South Africa's bowlers had struggled for two days to take just nine wickets. However, India's bowlers, in one and a half days, have taken 18 wickets. This major difference has been the story of India's dominance against South Africa. A thorough all-round performance by the bowlers, led by the pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav and well backed up by Ravindra Jadeja and debutant Shahbaz Nadeem helped India come closer to a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi on Monday.
Throughout the series, South Africa have been outbowled and outbatted and on day three, the trend continued. In fact, India asserted their dominance in the very first over with Umesh Yadav sending back skipper Faf du Plessis with a brilliant legcutter. Zubayr Hamza and Temba Bavuma, though, had other ideas and they proceeded to attack the Indian bowling. Hamza, in particular, looked composed and solid and there were flashes of Hashim Amla in the way how he approached the batting. Bavuma looked composed and for the first time after Vizag, a South African batting duo had shown application.
Hamza notched up his fifty with a big six off Nadeem and signalled that he is one for the future. If South Africa thought they had withstood trial by pace, they were put to the sword by spin. Ravindra Jadeja set things in motion by sending back the well-set Hamza with a flatter delivery that zipped through and drifted in to breach his defences. The left-armer then accounted for Heinrich Klassen with a brilliant delivery that spun away and hit off stump.
The pressure generated by Jadeja gave Shahbaz Nadeem his first Test wicket as Bavuma was stumped by a delivery that dipped and turned away from him. However, in this series, the tail has managed to frustrate India and in Ranchi, it was George Linde and Anrich Nortje's turn as they survived 17 overs. The resistance ended when Linde edged Umesh to Rohit Sharma at slip and Nadeem got his second with the wicket of Nortje.Â
With a lead of 335, it was a no-brainer for Virat Kohli to enforce the follow-on for the eighth time in his captaincy career. Umesh and Shami continued to produce magic. Umesh got rid of Quinton de Kock with a delivery that straightened on off stump and Hamza was undone by a Shami delivery that held its line at pace. When du Plessis and Bavuma were sent back by Shami, the writing was on the wall.
South Africa's batting woes continued after Dean Elgar was hit on the helmet by Umesh and was ruled out for the remainder of the Test. Theunis de Bruyn was the concussion substitute and he shared a solid stand with Linde before the left-hander was run-out thanks to a direct hit from Nadeem from square leg. de Bruyn and Piedt held firm but when Piedt fell to Jadeja towards the fag end of the day, it all but sealed India's win. Kagiso Rabada and de Bruyn hung in and when Ashwin got rid of Rabada, play was extended by 30 minutes to take the remaining two wickets.Â
However, de Bruyn held firm but the light deteriorated and the players walked off which meant that the match was extended to the fourth day. The lessons of 2015 have not been learnt and in 2019, South Africa have been given an even harsher lesson.