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World Test Championship

South Africa create history in Johannesburg to level series

SA v IND, second Test, fourth day report

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South Africa registered their first-ever win over India in Johannesburg with skipper Dean Elgar's unbeaten 96 leading the fourth innings run chase.

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Four years after losing a Test to India at the venue, South Africa, led by a defiant skipper Dean Elgar, created history at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on day four of the second Test match against India with a seven-wicket win, chasing down 240 in the fourth innings, their highest successful run chase at the venue.

It was also their highest successful run chase in the fourth innings since pulling off an incredible run chase of 414 in Perth in 2008 against Australia.

Elgar, who had made 86 not out in 240 balls in South Africa’s loss to India in 2018, defied the odds again for the home side, putting on crucial partnerships with Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma to turn the tide South Africa’s way on a rain-marred day in Johannesburg.

Earlier in the day, we had a lengthy delay because of persistent rains with two sessions lost to it. When it finally relented, there was a maximum of 34 overs possible in the day on a moisture-laden surface.

Jasprit Bumrah started off proceedings with a terrific delivery that seamed away to beat Rassie van der Dussen’s edge, but for the next half an hour, that remained one of the only few times the South African batters looked genuinely uncomfortable. Dean Elgar and van der Dussen started on a positive note, adding 43 runs in the first 10 overs of the day.

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In the search for wickets, India started off with Ravichandran Ashwin from one end but quickly aborted that plan to bring Mohammed Shami into the attack alongside Bumrah. The surface helped seam movement, and the uneven bounce saw South African batters cop a few blows. But they kept the scoreboard constantly ticking, helped by a couple of overhead wides for four by the Indian quicks.

In his fifth over, Shami, who was constantly probing the off-stump of the duo, finally broke the defiant 82-run stand, forcing an edge to the cordon off van der Dussen with one that shaped away from him. Cheteshwar Pujara hung on at first slip and India found an opening to exploit with a new batter at the crease. Shami found an outside edge off Elgar next over, but it flew over the slip cordon for a boundary much to India’s agony.

India had another chance to wrestle control in the game when Temba Bavuma, just one ball into his innings, offered a return chance to Thakur, only for the bowler to drop the catch. Just as it seemed India would break through again, Elgar transferred the pressure back onto the Indians with back-to-back boundaries off Shami.

South Africa grew in confidence as the Elgar-Bavuma partnership flourished. India turned to Mohammed Siraj, who had bowled just four overs in the innings after pulling his hamstring, and soon the South African opener was dealing in boundaries, smashing three in Siraj’s second over.

Fittingly, it was Elgar that hit the winning runs, flicking Ashwin for a four to finish on an unbeaten 96 and lead his side to a memorable series-levelling win.

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