India tighten screws on Proteas

India tighten screws on Proteas

India seized control of the third Test in Nagpur on Thursday after spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shot South Africa out for a record low of 79, the lowest total ever against India.

Ashwin finished with five for 32 and Jadeja took four for 33 on a dusty surface at the VCA stadium to give the hosts a 136-run lead over their first innings score of 215.

India, who lead the four-match series 1-0, went to tea at 108-5 in their second knock to increase their overall lead to 244 runs with five wickets wickets in hand.

The home team’s batsmen showed the way to play on a turning pitch as Shikhar Dhawan (39) and Cheteshwar Pujara (31) put on 44 for the second wicket.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who was surprisingly kept out of the attack till the 25th over as India moved to 82-2, removed Dhawan, skipper Virat Kohli (16) and Ajinkya Rahane (nine) in successive overs.

From a comfortable 97-2, India slipped to 108-5 before Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha saw out time till tea without adding another run.  Resuming the second day’s play at 11-2, the Proteas suffered a sensational collapse as they lost three wickets for one run in the first four overs to slip to 12-5.

The world’s number one Test side were at that stage in danger of falling below their lowest ever total of 30, but a defiant 35 by Duminy saved them the blushes.

But South Africa’s meagre score in 33.1 overs was the lowest total by any side against India, coming in below Sri Lanka’s 82 in Chandigarh in 1990.

As the ball turned and kept low, Ashwin removed Dean Elgar off the fifth delivery of the day, the left-hander being bowled off the inside edge on his overnight score of seven.

Skipper Hashim Amla’s poor run in the series continued as he fell in Ashwin’s next over, gloving an intended sweep to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips after the ball bounced off the wicket-keeper.

Amla, who scored 43, 0 and seven in the three previous innings, managed just a single run this time before walking off even before the umpire gave him out.

Jadeja held a return catch from dangerman AB de Villiers, who failed to score, and bowled Faf du Plessis for 10 when the batsman attempted an ugly heave and missed the line of the ball.

Jadeja then bowled Dane Vilas for one and Ashwin removed Simon Harmer in similar fashion for 13 to reduce South Africa to 66-8.

Duminy, who hit two sixes off Jadeja, was ninth out when he was trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who was required to bowl just three overs in the entire innings.

The tourists, who lost the first Test in Mohali before the rain-hit second game in Bangalore was drawn, need a win to take the series into the decider in New Delhi starting December 3.

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