Ravichandran Ashwin displayed his spin magic yet again as he led India to a 124 run victory with his career-best figures of 7 for 66. With more than 2 days to spare in third test in Nagpur, India takes 2-0 lead in four match series.
This is the first series defeat for South Africa, currently the top ranked team in this format since 2006.South Africa’s excellent record of 15 unbeaten series overseas in the last nine years was crushed by India. That meant the West Indies‘ record of 18 unbeaten away series achieved over a period of 16 years remained unbroken.
This was also Virat Kohli’s first Test series at home as captain and India’s first series win over the SA since 2004-05.
“Ashwin has been a champion bowler for us. He’s been taking wickets for us everywhere. Even on the Australia tour he was more aggressive with the ball. Even in his mindset, he’s bowling in a more aggressive manner. It’s almost impossible to get him away. He’s bowling beautifully right now and I’m glad to see him with this kind of mindset, attacking the batsmen all the time,” said Kohli.
Nagpur Pitch had a sharp turn from Day 1 of the test and even Indian batsmen were seen struggling as they ended up all out on 215 runs and it looked like SA had enough time to put some pressure on hosts. However, Ashwin’s five-wicket haul and Ravindra Jadeja’s four crucial wickets crashed South African Giants to 79 all out in first innings leaving SA’s with lowest ever total against hosts.
In second innings, South Africa’s bowlers made a short comeback with some fiery spells, putting up a more improved performance and restricted the hosts to 173. But a second innings target of 310 was too much even for the world’s number one Test side.
AB De Villiers tried his best to put Ashwin off his length by jumping out of the crease as often as he could, but he kept failing to do so. At last he was lbw for 9 runs to a carrom ball by Ashwin.
Hashim Amla and du Plessis did offer some resistance on the third afternoon but Ashwin’s brilliance and Amit Mishra’s crucial wickets ensured India’s victory in the match and series as well.
The off-spinner claimed seven second innings wickets while leg-spinner Amit Mishra roped the remaining three wickets to wrap up the test.