India break blockathon to win series 3-0
Test side’s resurgence began in Australia – Kohli, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Ravichandran Ashwin, India v South Africa at Delhi, South Africa tour of India, India cricket, South Africa cricket. India wraps up 3-0 series win against India vs South Africa
India broke past stubborn stonewalling from an AB de Villiers-led South African line-up to wrap up a 337-run win in the Delhi Test and take the series 3-0
The scorecard will say South Africa were bowled out for 143, another low score in series where they only passed 200 once in seven attempts. It will say India won by 337 runs to complete a 3-0 series win. But for anyone who didn’t witness the Delhi Test, it will take a closer reading to appreciate the extent of South Africa’s fourth-innings defiance and India’s struggle to bowl them out. Between them, India’s four specialist bowlers sent down 136.1 overs, bowled 87 maidens against a set of batsmen who had made up their minds to block everything.
In the end, South Africa simply had too much to do. AB de Villiers played out 297 balls, Hashim Amla 244, and Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis ate up a fair share of deliveries in a concerted effort of stonewalling. But to do so for more than five sessions was simply too much of an ask on a slow Feroz Shah Kotla surface that began deteriorating halfway through the final day.
Having lost only five wickets in 138 overs until tea on day five, South Africa lost their last five wickets in the space of 27 balls. Umesh Yadav, bowling fast and reversing the ball appreciably, bowled Dane Vilas and Kyle Abbott, and had Dane Piedt caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha diving in front of first slip. But the big wicket was that of de Villiers, who had been at the crease since early in the final session of day four. Having defended resolutely and taken a series of painful blows on the glove, he wasn’t able to keep out an R Ashwin offbreak that spat at him from a good length. The ball popped off that much-battered glove and settled in leg slip’s hands.
It was only fitting that Ashwin, the best bowler on either side right through the series, ended the match with another five-for, bowling Morne Morkel as he shouldered arms to a ball that drifted into him through the air and spun less than expected. He ended the series with 31 wickets and his fifth Man-of-the-Series award.
Till his dismissal, de Villiers had been a picture of calm at the crease, his footwork precise but not extravagant, moving him into compact positions from where he watched the ball closely and defended at the last possible moment. He was not getting as close to the pitch of the ball as Amla had consistently done, and there were more edges as a result. However, his hands were impeccably soft, and the ball died a painless death a short distance from the bat and well away from the close-in fielders.