2nd Test: India storm to 7-wicket win over South Africa

Cape Town, Jan 4: Fast-bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah bagged a six-wicket haul and set the base for India beating South Africa by seven wickets inside two days at Newlands Cricket Ground here to end the two-match series 1-1.

South Africa began Day Two with them still trailing India, who scored 153 in their first innings, by 36 runs, and they managed to enter the lead, thanks to Aiden Markram’s stunning 106 off 103 balls coming under pressure, especially when none of his teammates reached 20. But Bumrah continued to strike and picked 6-61 to bowl out South Africa for 176 at the stroke of lunch.

Chasing 79, India took only 12 overs to chase the target, with Yashasvi Jaiswal leading the charge by striking six boundaries in his aggressive 23-ball 28. Though India lost him, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli, captain Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer, troubled by short balls, hung around to hit boundaries and make India the first Asian team to win a Test match in Cape Town.

Apart from levelling the series, India has secured 12 important World Test Championship points after losing the first Test at Centurion inside three days, which meant Dean Elgar signed off from international cricket in a losing cause.

With the match decided in four and a half sessions, at 624 balls (107 overs), the Cape Town Test match between South Africa and India is now the shortest-ever completed game in the history of the longest format of the game.

Resuming from 62/3, the pitch offered excessive variable bounce and seam movement, Bumrah struck in the very first over of the day by having David Bedingham drive away from the body and nicked behind to wicketkeeper K.L Rahul.

Despite South Africa finding runs via streaky boundaries, Bumrah had another scalp when Kyle Verreynne tried to pull a short-of-length ball but holed out to mid-on. But Markram had other ideas on a tough pitch, playing a gorgeous drive off Mukesh Kumar to reach his fifty in 68 balls.

Bumrah, though, continued to pick scalps as he took a stunning return catch on Marco Jansen’s chip and had Keshav Maharaj drive to gully for picking his five-wicket haul. With wickets falling from the other end, Markram went for the attack, pulling Mukesh and bringing out the on-drive against Bumrah for boundaries.

He lofted and cut off Mohammed Siraj for two boundaries and had a reprieve on 73 when Rahul dropped a simple catch. Markram took a liking to Prasidh Krishna, dispatching him for two fours and two sixes in an over yielding 20 runs.

Markram then hit back-to-back fours off Bumrah to reach a scintillating century and dedicated the hundred to his captain Dean Elgar, who was jubilant in the dressing room. His brilliant knock was ended by Siraj when he mistimed the slog to long-off, where captain Rohit Sharma took the catch and threw the ball into the ground in frustration.

In the next over, Kagiso Rabada hit the ball straight to mid-off against Prasidh and Nandre Burger along with Lungi Ngidi added 14 runs for the final wicket, before Bumrah had the latter edging to the third slip to keep South Africa’s lead to 78 and take his sixth scalp of the innings.

In the chase, Jaiswal went for the attack from the word go, throwing the kitchen sink at every ball to get runs aplenty. He and Rohit helped India reach 44/0 in just 33 balls, before Jaiswal holed out to mid-wicket, though he did his job. Gill was castled on low bounce by Rabada, while Kohli was strangled down leg off Jansen. Iyer’s winning boundary over mid-on then settled a topsy-turvy match in India’s favour.

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