The result was never in doubt, and a ruthless Indian unit were on top of their game as they bowled South Africa out twice in less than two days to wrap up the three-match Test series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in Pune after they won by an innings and 137 runs.
Once Virat Kohli decided to enforce the follow-on to begin Day 4 with, India’s bowlers knew the onus was on them to ensure they would not have a long day in the sun. South Africa began the day 326 runs behind India’s first innings total after being bowled out for 275 on Day 3 and were bundled out for 189 midway through the final session on Day 4.
On cue, Ishant Sharma struck with the second ball of the day when he trapped Aiden Markram for a duck with a sharp inswinger.
A few overs later, Umesh Yadav had Theunis de Bruyn (8) were dismissed, all thanks to a brilliant diving effort down the leg-side from Wriddhiman Saha.
Faf du Plessis pushed himself up the order to number 4, hoping to calm things down a little against the new ball.
The captain dug deep, and batted for 53 deliveries for five runs, before Saha pulled off yet another brilliant piece of wicket-keeping when he held onto a sharp effort after a few juggles off the bowling of Ashwin.
All this while Dean Elgar was fighting a lone battle at the other end and doing well to put away the bad deliveries while the rest of his partners folded under pressure.
After eight boundaries, with his score on 48, Elgar looked to go big over mid-on against Ashwin. Unfortunately though, Elgar was tricked by Ashwin’s guile and Umesh Yadav at mid-off completed the dismissal.
South Africa, with four batsmen back in the hut, were staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat at lunch.
Quinton de Kock (5) and Temba Bavuma had a mountain to climb, and the southpaw was keen on smashing the spinners out of the park. Ravindra Jadeja was having none of that and spun it sharply from outside off-stump and knocked over the stumps in the second over of the second session.
Senuran Muthusamy and Bavuma came together after that for a 90-ball sixth wicket partnership that produced 46 runs. But more importantly, saw an out of form Bavuma rebuild some of his confidence as both dug in and defended resolutely.
Bavuma (38), who batted for 63 deliveries, did not miss out on the boundaries and picked off four boundaries and a maximum too. He went looking for another one against Jadeja but only managed to edge it to Rahane, who took a sharp catch at first slip.
Muthusamy did not last very much longer as a vicious short one from Shami took the edge and Rohit Sharma took a sharp catch in the slips and the Proteas were reduced to 129/7.
Vernon Philander (37) announced his arrival to the middle with a couple of huge sixes of Jadeja, before joining hands with Keshav Maharaj to frustrate Kohli and co till the tea interval.
A few lusty hits and 56 runs later, a loose delivery from Umesh produced an edge from Philander down the leg side and Saha took a regulation catch, much to the delight of everyone who weren’t enjoying the 8th wicket partnership.
Five deliveries later, Umesh had his third wicket of the innings, as Kagiso Rabada was caught at slip by Rohit Sharma. And two more deliveries later, Jadeja trapped Maharaj lbw for 22 as India romped home to a comprehensive win by an innings and 137 runs.
With the victory, India also registered their 11th consecutive home series win, beating the previous record of ten straight home series wins set by Australia on two occasions.
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