Ashwin wrecks South Africa, India clinch series

NAGPUR, India, (Reuters) – Ravichandran Ashwin led South Africa’s rout on a spinners’ paradise as India romped to a 124-run victory with more than two days to spare in the third test to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series yesterday.

The off-spinner claimed seven second innings wickets while leg-spinner Amit Mishra grabbed the remaining three as South Africa, chasing 310 to stay alive in the contest, folded for 185.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin

The setback also meant South Africa, currently the top ranked team in this format, succumbed to their first away test series defeat since 2006.

“It’s very pleasing indeed, especially after South Africa own the T20 and the one-day series here,” Virat Kohli said after sealing his first home test series victory as India captain.

“They are a tough side to beat. Sealing the series in Nagpur feels very good.”

Ashwin, who had claimed five wickets in the first innings, made the most of the turning track at the VCA Stadium, dismissing Dean Elgar (18) and AB de Villiers (nine) in the morning to peg back South Africa.

South Africa skipper Hashim Amla dug in to negate the spin, playing with soft hands so edges did not carry to slip, while Faf du Plessis used his feet well against the spinners.

In a test match that saw 32 wickets tumble on the first two days, the pair showed grit and determination to thwart the Indian bowlers for more than 46 overs with the biggest partnership in the low-scoring contest.

The duo survived numerous leg-before and bat-pad catch appeals before Mishra ended the 72-run stand that unhinged the visitors.

Amla offered an edge off the top half of his bat to perish in gully and in Mishra’s next over, Du Plessis lost his stump to a ball that kept low. Both batsmen contributed 39 runs each.

“Mishra showed great character in that tough phase to get Hashim out first and then Du Plessis in back-to-back overs. That was the turning point for us,” Kohli said.

Ashwin then returned to mow down the Proteas tail to finish with a match haul of 12 wickets that also earned him the man-of-the-match award.

“To be quite honest we could have got bowled out for 100 (in the second innings), there were lot of plays-and-misses and chances that could have gone to hand,” Amla said with characteristic candour.

“We tried to dig deep as long as we can. For me the biggest thing was whether you win or lose, do it as honourably as possible,” the Proteas skipper said after his team were beaten inside three days for the second time in the series.

Delhi hosts the fourth and final test from Dec. 3.

Scoreboard

India 1st innings 215 (S. Harmer 4-78)
South Africa 1st innings 79 (R. Ashwin 5-32, R. Jadeja 4-33)
India 2nd innings 173 (I. Tahir 5-38)
South Africa 2nd innings (Overnight: 32-2; Target: 310 runs)
D. Elgar c Pujara b Ashwin                         18
S. van Zyl c Ro. Sharma b Ashwin             5
I. Tahir lbw b Mishra                                     8
H. Amla c Kohli b Mishra                           39
A. de Villiers lbw b Ashwin                          9
F. du Plessis b Mishra                                  39
J. Duminy lbw b Ashwin                             19
D. Vilas c Saha b Ashwin                            12
S. Harmer not out                                           8
K. Rabada c Kohli b Ashwin                       6
M. Morkel b Ashwin                                      4
Extras (b-9 lb-5 nb-4)                                 18
Total (all out, 89.5 overs)                     185
Fall of wickets: 1-17 S. van Zyl,2-29 I. Tahir,3-40 D. Elgar,4-58 A. de Villiers,5-130 H. Amla,6-135 F. du Plessis,7-164 J. Duminy,8-167 D. Vilas,9-177 K. Rabada,10-185 M. Morkel To bat: Bowling I. Sharma 15 – 6 – 20 – 0(nb-4) R. Ashwin 29.5 – 7 – 66 – 7 R. Jadeja 25 – 12 – 34 – 0 A. Mishra 20 – 2 – 51 – 3 Referees Umpire: Ian Gould Umpire: Bruce Oxenford TV umpire: Anil Chaudhary Match referee: Jeff Crowe Result: India won by 124 runs

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