All-round India break South African resistance to win Centurion Test

Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami finish with three wickets each to complete 113-run victory

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India ended the year on a high by winning the Centurion Test against South Africa by 113 runs following an all-round effort from their bowling attack.

The hosts, chasing 305 to win, reached 130-4 raising prospects of a draw given the rain that was forecast for later in the day. However, they were bowled out for 191 just after lunch on the final day, with Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami both picking up three wickets each.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar top-scored with 77 but fell lbw to Bumrah, giving India the opening they were looking for.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin snared the final two wickets off successive balls to wrap up the win.

"We got off to the perfect start and getting a result within four days, with one day washed out, shows how well we played and how motivated we are," India captain Virat Kohli said after the match.

"The discipline the batsmen showed ... we knew anything over 300 or 320 [in the first innings] would be a top total. We had a lot of belief in our bowling unit."

The captain said the team backs its pace attack to bowl teams out overseas, and singled out Shami, who took 5-44 in the first innings and 3-63 in the second.

"He is a world class talent. He is easily among the best three seamers in the world right now. He seems to get more out of the pitch that anyone else and bowls in areas where you can't leave the ball."

India achieved victory despite the entire second day of the Test being washed out due to rain. They have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second Test to be played in Johannesburg from January 3.

Elgar and Temba Bavuma (35 not out) gave the hosts hope in the morning session but India's pace attack used the conditions superbly and eased to a comfortable win.

The highest fourth innings score to win at Centurion Park is 251-8 by England in 2000 where both teams agreed to forfeit an innings after rain to force a result.

The difficulty of the task became clear in the end as South Africa failed to cross 200 in both innings, having been bowled out for 197 in the first.

The Proteas started well in the first 10 overs of the day before Elgar was trapped leg before wicket by Bumrah (3-50).

It was a typically gritty effort from the skipper, who had been given a life on 63 by Shami when the seamer dropped a caught and bowled chance.

Quinton de Kock attacked the bowlers with a breezy 21 from 28 balls, but played onto his own stumps for the second time in the match, this time off Mohammed Siraj (2-47).

Wiaan Mulder (one) then did not last long, caught by wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant off Shami (3-63), and after the lunch interval India took just two overs to pick up the final three wickets.

India were in control of the Test almost throughout after posting 327 batting first with 123 from opener KL Rahul, the only batsmen to really get to grips with the Centurion surface. He was named player of the match.

Nonetheless, South Africa captain Elgar was pleased with the fight his team showed during the match.

"We did a few things wrong, but there are also a lot of positives to take out of this game and into the next few [Tests]," said Elgar.

"We will have a sit-down with myself and the management. I don’t think we did a lot wrong, but the things we did do wrong we were quite far off.

"It’s not all doom and gloom for us, we have put ourselves under pressure but that is generally when we thrive."

Updated: January 02, 2022, 10:46 AM
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