India have beaten South Africa by seven wickets to earn the quickest victory in the history of Test cricket inside two days at Newlands.
India, who’d been inspired on Thursday by Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant six-wicket haul, then chased down a modest victory target of 79 to claim the second Test and share the series at 1-1 as the extraordinary contest finished inside five sessions.
Only Aiden Markram, with a stunning century, showed real defiance for South Africa but India quickly ended their second innings on 3-80 in the post-lunch session as they launched an assault to try and negate a difficult wicket that was still helping the bowlers.
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Rohit Sharma finished not out on 16 and Shreyas Iyer on four, with Yashasvi Jaiswal (28), Shubman Gill (10) and Virat Kohli (12) being the wickets to fall.
There will be plenty of scrutiny of the Newlands pitch with the match completed in 642 balls, the shortest-ever completed Test, beating Australia’s 656-ball victory over South Africa in 1932.
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“Obviously it’s a great feat, but having said that we had to learn from whatever mistakes we made (in the first Test),” India captain Rohit Sharma said.
“When you come to this part of the world, it’s always difficult but we take pride in our performance outside of India.”
South Africa coach Shukri Conrad refused to blame his players for the loss.
“It is a sad state of affairs when you need more luck than skill to survive in a Test match,” Conrad said of the loss.
Jasprit Bumrah grabbed six wickets in the second innings. Credit: AP
“Take nothing away from India, they were superb, but you are not going to win many tests scoring 55 (in the first innings).
“This has come as a shock to the system, but I will not lay the blame on our playing XI.”
South Africa, who won the toss and elected to bat, will look back with dismay on a desperately poor first innings in which they were bowled out for 55 on a record-breaking opening day
They gave themselves a fighting chance by dismissing India for 153 when the visitors lost six wickets for the addition of no runs, the first time that has happened in 147 years of Tests.
But India seamer Bumrah took 6-61 as the tourists bowled South Africa out in their second innings for 176 on the stroke of lunch on the second day to set up the win.
Bumrah bowled a superb probing line but also profited from poor shot selection from the home batters, who seemed in a hurry to score runs on the tricky wicket.
Opener Markram scored a quick-fire 106 as he defied the conditions but lost partners at regular intervals, which forced him to try his hand.
Markram raced to his century in 99 balls but played one big shot to many as he skyed a Mohammed Siraj delivery to Rohit Sharma at mid-off to end an innings of 17 fours and two sixes.
“A tough one for us. We were positive coming into the game, but the first innings with the bat, India bowled well and used the conditions to a tee,” South Africa captain Dean Elgar said after his final Test ended in disappointment.
“The wicket was a bit of a ripper – to the naked eye it looked a nice one – but it played different to what everyone thought it would play.
“I still don’t regret my decision to bat first but they outskilled us in the first session.”
South Africa had won the first Test by an innings and 32 runs.