India breach South Africa defence to win series 3-0
India 334 & 267-5 dec. (Rahane 100no) beat
South Africa 121 & 143 (de Villiers 43) by 337 runs
Fourth Test, Delhi, day five
Ravichandran Ashwin completed another five-wicket haul while Umesh Yadav produced a fine spell of reverse swing as India breached South Africa's defence on the final day to win the fourth Test by 337 runs and complete a 3-0 series victory.
South Africa began the final day at their overnight score of 72 for two and there was no change in their approach as the emphasis was solely on defence.
In the first 10 overs of the day, South Africa scored just four runs and saw out eight maiden overs.
The stoic defence of Hashim Amla (25) ended in the 85th over when Ravindra Jadeja (2-26) got a ball to spin away from the middle stump line and clatter into the off stump.
Faf du Plessis (10) joined AB de Villiers (43) and put on a 35-run stand that lasted for 211 deliveries.
Du Plessis scored his first run off the 53rd ball he faced before on the stroke of the lunch, two full deliveries from Yadav (3-9) bounced sharply and struck de Villiers on the gloves.
South Africa were 94 for three at the end of the first session. India had bowled 35 overs in the session and conceded just 22 runs while picking up one wicket.
Early in the second session, South Africa reached the three-figure mark in the 109th over.
Du Plessis’ defence was finally breached when Jadeja struck him on his pads in front of the middle stump with a delivery that turned sharply.
South Africa were 111 for four when JP Duminy (0) came out to bat and the left-hander was dismissed for a 12-ball duck after Ashwin (5-61) trapped him in front of the stumps in the 125th over.
India sensed an opening but a 24-run stand between Dane Vilas (13) and de Villiers saw South Africa through to the tea break with the score at 136 for five. India had bowled 66 overs in the two sessions.
In the first over of the final session, Yadav bowled an off-cutter which Vilas edged onto his stumps, ending his 50-ball knock.
In the next over, Ashwin produced a flighted off break that turned in sharply, struck de Villiers on the gloves and Jadeja completed the catch at leg slip.
The procession of wickets continued as Yadav bowled a full length reverse swinging delivery to Kyle Abbott (0) that swung back in late and broke the leg stump into two pieces. South Africa were reduced to 140 for eight.
Yadav’s incredible spell continued when he sent down a short delivery that left Dane Piedt (1) in two minds - it took an edge which flew to the right of the Wriddhiman Saha, who pulled off an extraordinary one-handed catch behind the stumps.
India completed a 3-0 series victory when Morne Morkel (2) opted to leave a delivery only to be castled by Ashwin to give him his fifth wicket in the innings.
After battling for 143.1 overs, South Africa were dismissed for 143 runs and succumbed to a 337-run loss. It was India’s biggest victory margin in terms of runs.
Ashwin and Yadav shared eight wickets between them while Jadeja accounted for the other two.
Ajinkya Rahane was the man of the match for his twin hundreds and for taking 31 wickets in the series, Ashwin was adjudged the man of the series.
The series win has taken India to the second spot in International Cricket Council Test rankings while South Africa continue to remain at top with only four points separating the two teams.
It has been a mixed tour for South Africa having defeated India in the Twenty20 International and One-Day International series while losing the Test series 3-0.
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