India dismissed South Africa for 189 inside 70 overs to win the second Test and the series by an innings and 137 runs with a day to spare in Pune. The hosts have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The third Test starts in Ranchi on Saturday. Virat Kohli’s men have also boosted their points tally in the World Test championship after this result.
Except off-spinner R Ashwin and pacer Mohd Shami in patches, no Indian bowler looked that threatening on a pitch that was losing its zip and freshness with every passing over. However, soft dismissals after being put under pressure and smart fielding were the patterns for the day. Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha led from behind the wicket with two of the three dismissals inside the first 24 overs. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma joined him in the fielding act.
Shami bowled some darts creating a beautiful angle. He showed left-handed Senuran Muthusamy his place with a short probing missile. The prod landed in Rohit Sharma’s palms in the second slip. The batsman also took a good catch in the slips to dismiss Kagiso Rabada.
Standing close to the stumps and sometimes leaning on his knees at short gully, Rohit also took blows on his body. So did Saha, who again justified his selection ahead of Rishabh Pant. But South Africa’s mainstay, Dean Elgar, took a chance like Pant and the visitors paid heavily for that. Du Plessis had got out 10 balls before and Bavuma was yet to open his account at 71-3 in the 24th over. Still, Elgar went for the expansive lofted drive off R Ashwin but mistimed it.
Jadeja got rid of Quinton De Kock when the wicket-keeper tried a hoick, but missed it and was castled. Though Jadeja (3) got more wickets than Ashwin (2) in this innings, the latter gave ample demonstration of his greatness with subtle variations and the ability to play on the batsman’s mind.
Not that the South African batsmen didn’t have their moments. Bavuma appeared to have settled down when he square drove Jadeja and lofted him over widish long-on for fours and Elgar was mixing things up nicely before the brain fade. Philander, who scored an unbeaten 44 in the first-innings, started with entertaining boundaries.
India take 326-run lead
Keshav Maharaj and Vernon Philander's strong rearguard action for South Africa was brought to an end as Ashwin wrapped up South Africa's first innings on Day 3 of the second Test. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis also put up a brave fight, scoring 64 before losing his wicket. Ashwin starred for India as he picked up four wickets, Umesh Yadav took three, Mohammed Shami two while Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with a wicket as South Africa were bowled out for 275, giving India a 326-run first innings lead.
Earlier, Virat Kohli scored a career-best 254 not out and moved past 7,000 test runs to help India take command on Day 2. Largely thanks to its captain's seventh double-century in tests, India declared its first innings on 601-5 and had reduced the Proteas to 36-3 after 15 overs by stumps.
Kohli moved ahead of compatriots Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, who each scored six, and into joint-fourth on the list for most test double-centuries - level with Wally Hammond (England) and Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka). Kohli's score surpassed his previous best - 243 against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2017 - and included 33 fours as well as two sixes.