The commendable performance of star Indian pacer Ravichandran Ashwin brings the hosts right back into the game. The classic right-arm off-spinner wrapped up South Africa’s first innings show at 431 runs on the fourth day of the first Test. The 33-year-old who successfully bagged a fifer for his team on the third day of ongoing series clinched two more crucial wickets of Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Vizag. As a result, hosts bundled out the whole team of Proteas on Saturday in the first innings. With this emphatic win, India has now taken a 71-run lead for the second innings.
Earlier in the day third of the Test opener, the hosts faced many ups and downs against the strong opponents as Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock scored their respective centuries in the game to ensure Proteas win at the end. But fortunately, Ashwin held the reigns of the drowning Indian ship and stopped Faf du Plessis’s troop 385/8 on stumps.
With just two wickets left in the bag, Proteas started their fourth day on a positive note as both Keshav Maharaj and Senuran Muthusamy tried their best to chase down the 503 run target against India. But as long as Ashwin is playing for India, Proteas win could not be possible. Within a few hours of starting the brilliant pacer sent Keshav Maharaj off the field at 123.4 over. Maharaj earned just nine runs off 31 balls for his team. This was then followed by Rabada’s dismissal from the match and eventually, India won the first innings by 71-run lead. Despite the incredible efforts of Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock, South Africa faced a disappointing defeat at Indian soil.
The explosive openers of men in blue Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal are now looking forward to another path-breaking start on Saturday. It will be interesting to see whether the hosts will be able to give a tough competition to Proteas in the second innings or visitors will turn around the tables in their favour. However, Indians are all set for a perfect head-start in the next session.