Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja combined to devastating effect in the second innings to power India’s comprehensive 203-run win against Africa on the fifth and final day of the first Test on Sunday in Visakhapatnam.
At lunch, the hosts were left tottering at 117/8, kept afloat only by the brave rearguard action of Senuran Muthusamy and Dane Piedt. The duo put together a solid 91-run run stand for the ninth wicket to frustrate the Indian bowlers.
But the partnership was finally broken by Shami, who became first Indian pacer since Javagal Srinath in 1996 to take a five-wicket haul in the fourth innings of a home Test.
Kagiso Rabada was the last man out as Muthusamy was denied a deserving half century, remaining unbeaten on 49.
Earlier, Shami took three key wickets early in the morning session, including that of skipper Faf du Plessis (13), to hit Proteas hopes of saving the game after they were set a victory target of 395.
Jadeja soon joined forces to run through the lower order with his left-arm spin and sent back overnight batsman Aiden Markram (29) with a one-handed return catch. The left-armer took three wickets in that one over.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin struck first to clean up overnight batsman Theunis de Bruyn (10) as he became the joint fastest to 350 wickets in his 66th Test, joining spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
Shami then bowled Temba Bavuma for nought on a delivery that stayed low on the final-day pitch that offered variable bounce.
The veteran paceman came back in his second spell to rattle the stumps of du Plessis, who was leaving an incoming delivery, and Quinton de Kock, for zero.
Jadeja, who got first innings centurion Dean Elgar late Saturday, struck three times in one over to put India on the brink of taking a 1-0 lead in the series, with the hosts wrapping things up in the second session.
It was senior batsman Rohit Sharma who put India in pole position with a century in each innings on debut as a Test opener – a first by any batsman in five-day history.
With AFP Inputs