JOHANASBURG: India couldn’t dismiss Dean Elgar at all, but found a way around him to complete their third Test win in South Africa. He was ridiculed on the third evening for a short ball that hit him in the face and caused an interruption in the play, but Elgar tried his darnedest – in vain – to deny India. The visitors were efficient and ruthless even as Elgar and Hashim Amla went more than half the day without losing a wicket and added 119 of the 241 required for the second wicket. India waited and waited for the first breakthrough without giving away free runs, and once the wicket came they swooped in on the kill. The last nine wickets fell for 53 runs. As at Lord’s 2014, Ishant Sharma began the slide with a mid-afternoon spell of 7-2-15-2, but here the load was shared. His victims were big: Amla and Faf du Plessis. Jasprit Bumrah was equally impressive in his nine-over spell that followed up with wickets of AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. Once the two were taken off, Mohammed Shami came back from an average morning with quick, full and accurate bowling to run through the tail.
This was one of India’s great wins in Test cricket as they came here beleaguered, having lost the series, and were presented with a treacherous surface. They got most of their selections right, made the bold move of batting first, batted with extreme courage and determination with contributions all around, including a couple of 30s from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Having set South Africa 241, they would have looked at an easy job, but there were hiccups. Play was suspended 19 minutes before stumps on the third evening as the umpires were concerned about the players’ safety. After meetings, it was decided the pitch would be given a chance on the fourth morning, but overnight and early-morning rain pushed India’s quest for a win back by an hour. Agencies
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