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Proteas’ Defensive Strategy Fails as India Get Timely Wickets to Clinch Test Series 3-0

Proteas’ Defensive Strategy Fails as India Get Timely Wickets to Clinch Test Series 3-0

December 08
10:10 2015

ravinNew Delhi, Tuesday, December 8 –  It was a wonderful day for Indian Test cricket on Monday for the reason that Indian cricket team did what many did not predict when 4-match Test series began on November 5 at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. But India not only kicked off the longest format with a win but ended the same by keeping the winning momentum up.

Indian scored 334 runs while batting first.  10 wickets were lost in 117.5 overs. Pressure increased certainly when openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan were out at the scores of 12 and 33. It augmented post dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara at 14 runs. Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha scored at 1 run apiece. Sharma did not leave a long lasting impression on the cricket fans for not playing reliable innings. He definitely missed the opportunity of capitalizing the chance. The shaky innings of the host were in some way stabilized by the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who played a knock of 44 runs off 62 balls. The 27-year-old Delhi boy hit seven boundaries in his impressive play.

The man who stole the show was Ajinkya Rahane whose contribution of 127 runs off 215 was of immense use. 11 fours and 4 sixes from him lent a hand to give India a much needed boost. This also made runs to swiftly come in pocket. This wasn’t likely earlier when seven men were already sent back to the pavilion at a total score of 198 runs. Ravindra Jadeja played a knock of 24 runs in 59 balls.  Rahane was eying a support from other end which was given by Ravichandran Ashwin. The two players helped India reach at a respectable total.  When Imran Tahir dismissed Rahane, the treat of quick collapse was likely. But Ashwin played a knock of 56 runs, which included six boundaries and a huge six. South African did not take much time in dismissing Ishant Sharma to end India’s first innings.

Post earning wicket of tail-ender batsman Ashwin, Kyle Abbott out Sharma for a naught. Umesh Yadav was not out 10. India managed to score above 334 runs in 1st innings, enabling the host to heave a sigh of relief. Morne Morkel, Dean Elgar and JP Duminy got no wickets. Kyle Abbott was the leading wicket-taker. He bowled for 24.5 overs and got 5 wickets. Dane Piedt dismissed 4 men. Imran Tahir got 1 wicket. In response to the scores by Indian camp, South African innings got concluded at 121. The lead taken by India put them on a strong side. AB de Villiers was the highest scorer with 42 runs (4 x 5). Ravindra Jadeja’s five-wicket haul created the difference. Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled 12 and 13.3 overs and got two wickets each. Ishant Sharma dismissed Dane Vilas to get a wicket.

Mood of the pitch was blamed in the earlier Tests that finished in 3-day time. But story was a tad different this time as poor batting by the guests made them bear the brunt. Till the very last moment, Indian pitch conditions took them by surprise. After India declared innings post scoring 267 runs for the loss of 5 wickets, chasing the target of 481 runs wasn’t a simple task. However, keeping in mind the potential of some South African cricketers, it wasn’t hard even, especially at a time when two-day match was yet remaining.

Rahane was impressive in the second innings as well. with his unbeaten 100 runs, which consisted of eight 4s and three sixes, fetched attention of the masses once again. With his innings, this dynamic cricketer became the fifth Indian to score tons in two innings of a match. Rahane so far pocketed six centuries.

When Hashim Amla and de Villiers batted for an entire 4th Day, the match seemed inclining towards South Africa. It appeared as if they wanted to hold up India’s efforts to get a victory at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. The moment Ravindra Jadeja gave India a much sought wicket of Hashim Amla, who scored 25 runs off 244 balls, India were back in the game once again. Here is to mention that Jadeja dismissed South African captain in Proteas’ first innings as well. Faf du Plessis tried his level best not to lose his wicket. He scored just 10 runs off 97 deliveries. The left-arm orthodox spinner Jadeja showed him the way back to pavilion showing a bit variation in bowling.

More than expected bounce in the latter hours took de Villiers by surprise. JP Duminy was lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin at a zero, Dane Vilas at 13 runs and de Villiers at 43 runs. Even though he could not succeed in making his team evade the looming defeat, he received words of appreciation for facing 297 balls.

Kyle Abbott was out for a naught, Dane Piedt was out at 1 run and Morne Morkel was dismissed at 2 runs. Imran Tahir was not out at 0. South African innings came to an end at 143 runs in 143.1 overs. After winning the Freedom Series  by 3-0, Virat Kohli, who was playing his first Test on Indian soil after being appointed as the Indian captain post retirement proclamation by Mahendra Singh Dhoni late last year, was a happy man. With this victory, India have jumped to number two in the ICC Test rankings. Now, the team will look forward to some rest before next series start. As of now, Indian players are on cloud nine for the reason that the beat SA by huge 337 runs.

The triumph is special in several contexts given that it came at a time when confidence wasn’t as high as it should be after losing both ODI and T20 series at the hands of Proteas. Rahane was awarded ‘man of the match’. Indian team played as a unit and contribution from all men in some aspect made India whitewash South Africa, who were looking forward to finish the series with a  win and go back home on a positive side. What the Men in Blue hope for is a good start against the Aussies on their tour of Australia early next year.

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