ICC Live

CT 2017 - Buy Tickets - 300x250

Tweet

What are your thoughts on this article?

Ashwin, Yadav break down spirited South African resistance

India climbs to No. 2 in ICC Test rankings after 337-run win at the Kotla sets up 3-0 series triumph

Ashwin, Yadav break down spirited South African resistance - Cricket News
India overcame gritty resistance from South Africa's batsmen to win the fourth Test by 337 runs.
It took the Indians nearly six hours to displace AB de Villiers from the batting crease. It took the Indians a little over five overs to knock over the last five South African batsmen. And then it took less than 10 seconds for jubilant fielders to pluck out all three stumps behind a bewildered Morne Morkel, who had shouldered arms to R Ashwin and been bowled to give India a 337-run win and a 3-0 series scoreline. This was also India’s highest victory margin in terms of runs, beating their 320-run defeat of Australia in Mohali in 2008.
 
The end, when it came, was as swift as it was clinical, but India was forced to work their hardest to earn this win in the final Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday (December 7). De Villiers is a self-confessed Manchester United fan, so he may not have had Jose Mourinho’s “parking the bus” strategy in mind when he set out to defy India. Parking the bus, in football parlance, is the practice of playing ultra-defensively, usually against a superior team, in order to try and force a goalless draw, referring to the act of virtually parking a bus in front of the goal.
 
De Villiers did not merely park the bus, he deflated the tires, drained the fuel tank and threw away the keys. Hashim Amla had set the template down, but the man most people believe is the most talented all-round batsman in the world at the moment showed that anything someone else can do, he can do better.
 


Amla and de Villiers continued their epic stonewalling, presenting bats more dead than your average Egyptian mummy, irrespective of whether the ball that came at them was spun hard, swung late, kept low, kicked up or did not even bounce at all. For 12.5 overs on the final morning of the Delhi Test which South Africa resumed on 72 for 2, India was up against two high-quality practitioners whose bats appeared to get wider and wider as the game wore on. It was Ravindra Jadeja who broke through, literally and figuratively. Amla pushed forward but did not quite get to the pitch of a ball that dipped late, dropped like a stone, gripped the surface and turned precisely enough to beat the edge and clip the outside of the offstump. Amla had lasted 244 balls, eating up nearly five hours for his 25.
 
While it was Jadeja who moved the game forward, the South Africans were at the receiving end of a high quality spell of reverse swing bowling from Umesh Yadav, who found that one spot on the pitch from where the ball reared up. De Villiers wore one on his bottom hand, the index finger jarred so hard that he immediately dropped the bat. The physio was out with the magic spray just overs later when Yadav similarly rapped the right glove. Battered, bruised, but expressionless, de Villiers kept going, showing that a man who could hit a century off 31 balls could also consume 225 balls getting to his 31st run when the situation demanded it.
 
Faf du Plessis, a veteran of blockathons, needed to be given no instructions whatsoever when he arrived at the crease, resolutely refusing to score off the first 52 balls he faced. With de Villiers, du Plessis had stilled the scoring rate and stymied the Indians for nearly two hours, when the Jadeja arm-ball did the trick again, nailing the batsman in front of the stumps.
 


Dane Vilas began with a cheery drive, but a quick word from de Villiers ensured that normal service resumed as Jadeja wheeled his arm over for maiden over after maiden over, at one point sending down 109 consecutive deliveries that were not scored of. Only Hugh Tayfield (137) and Bapu Nadkarni (130) have produced longer dry spells, in the history of the game, than Jadeja on the day.
 
Vilas was so intent keeping the spinners out, he failed to pick Umesh’s offcutter, hanging his bat out for the ball to crash into the stumps via the inside edge. Two balls later, the game was sealed as Ashwin produced a fizzing, spitting offbreak that jumped up at de Villiers and kissed the glove before safely ballooning to the fielder at leg-slip. De Villiers’s vigil lasted longer than the average sit-in protest, and had much the same feel, spanning five hours and 45 minutes. That he made 43 was irrelevant, but the fact that he fell short of his triple-century, of balls faced, was less so.
 
Kyle Abbott had his stumps flattened, and broken, by a Yadav inducker and Wriddhiman Saha turned superman Saha, leaping to his right to take a stunning one-handed catch to send back Dane Piedt. Yadav, who has a career economy rate of just over four, returned figures of 21-16-9-3, even shading Jadeja whose numbers were 46-33-26-2. When Ashwin completed his five-wicket haul to bowl South Africa out for 143, and seal the deal, it showed just how hard this Indian team would push for victory. Parking the bus may work in certain football games, but two quality spinners on Indian pitches will find a way to get the ball around corners, and victory may be delayed, but not denied.

Similar Articles