On the second day of the last Test at Cape Town on Thursday (January 4), India defeated South Africa by a comfortable seven wickets, with two of the players’ six-wicket hauls coming from Mohammed Siraj (6/15) and Jasprit Bumrah (6/61). The outcome, achieved in just five sessions, records the lowest match completion time in Test history.
It was clear that South Africa would need to perform exceptionally well for the match to continue into the third day after a 23-wicket first day. Although Aiden Markram appeared eager to accept the challenge, he received little encouragement from the other party. Taking full advantage of the spicy Cape Town surface, which had also gotten faster than the opening day, Bumrah was looking as deadly as ever. It made it more difficult to play the hard-length deliveries with steep bounce. But as Markram demonstrated, if batters had enough guts, there were also runs to be scored.
Within the first half hour of the second day, David Bedingham and Kyle Verreynne collapsed, and Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj also lost ground quickly. Markram, on the other end, was gradually finding his rhythm during all of this. The opener was forced to go into white-ball mode at 111/7, and although it wasn’t the easiest thing to accomplish on this field, he did it with style. As India’s pacers received criticism, even Bumrah had to face the music. Prasidh Krishna was particularly harshly treated, considering his first to Test cricket as a baptism by fire.
Markram eventually gave up after playing one stroke too many, but not before finishing with an incredible century. Markram’s knock was a masterpiece in many respects in a game where no team scored more than 200 and only other batters scored more than thirty. However, Bumrah was also quite impressive, having raised the stakes with a blazing display of pace bowling following his opening-day role as the supporting act. Despite the rough surface, South Africa managed to muster a lead of 78 thanks to Markram’s efforts, but that was just too little for the bowlers to handle. India’s batsmen went all out to smash the target in 12 overs, with Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 23-ball 28 at the top destroying any hope South Africa could have harbored.
Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli took wickets after the left-hander was removed, but by that point, the outcome was already certain. Shreyas Iyer took a couple of harsh short bounces from Rohit Sharma at one end before he blasted the winning runs against Jansen.