After the first two Tests, a Test win for India in South Africa was looking unlikely to happen but they turned it around in the third and the last Test. They didn’t only win, but won in a way that surprised the cricket world.
When South Africa was on 100/1, it looked like the hopes are all over for the men in blue, but it took just some moments for the miracle to happen and they knocked out Proteas for just 177 runs to ensure a famous 63 runs in the last Test.
On a pitch that showed few of the tumultuous signs it exhibited on the third day, when it was at risk of being labeled ‘unfit’ by the match officials, South Africa looked set for a sensational comeback before losing their last nine wickets for just 53 runs to be bowled out for 177.
Elgar was left stranded on 86 after facing 240 largely testing deliveries, carrying his bat for the second time in Test cricket. The left-hander is known for gutsy innings’, but this will rate up among the best of them even if it was Mohammed Shami who decided the match with his third Test five-wicket haul.
Once Amla was gone for 52, none of the South African batsmen could get in. AB de Villiers was uneasy against Bumrah from the start, and fell to the seamer for the third time in the series when he edged to Ajinkya Rahane at gully. South Africa were still favourites when they went to tea on 136 for three, but in the third session India roared to victory.
With 84 still to get and seven wickets down, Elgar had run out of partners. A sizeable Wanderers crowd had come in as the weather cleared with the hope of cheering their team to victory, but they were increasingly silenced. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar remaining the final obstacle in Kagiso Rabada, it was left to Shami to administer the last rites – after a final cameo partnership between Elgar and Lungi Ngidi – as he finished with figures of 5 for 28.
South Africa won the three match Test series, but India earned some serious pride by making a strong comeback to finish the series 2-1.
Brief scores: India 187 (Virat Kohli 54; Kagiso Rabada 3-39) & 247 (Ajinkya Rahane 48; Morne Morkel 3-47) beat South Africa 194 (Hashim Amla 61; Jasprit Bumrah 5-54) & 177 (Dean Elgar 86*; Mohammed Shami 5-28) by 63 runs