as an outside edge flew straight through a vacant area in the slip cordon.
But just when things were starting to get tight, Bumrah (of course) struck for the visitors. In the fifth over of his lung-busting morning spell, the talisman trapped Elgar plumb in front from round the wicket, an invaluable breakthrough for the visitors.
Elgar’s wicket brought in Quinton de Kock, who counter-attacked in trademark fashion. He was livingly streakily, though, and his luck ran out soon enough as he, just like he did in the first innings, chopped one onto his stumps. This time off the bowling of Siraj.
Mulder walked in at No.8 but he lasted for just 3 balls, nicking off to the impeccable Mohammed Shami.
At 164/7 a defeat looked imminent for South Africa, with India even fancying their chances of wrapping things up in the first session, but defiance from Temba Bavuma and Marco Jansen took the hosts to 182/7 at lunch.
90 runs were scored in the first session for the loss of three wickets. A pretty moving session.
South Africa crumble post lunch as India breach fortress Centurion
123 with 3 wickets in hand on a crumbling wicket is a near-impossible task, but still one that is not unachievable. Crazier things have happened in Test cricket in the years gone by.
But India walked out to the field post lunch as if they had drunk bottles of ‘ruthlessness’.
It took Shami only 5 balls in the second session to strike, and the match was done in the second over post-lunch. Jansen nicked off to Shami in the first over after striking back-to-back boundaries, and the game was wrapped up by Ashwin, who dismissed both Rabada and Ngidi.
And just like that, India breached fortress Centurion. A thoroughly dominant performance. A thoroughly deserved win.