India earn consolation win in 3rd Test
Johannesburg, Jan. 27 (IANS): India bowled out South Africa for 177 runs in their second innings on fourth and penultimate day to claim a consolatory 63-run win in the third and final cricket Test here on Saturday.
Chasing 241 on a difficult pitch to bat, the hosts were going strong after Dean Elgar (86 not out) and Hashim Amla (52) put up an 119-run second-wicket stand before they were separated few overs before tea.
Since that dismissal of Amla, South Africa lost eight wickets for 53 runs even though Elgar carried his bat through at the New Wanderers Stadium. Apart from the duo, only Vernon Philander (10) managed to reach a two-digit score, as South Africa could not win the series 3-0.
Seamer Mohammed Shami wiped away the South African tail-ender to finish with a figure of 5/28, while Jasprit Bumrah (2/31) and Ishant Sharma (2/57).
They bowled well even when Elgar and Amla were resolute and batted with patience as the hosts resumed the day’s play at 17/1 after the match officials overnight decided to continue with the match which was suspended before scheduled close as the condition of the pitch was discussed on Friday.
The beginning of the fourth day was delayed by an hour due to a wet outfield following rain.
Elgar and Amla fended off the Indian bowlers, who operated with probing line and length. Both the batsmen showed a lot of courage and patience, backing their defensive technique to the hilt.
Elgar, though was not as technically solid as Amla, managed to survive with a chanceless innings. The left-hander got a grip of how the pitch was behaving and continued to accumulate runs. He absorbed the pressure well and registered his 10th fifty in Test cricket.
Amla, as usual, batted with his quality, waiting for the bad deliveries to punish. The pair showed their resolve and good temperament to stretch the partnership. Elgar continued to hang in there, holding the fort fo the hosts.
Amla, known for his compact technique, completed his 37th Test fifty before flicking a harmless delivery from Ishant Sharma to a diving Hardik Pandya at short midwicket. With the end of the 119-run stand, South Africa were 117 short of the target.
Later, AB de Villiers (6) perished soon, trying to drive Jasprit Bumrah but only edging it to Ajinkya Rahane at gully. These two wickets before tea lifted India’s spirit as they felt that they could make a contest, with 105 runs separating the hosts from victory.
That belief got stronger when Ishant broke skipper Faf du Plessis (2) defence with an in-cutter four overs into the final session.
Quinton de Kock (0) continued his poor string of scores in the series as a low ball from Bumrah hit him on the pad and the umpire ruled a LBW in favour of the bowler. De Kock has 71 runs in six innings.
Later, Shami took charge as he ran through the South African lower-order, accounting Philander (10), Andile Phehlukwayo (0), Morne Morkel (0) and Lungi Ngidi (4), as a helpless Elgar watched from the other end.