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Ashwin, Mishra spin India to series-clinching victory

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin displayed his magic yet again to record a career-best figures of 7/66 as India clinched the four-match series against South Africa by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with an emphatic 124-run win in the third cricket Test.

Spinning a web of deceit, Ashwin had a superb match haul of 12 for 98, while leg spinner Amit Mishra claimed 3 for 51 as the hosts shot out the visitors for 185 in 89.5 overs in the second innings to wrap up the match 52 minutes after the tea session.

This was also Virat Kohli’s first Test series win as a

captain on home soil and also marked an end to South Africa’s track record of not losing a Test series away from home for nine long years.

South Africa needed to score 310 to score for a series- levelling win but woefully fell short of the target, unable to negotiate the Indian spin threat led by 29-year-old Ashwin who completed his 4th 10-wicket haul in a match in his 31st Test.

Ashwin’s second innings victims included three left- handers – the opening duo of Dean Elgar, Stiaan van Zyl and Jean-Paul Duminy – apart from the prize wicket of AB de Villiers, the visitors’ most successful batsman on this visit.

He fittingly took the last wicket, by clean bowling last man Morne Morkel through the gate in his final devastating spell of 4 for 16 in 19 balls.

However, it was Mishra, who got the important breakthrough in the second session to break the stubborn 72- run fifth wicket stand between rival captain Hashim Amla (39) and Faf du Plessis (39), the visitors’ highest of the match after their capitulation for their lowest-ever total against India of 79 in the first innings.

Mishra got rid of Amla to end the partnership and also packed off du Plessis soon afterwards before Ashwin polished off the tail with the second new ball in a devastating spell.

With India winning at Mohali and Nagpur and the game in Bengaluru being washed out, the teams will play the inconsequential final Test at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla from December 3.

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