Team India made a cake-walk victory against South Africa in the third cricket test with more than two days to spare in the series. The Indian cricket team took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series on Friday in Nagpur. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed seven second innings wickets while leg-spinner Amit Mishra grabbed the remaining three as South Africa chased 310 to stay alive in the contest, but folded for 185. Unable to negotiate the Indian spin threat led by 29-year-old Ashwin who completed his 4th 10-wicket haul in a match in his 31st Test South Africa fell way short of target.
Ravichandran Ashwin yet again set to record a career-best figure of 7/66. Spinning a web of deceit, Ashwin had a superb match haul of 12 for 98, while leg spinner Amit Mishra claimed 3 for 51 as the hosts shot out the visitors for 185 in 89.5 overs in the second innings to wrap up the match 52 minutes after the tea session.
Ashwin fittingly took the last wicket, by clean bowling last man Morne Morkel through the gate in his final devastating spell of 4 for 16 in 19 balls.
However, it was Mishra, who got the important breakthrough in the second session to break the stubborn 72- run fifth wicket stand between rival captain Hashim Amla (39) and Faf du Plessis (39), the visitors’ highest of the match after their capitulation for their lowest-ever total against India of 79 in the first innings.
Mishra got rid of Amla to end the partnership and also packed off du Plessis soon afterwards before Ashwin polished off the tail with the second new ball in a devastating spell.
This was also Virat Kohli’s first Test series win as a captain on home soil and also marked an end to South Africa’s track record of not losing a Test series away from home for nine long years. Having won back-to-back Test series against Sri Lanka and now South Africa, Indian skipper Virat Kohli today said ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been the reason behind the team’s recent success in the longer format.
“Ashwin is a world-class spinner, he stepped up in a big way for us, even in Sri Lanka. He is been one of the main reasons why we are able to win back-to-back series. He is a consistent performer for us. It’s a pleasure to have someone like Ashwin in the side,” Kohli said after the match.
On a track tailor made for them, the Indian spin trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra bagged all the 20 wickets for the hosts and Kohli was happy his spin brigade.
“This is what Test cricket is, we need patience with the ball and believing a chance will come. Mishra showed great character in that period. Spinners have had an upper hand in the series,” he said.
With India winning at Mohali and Nagpur and the game in Bengaluru being washed out, the teams will play the inconsequential final Test at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla from December 3.
India’s victory also means South Africa, currently the top ranked team in this format, succumbed to their first away test series defeat since 2006.
(With inputs from the PTI)