SA up 1-0 following yet another demolition act by pace

The last frontier for India will have to be crossed at a later date. On the third evening in Centurion, they collapsed batting, folding for 131 in less than 34 overs, allowing South Africa to win the two-match series 1-0 and by an innings and 32 runs.

India’s batting display was a stark contrast to South Africa’s earlier in the day, where Marco Jansen (84*) amassed his best Test total and Dean Elgar (185) recorded his second-highest. Ultimately, the hosts’ 163-run lead proved to be too much, as the Indian hitters appeared completely overwhelmed by the pace and bounce available in Centurion.

If Kagiso Rabada’s five-wicket haul in the first innings was the reason, then this time it was the left-arm angles of Nandre Burger and Marco Jansen, who combined to share seven wickets on a pitch where India’s bowlers battled for nine wickets in 108.4 overs.

Once more, Rabada produced the first breakthrough when he dismissed Rohit Sharma with a brilliant delivery that went past the batter’s forward defense and struck the stumps. Furthermore, there was no respite on the other end either; Shubman Gill got ensnared by a very full delivery from Marco Jansen, while Yashasvi Jaiswal gloved one behind when attempting to leave an extra-bouncing delivery from Burger. Jansen’s round-the-wicket angle was tough for Shreyas Iyer to handle as well, and he quickly chopped onto the stumps.

Burger then took two wickets in two balls, first catching first-inning star KL Rahul at second slip and then edging Ravichandran Ashwin to gully. The innings ended appropriately when Virat Kohli, the lone batsman who appeared comfortable in the middle, was removed on 76 by a magnificent catch from Rabada at long-on. India went on to lose their final five wickets for only 35 runs.

Elgar and Jansen were able to amass up to 136 runs in the morning session since the visitors had got off to a poor start. And the way it all came together felt familiar: get past Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, then profit from Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur’s bowling.


In reality, Prasidh gave up 24 runs in his first three overs and was replaced by Thakur, who was equally as bad. Nevertheless, Thakur did produce the miracle ball to get rid of Elgar, a lifter that the former captain of South Africa was unable to glove behind. India was irritated by the 111-run partnership that the two had shared for the sixth wicket, which came to a stop with the wicket. 


After tea, India performed better and dismissed South Africa in 8.4 overs. Jasprit Bumrah, who didn’t seem to be at his best during the Test, ended up with four wickets, but Rohit Sharma’s squad was never in the lead after giving up a sizable lead on a hot surface. Furthermore, the pacers’ actions after that weren’t entirely improbable.

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