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Bumrah, Siraj guide India to historic first-ever Test win in Cape Town; level series 1-1 against South Africa

Team India achieved their first-ever win in Tests in Cape Town in their seventh appearance at the venue as the visitors levelled the two-match series 1-1. The match was completed in 107 overs, which is the shortest for a Test that ended in a result as India won by 7 wickets on Day 2 itself.

Written By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Updated on: January 04, 2024 18:22 IST
India beat South Africa by 7 wickets to achieve its
Image Source : GETTY India beat South Africa by 7 wickets to achieve its first-ever Test win in Cape Town as the visitors levelled the series 1-1

Team India's Cape Town drought in Test cricket finally came to an end the two-time World Test Championship finalists won for the first time at the Newlands as the series decider against South Africa ended in just two days itself. The second Test between India and South Africa was also the shortest completed game in the longest format with the match reaching its destination in just 107 overs as India chased the small target of 79 runs down with 7 wickets in hand as the Rohit Sharma-led side levelled the two-match series 1-1.

It was a bizarre game as the ball kept flying around or keeping low or doing all the things it did at the Newlands and naturally, it saw two bowlers take a six-wicket haul each and one century and all of it happened in just 642 deliveries. But, as captain Dean Elgar admitted, the first session on the first day killed the game itself where South Africa were bowled out for just 55. Mohammed Siraj ran riotby bowling consistently in that channel of uncertainty outside the off-stump. Since the balls were rising outrageously from even the full and good lengths, the pitch did the rest for the bowlers.

Yes, it wasn't a 55 all-out wicket and that's why Siraj's spell was of such quality. Apart from two batters, no one crossed 10 as Siraj registered his career-best figures taking 6/15 with Jasprit Bumrah and Mukesh Kumar chipping in with a couple of wickets each. At 153/4, India were looking to bat South Africa out of the game with a set Virat Kohli and first game's centurion KL Rahul in the middle. Rohit Sharma had given a good start and even though Nandre Burger had gotten three quick wickets, India were on course to take a lead over 180.

However, what followed was a bizarre period of play of 15 minutes where India lost six wickets within 11 deliveries without scoring a single run. It happened for the first time in international cricket when a team lost six wickets on the same score. From 153/4, India went to 153 all out with a 98-run lead, which proved to be vital in the context.

The pitch with the uneven bounce was difficult for the batters and wasn't going to improve and the batters had to apply themselves a bit better, which they did. South African openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar denied India wickets for the first 10 overs in the second innings before Mukesh Kumar struck twice to lead India's comeback.

The first morning of the second day belonged to Jasprit Bumrah, who added five more wickets to his solitary scalp late on the first day to register his third five-wicket haul in South Africa and second in Cape Town, the very venue where he made his debut in 2018. Bumrah ended up with the figures of 6/61 but the highlight of the third innings was Markram.

On a pitch where the batters were finding it hard to play a front-foot defence properly, here was Markram scoring a scintillating 99-ball century to keep South Africa in the hunt. Markram did extremely well to delay the inevitable but he too eventually fell to Siraj as South Africa were bowled out for 176. India were set a target of 79 runs which the openers Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal looked to chase down quickly.

Jaiswal's party was crashed by Nandre Burger as he scored a 23-ball 28 while Rohit stayed unbeaten till the end to see India through. India lost a couple of more wickets in the form of Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli, India's standout batter in the first innings, but got home with Shreyas Iyer scoring the winning runs.

This is the first time that India have levelled a series in South Africa since 2010/11 and even though they couldn't win it, will be glad to breach the Newlands fortress. Team India next play a Test series at home against England starting January 25.

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