India denied South Africa a clean sweep by winning the third and the final Test at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg by 63 runs, riding on a late burst by the Indian bowlers led by Mohammed Shami on Day 4. South Africa lost their last nine wickets for just 53 runs slumping from 124 for 1 to 177 all out. After Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla played out of their skins to frustrate the Indian bowlers for most part of the day, two quick wickets in the form of Amla (52) and AB de Villiers (6), opened the flood gates.
In the final session, Elgar continued his resistance taking body blows from the Indian pacers, who were visibly fired up, but had to see his middle-order wiped out in no time. Faf du Plessis was undone by a sharp inswinger by Ishant Sharma while Jasprit Bumrah got rid of the terribily out of form Quinton de Kock for a first-ball duck.
Shami, who had only bowled nine overs in the second innings to this point, sprang to life with the wicket of Vernon Philander (10), Andile Phehlukwayo (0) and Morne Morkel (0). Bhuvneshwar Kumar added the scalp of Kagiso Rabada (0) before Shami completed his five wicket haul with the wicket of Lungi Ngidi.
Shami finished with 5 for 28, while Elgar carried his bat through with a valiant 240-ball 86-run knock. Earlier in the day, Amla and Elgar had put South Africa in control before India came back with two quick strikes just before tea. Amla put on display an exemplary defensive technique to defy India bowlers along with Elgar who continued his streaky but courageous knock. Both struck half-centuries in a century stand before Ishant struck with the wicket of Amla on 52 thanks to an outstanding catch from Hardik Pandya. De Villiers lasted 13 deliveries before edging one from Jasprit Bumrah to gully to walk back on six. India landed two big blows in the space of 21 deliveries.
Elgar and Amla started well after the play resumed an hour late on Day 4 and they went on to add 119 runs for the second wicket before being separated. The overnight pair saw off the opening hour safely, pushing their team closer to the target on a pitch that has stolen the limelight from the on-field contest. They went for lunch without losing any wicket - the first wicketless session of the Test.
The duo continued to defy India bowlers for the better part of the second session two before the Indians hit back. Elgar, who was hit on the helmet grill by a rising delivery from Bumrah on Friday, was declared fit to bat after undergoing tests for concussion and had to battle some jittery moments despite heavy roller being applied ahead of the resumption.
The controversy over the pitch has spiced up the contest with contrasting opinions. India were adamant on continuing to play on a pitch which behaved awkwardly throughout Friday with batsmen copping blows. But the match officials halted the play after the Elgar incident with the third day's play eventually being called off.
There was no uneven bounce on Saturday morning. The pitch considerably eased out with the Indian bowlers unable to find the length that troubled South Africa on Friday. Ishant Sharma looked fired up with a testing spell but was left disappointed on multiple occasions with the ball evading the edge.