India strengthened their position at the top of the table of ICC World Test Championship after yet another win, triumphing by 202 runs and an innings over South Africa in the third and final Test of the Freedom Series at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Tuesday.
Forging the result almost without a doubt on the third day of the Test itself with a superior pace attack, the hosts wrapped up things just two overs into the first session of the fourth day. South Africa had started the day on 132/8 after being enforced follow-on, with Anrich Nortje and concussion substitute Theunis de Bruyn. After de Bruyn was caught behind, Lungi Ngidi was caught and bowled by debutant Shahbaz Nadeem in the very next ball itself.
Just 12 balls into the fourth day of the Test, the already terrorised South African tailend capitulated after just adding one run to their tally, as they were bundled for 133. The Indian bowlers handed Virat Kohli the third win of the series in some style and dominance — a second successive innings win by India, having won the second Test in Pune by 137 runs and an innings.
Earlier, the clash for the Freedom Trophy saw a one-sided contest as the Indian bowlers scalped 16 wickets on the third day, bundling South Africa for just 162 in the first innings and then reducing the visitors to 132/8 before the play was stopped for bad light.
Chasing a massive lead of 497 in the first innings, South Africa crumbled under the seam attack of India, where Shami and Yadav combined to bag five wickets. Apart from Zubayr Hamza’s promising 62, the entire batting order of the visitors was a shambles as they were all-out in just 56.2 overs.
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There was no respite waiting for them in the second innings too, as Mohammed Shami (3/10) and Umesh Yadav (2/45) wreaked havoc straightaway with the new ball. Picking up 10 out of the 16 wickets that fell, India’s pacers did the most damage, leaving batsmen hanging in the deliveries’ wake.
Owing to Rohit Sharma’s maiden double-century and Shami-Yadav’s lethal pace attack which got them a total of 10 wickets, India proved why they sit at the top of the ICC Test rankings. With 240 points, India are the outright leaders in the table of ICC World Test Championships too, with New Zealand and Sri Lanka tied at the second spot with 60 points each.
India will again engage in red-ball action on November 14, hosting Bangladesh in a two-match series in Indore.