India shot through South Africa on the final day, taking seven wickets in the first session before going on to win by 203 runs, their third consecutive Test win by a margin of greater than 200 runs. Mohammed Shami was central to the collapse, accounting for Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock – Nos. 4, 5 and 6 – to open up the lower order, who were softened by Ravindra Jadeja before Shami returned to take the last two wickets.
A 91-run stand between Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt kept India out longer than they would have expected when they reduced South Africa to 70 for 8, but the pair’s efforts were not enough to undo the damage caused by the top-order collapse.
South Africa began the day with a potential 98 overs to play out, through which they’d have to score at nearly four an over if they harboured thoughts of a win. In the spirit of positivity that helped them put up 431 in the first innings, they got seven off the first over the day, with Theunis de Bruyn picking up a boundary against Shami. In the next over, that approach – and a similar waft outside off to his first-innings dismissal – turned a relatively innocuous R Ashwin delivery into a wicket-taking one. It stayed low and this time the inside edge went onto the stumps. It was Ashwin’s 350th Test wicket, and came shortly after Aiden Markram had been put down by the wicketkeeper.
The third wicket also came from a ball that stayed low, off the very next over, Shami sneaking a length ball under Bavuma’s defences and having him tumbling on the floor. Markram delighted with stylish boundaries through the off side and straight down the ground, and captain du Plessis looked comfortable once again. That was until he shouldered arms to an incoming delivery from Shami. To be fair to du Plessis, the ball had started well outside off stump. But Shami got the ball to dip back a long way and, with marginal help from a crack in the pitch, hit the top off of an exposed off stump.