What a fightback it was from the No 1 Test side in the world as they finished the Test series against the Proteas on a high by winning the final Test at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium by 63 runs to finish the series on a high. It was a magnificent piece of fast bowling by the Indian bowlers especially in the final session of Day 4 as South Africa collapsed embarrassingly and lost their last nine wickets for a mere 53 runs.
The day began with Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar applying themselves brilliantly in the crease and was hardly troubled by the Indian bowling line-up despite an inconsistent bounce in the pitch. Both played some delightful shots, and South Africa was cruising towards the victory target when Ishant Sharma turned the game on its head with the dismissal of Hashim Amla.
It was an uppish flick which was pocketed brilliantly by Hardik Pandya and from there on it was a roller coaster ride for the Indian bowlers. Steep bounce from a delivery from Jasprit Bumrah was enough to send back AB de Villiers to the pavilion while Ishant castled skipper Faf du Plessis with a terrific inswinger which nipped back sharply and kept low.
Quinton de Kock bagged a golden duck as Jasprit Bumrah struck him plumb in front with fast delivery and the on-field umpire Ian Gould had no hesitation in ruling the decision in favour of the visitors. Vernon Philander struck a boundary and was looking to be the thorn in India’s flesh yet again when he chopped on a short delivery from Mohammed Shami straight on to his stumps.
The fast bowler dismissed Andile Phewlukwayo in the same over with a full-length delivery and the southpaw chopped it on to his stumps. The next wicket went to Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he gave a simple catch to Murali Vijay stationed in the 1st slip. Shami came back strongly yet again as he castled Morne Morkel with an unplayable Yorker. He finished off proceedings with the wicket of Lungi Ngidi as India completed a famous victory at the Wanderers and kept their unbeaten record in the stadium intact.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said that he would have taken a 2-1 series victory in heir favour hands down ahead of the series as India is a terrific team. He further said that they were outplayed by India in the series but was happy to win the series.
Here is what du Plessis said in the post-match presentation ceremony
“I think India outplayed us in this Test. We didn’t take our chances. We were just sloppy. From the bowling point of view, we weren’t consistent as the previous Tests. From a fielding point of view, we were just average compared to Centurion. India were the better team. It was a surprise how the surface played this morning. Once we got through that, Elgar and Hashim (had a) great partnership together. But the wicket tells you that the bowlers tend to do a bit more. We were disappointed to lose the series. If you asked me 2-1 before the series, I’d have taken it hands down. India is a fantastic side. We played very good cricket throughout the series and are the deserved series winners and I am very proud of my team. There’s a lot of limited-overs cricket against a very good Indian side and then we have the Australia series.”