Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Vernon Philander picked a career best 9 wickets in the match to help Proteas beat India by 72 runs to go 1-0 ahead in the first test match at Newlands on Monday.With day three completely washed out, the visitors succumbed to some inspiring fast bowling from the South African pacers. A total of 18 wickets fell on day four.
It was an intriguing battle between the bat and ball with the momentum shifting numerous times between the visitors and their hosts.
South Africa came back well to post a decent 286 runs in the first innings after reduced to 12/3 after captain Faf du Plessis had won the toss and elected to bat, The wicket undoubtedly played its part, and while it was clearly seam-friendly, batters could get their runs through a combination of application, positivity and a bit of luck.
India were in a similar position at the start of their first innings but thanks to a brilliant 93 runs , India posted 209 runs.
Conceding a deficit of 79 runs in the first innings Indian medium pacers bowled their heart out as they skittled the South Africa batting line up for only 130 runs in 41.2 overs.
Defending just 208 in the final innings, South Africa’s bowlers were relentless despite India getting to 30/0 in their chase.
Vernon Philander (6/42) was superb in the second innings as India were bowled out for 135 runs to hand the home side a 1-0 lead in the series.
Morne Morkel (2/39) and Kagiso Rabada (2/41) were also fired up, and it took a united effort from the pace trio after the South Africans had lost Steyn to injury. Steyn, remarkably, still featured on day 4 as he hobbled out to the middle to bat at No 11 despite having spent most of the morning in a moonboot.
That decision highlighted just how desperate the situation was for the Proteas, who were blown away in the morning session by the Indians, bowled out for 130.
AB de Villiers played a vital knock of 35 runs in the second innings as South Africa set India a target of 208 runs to win.
Philander was the wrecker in chief for South Africa as he had the Indian batsmen jumping with his pace and bounce. It was yet another disappointment for the Indian top order with none of them scoring a substantial knock. Captain Virat Kohli scored 28 runs before be adjudged leg before to Philander.
Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed some resistance as they put 49 runs for the eighth wicket before the off-spinner edged one from Philander to be caught sharply by Quinton de Kock. Ashwin scored 37 runs and with his dismissal went India’s hopes.
Philander had both Shami and Bumrah dismissed in similar fashion edging the away deliveries. Shami was caught by Faf du Plessis in the slips while Jusprit Bumrah was out first ball, also caught by Du Plessis, as Philander took the last three wickets in four balls, securing an epic victory for South Africa.
South Africa – 286 (De Villiers 65, Du Plessis 62, De Kock 43, Kumar 4/87) and 130 (De Villiers 35, Markram 34, Shami 3/28, Bumrah 3/39)
India – 209 (Pandya 93, Philander 3/33, Rabada 3/34) and 135 (Philander 6/42)