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Shami, Jadeja deliver the crushing blow against South Africa in series opener
Match Report

Shami, Jadeja deliver the crushing blow against South Africa in series opener

Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja scythed through South Africa's batting line-up on the final day of the first Test match at Vizag to wrap up a comfortable 203-run win for hosts India.

In pursuit of the mammoth target of 395, the visitors lost their way early in the chase and were eventually dismissed for a paltry total of 191 following late-order resistance by Senuran Muthuswamy and Dane Piedt.

India have further strengthened their hold over the no. 1 spot in the World Test Championship Table after raising their tally of points to 160 as a result of this commandeering triumph.

Shami was the pick of the bowlers for India as he registered the fifth five-wicket haul of his Test career, getting the ball to shape in extravagantly on a worn-out pitch.

Meanwhile, Jadeja spun a web around the South African batsmen and tactfully exploited the conducive conditions for spin by picking up four wickets for 87 runs.

Although Shami and Jadeja shared the honours on day five, it was senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who struck first to send Theunis de Bruyn back to the pavilion.

In the process, Ashwin became the joint-fastest to 350 Test wickets alongside Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan.

Shami then hastened the tourists' collapse in the morning session by claiming three wickets in quick succession including the prized scalp of skipper Faf du Plessis, who had to depart for just 13.

Such was the potency of the high pace and accuracy maintained by Shami throughout his fiery spells that four of the dismissals he enacted penetrated the defences and grazed the wickets, one of which also managed to break the stump in two.

Following Shami's bowling heroics, Jadeja landed the ball in the right areas to induce false strokes from the batsmen and succeeded soon by taking three wickets in one over.

Heading to the lunch break with eight batsmen back in the hut, South Africa's hopes of saving the game effectively diminished.

A 91-run partnership between Piedt and debutant Muthuswamy for the ninth wicket only delayed India's victory charge before Shami returned to disrupt the frustrating stand.

He also got the better of the last man Kagiso Rabada to spark exuberant celebrations in the Indian camp, who go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Test sixes record broken

India's dominant position in the match was set by Rohit Sharma in his maiden outing as a Test opener.

Sharma struck a century in each innings of the game with splendid contributions of 176 and 127.

His superb knocks along with Mayank Agarwal's double ton in the first innings ensured India remained on track for a crushing win.

"Once you have 500 on the board, it's difficult for the opposition. Mayank and Rohit played brilliantly," India skipper Virat Kohli said in the aftermath of his side's victory.

Sharma, India's white-ball specialist, smashed 13 sixes across the two innings, breaking the past record of 12 held by Pakistan's legendary all-rounder Wasim Akram.

A total of 37 maximums were witnessed during the match - the most in any game, surpassing the previous-best of 35 in the clash between Pakistan and New Zealand in the 2014-15 series.

Batsmen from both teams often opted for the aerial route on a pitch with uneven bounce.

The next Test will be conducted in Pune starting October 10.

 

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