Targeting on a track with a lot of uneven bouncing was out of the question for a shoddy South African unit, and the storyline played out according to the narrative set.
India’s unique rhythm unit destroyed an apathetic South Africa with its relentless attack to shape an unmistakable 113-point victory in the first test here on Thursday, setting the team on course for an elusive series victory in the rainbow nation.
2021 started with India’s breakthrough in the Gabba Down Under fortress and it couldn’t have been a better ending as they have now taken down Supersport Park which has been the citadel of Proteas for the longest time.
The goal of 305 on a track with a lot of uneven bouncing was still out of the question for a low-quality South African unit and the storyline played out according to the narrative set.
The home team fell back to 191 in 68 overs to give India a 1-0 lead in a three-game series.
Such was the mastery of the Indian leaders that they even knocked rain out of the equation despite a full day wasted.
It was a shame to see South Africa, which boasted a few big names from the old days, couldn’t even register 200 points in both heats with 77 out of 156 balls from skipper Dean Elgar not exactly being a saving grace.
Quinton de Kock will be missing from the next test roster as he will be on paternity leave and it will certainly be easier for India to secure their first victory in South Africa since their first tour here in 1992.
For India, the four leaders took 18 wickets between them and Ravichandran Ashwin completed the South African line just after the lunch session to complete the formality.
The three men who won the match for India were, vice-captain KL Rahul for this first round of 100 which gave the platform to the team, the very talented Mohammed Shami (5/44 and 3 / 63) who had an eight wicket match-haul and the unrivaled Jasprit Bumrah.
Bumrah is perhaps Indian cricket’s greatest gift, a fast and weird pitcher who can deliver moments of magic as he did on the fourth night to close the game for India.
Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur were the perfect supporting roles in one of the best and comfortable away wins for Virat Kohli’s men.
“They intimidated South Africa in their garden and that is not often seen,” said former South African host and host Morne Morkel.
Bumrah (3/50) set the tone for the final morning by knocking out tenacious skipper Proteas Elgar (77 on 156 balls) while Siraj (2/47) and Shami also came into action knowing he is expected to rain in the late afternoon session.
Having measured the track’s variable rebound, skipper Elgar knew that survival was not an option and that he had to counterattack from the start.
With the heavy Bavuma for company, 36 points were added in the first 45 minutes, but the best part was that the intensity of the Indian attack did not diminish, as the skipper Kohli and the wicket keeper Rishabh Pant have been heard consistently cheering on bowlers.
Shami let Elgar down from his own bowling alley, but it was Bumrah, who continued to ask the Proteas skipper probing questions.
One of those deliveries was slanted towards the southpaw as he shuffled way too much and the front leg was one of the easiest decisions referee Adrian Holdstock had to make in this game.
Hoping against all hope, Elgar appealed to the DRS but he already knew he was gone for good.
Quinton de Kock (21) came in and hit some delicious Bumrah shots, trying to knock out as many points as possible from the target.
Worker Siraj played one with the scrambled seam and just like the first innings tried to cut with very little room for execution with the ball going into him.
Wiaan Mulder (1), who had a forgettable game with no wickets to show for his efforts, received a delivery from Shami that was way above his skills. The ball threw lengthwise, landing on the seam. Mulder formed one that would return, but he straightened up enough to kiss the outside edge of his bat in Rishabh Pant’s gloves.
Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay up to date with the latest news and updates from Biz.