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Friday, July 20, 2018

Lungi Ngidi’s 6/39 crushes India, gives South Africa unassailable 2-0 series lead

Lungi Ngidi's sensational debut led South Africa to a memorable 135-run victory in the second Test at Centurion Park on Thursday.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: January 17, 2018 6:29:11 pm
Ngidi’s figures of 6/39 in the second innings left the Indian batsmen gasping for breath. (Source: AP)

Lungi Ngidi’s sensational debut led South Africa to a memorable 135-run victory in the second Test at Centurion Park on Thursday. 21-year-old Ngidi’s figures of 6/39 in the second innings, which was also the sixth best for South Africa on debut, left the Indian batsmen gasping for breath as they succumbed for a paltry 151 in the fourth innings to help South Africa clinch the Freedom Series, courtesy of an unassailable 2-0 lead. With this India’s run of nine series win also came to a grinding halt and they have now lost their first series under the leadership of Kohli.

On the final day of the second Test, India began proceedings with the score on 35/3, needing another 252 to win. With skipper Virat Kohli already back in the hut on day 4, it was always going to be an uphill task for the Indian side on Day 5. However, to the dismay of Indian fans, disaster struck early as Cheteshwar Pujara was run-out for 19 leaving India tottering at 49/4. Pujara also became the first Indian to be dismissed run-out in both innings of a Test. From thereon it was a matter of time as wickets fell like nine pins. Only Rohit Sharma provided a futile resistance with a well-made 47. His dismissal to Kagiso Rabada was the final nail in the coffin as the tail-enders could only survive for three more overs after him.

Since Kohli lost the toss on day one, India were always on the backfoot with the probability of having to bat last on a strip which was expected to produce an uneven bounce. The wicket, which was two-paced since the beginning of the match, became increasingly difficult to bat on as the match progressed. In the first inning’s Aiden Markram’s 94, Hashim Amla’s 82 and Faf du Plessis’s 63 helped the Proteas gain the upper hand as they posted a competitive 335.

A fantastic 153 by Virat Kohli which was also the Indian captain’s 21st Test hundred helped India post 307 in the first innings, handing the hosts a slender lead of 28. But what India will rue the most is the lack of support which Kohli received from the other end as none of the batsmen were able to last long and contribute much to the scoreboard.

However, it was on the fourth day that the wicket finally started misbehaving giving assistance to the seamers. Mohammad Shami was the wrecker-in-chief as he troubled the South African batsmen consistently. His spell of 4/49 helped India bowl out Africa for 258 but that was not before Du Plessis, Philander helped their side increase their lead past 250.

Chasing a stiff target of 287 on a deteriorating pitch was always going to be a difficult task. (Source: AP)

Chasing a stiff target of 287 on a deteriorating pitch was always going to be a difficult task and the loss of three wickets during the final session of Day 4 made the job even harder for the visitors. On the Day 5 when India began with Pujara and Parthiv Patel at the crease – the script was always pointing towards an Indian defeat unless a miracle could happen. Rohit’s Sharma’s meek resistance was not enough as the home team led by Ngidi snuffed out India’s challenge to hand Virat Kohli his first series loss as a captain.

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