South Africa won the second Test, in Durban, by 10 wickets, and with it the two-Test series 1-0.
At Kingsmead, on a bright and sunny final day of the tour, the hosts raced to 59 without loss shortly after tea, after dismissing the visitors for 223 runs in their second innings.
Openers Graeme Smith (27 not out, 33 balls, four fours, one six) and Alviro Petersen (31 not out, 37 balls, five fours, one six) were the unbeaten batsmen as retiring all-rounder Jacques Kallis was not required to bat.
This was, however, the perfect send-off for him after his 115 in South Africa's first innings set them on course for the win which extends their lead at the top of the ICC Test rankings.
Mohammad Shami (0-4), Ishant Sharma (0-29), Ravindra Jadeja (0-16) and Rohit Sharma (0-10) tried to make the small run-chase difficult. But with only 58 runs needed for victory, it was never going to be troublesome.
This was after Dale Steyn (3-47) and Robin Peterson (4-74) shared six wickets between them in the morning session to dislodge India's quest of playing out the day for a draw. Ajinkya Rahane played a fine rearguard innings scoring 96 runs off 157 balls (eleven fours, two sixes), a lone hand considering that none of the frontline batsmen could make an important contribution in order to save the match.
After Steyn and Peterson did the early damage, Vernon Philander (3-43) chipped in and Morne Morkel (0-34) provided able support as the Indians lost 5 wickets for 105 runs in the morning session. JP Duminy (0-20) didn’t bowl on this morning.
Starting at 173 for seven after lunch, all that was left for Rahane and Zaheer Khan to do was delay the inevitable as long as possible. And they did for nearly ten overs, as Rahane started farming the strike.
With the pacers unable to get this breakthrough and the second new ball fast approaching, Peterson was brought on in the 76th over and the move paid off two overs later, with the Indian veteran trapped LBW. He scored three runs, but faced 41 balls, and put up 35 runs with Rahane.
The latter then brought out his shots in order to get to his maiden Test hundred, smacking five fours and two sixes, as he raced to the nineties.
At the other end, Steyn got Ishant Sharma (1) in the 85th over and celebrated his 350th Test wicket with vigour. And in the very next over, Rahane was bowled by Philander, a huge swipe gunning for glory missing and the stumps shattered.
Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara (32 runs, 100 balls, four fours) and Virat Kohli (11 runs 27 balls, one four) were the unbeaten batsmen as they started from 68 for two overnight. India had their two best batsmen from the tour at the crease, and any hopes of seeing the day out rested on their shoulders.
All of it came to nought as Kohli was out off the first delivery of the day. Steyn bowled a short of length delivery outside the off-stump and the batsman played at it, though didn’t make contact. The ball seemed to have brushed his shoulder on its way to the keeper and umpire Rod Tucker adjudged him out.
This was his second bad decision after giving Jacques Kallis out LBW off an inside edge in the first Test at Johannesburg, although it probably was more costly that his first mistake.
16 balls later, Steyn bowled a superb delivery to fox Pujara, who thought he had covered the line of the ball. But his off-stump was rocked back as the batting side’s hopes were deflated.
Rohit Sharma (25 runs, 46 balls, two fours, one six), at the other end, meanwhile was looking to make a first mark on this tour. He was involved in a verbal duel with Steyn, and looked to be in control when he hit a four off him in the 43rd over and then a six off Peterson three overs later. But it was a wrong ray of hope for the visitors, as Philander trapped him LBW, the ball jagging back off the pitch in the 51stover.
Rahane was joined by skipper MS Dhoni (15) in the middle and they looked to play for time, putting up 42 runs. Just when it looked they could avoid further damage, Dhoni was out caught at midwicket off Peterson, as the ball stopped him and he couldn’t control his pull shot.
Ravindra Jadeja (8) played a horrific shot to hole out soon after, even as Rahane looked for some support from the tail-enders. He found that in Zaheer, who stayed on long enough to help him get his second half-century of the match.
On day one, India won the toss and elected to bat first following which the 140-run stand between Vijay and Pujara for the second wicket took them to 181 for one when bad light halted play approximately ninety minutes before stumps. On day two, Dale Steyn took six for 100 to dismiss India for 334 runs, after rain washed out the morning session.
On day three, rain intervened again in the third session, after Jadeja took four wickets and Kallis stroked a counter-attacking half-century to take South Africa to 299 for five at close of play. The latter completed his 45th Test hundred on day four, with the left-arm spinner taking six for 138 as South Africa built a lead of 166 runs, putting up 500 runs in their first innings.
The first Test of the series, played at Johannesburg, was drawn, after a pulsating fifth day, wherein South Africa just stopped eight runs short of a world-record fourth innings’ chase after India had set them a target of 458 runs.
© Cricket World 2013