Cape Town [South Africa]: Pacer Vernon Philander’s career-best figures of 6-42 guided South Africa to a thumping 72-run victory over India with a day to spare in the opening Test of the three-match series here at Newlands on Monday.
Chasing a target of 208 runs to win, the Indian team failed to counter South Africa’s bowling attack once again and collapsed like a pack of cards.
Openers Murali Vijay (13) and Shikhar Dhawan (16) fell in quick succession, reducing India to 30-2.
The middle order soon followed suit, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, and Hardik Pandya, not being able to reach a double-figure mark.
Skipper Virat Kohli (28) made an effort to salvage the innings, but he too failed to convert his good start into a big score and fell cheaply, further reducing the total to 82-7.
All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin tried to steady his side’s innings along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the duo gathered 49 runs for the eighth wicket before the team was eventually bowled out for 135.
Ashwin’s 37-run knock off 53 balls was the highest score in India’s second innings.
For South Africa, Philander was the pick of the bowlers for his six-wicket haul, while Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada also added two wickets each to their accounts.
Earlier, resuming at the score of 65-2, South Africa lost their eight wickets for only 65 runs to eventually get bowled out for 130.
Though swashbuckling batsman AB de Villiers played some good shots, notching two boundaries and two sixes, he too was dismissed for lowly 35 runs, the highest score in South Africa’s second innings.
Mohammad Shami finished with the figures of three for 28, while Jasprit Bumrah claimed three for 29.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya took two wickets each.
The match also saw wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha script history as he punched 10 catches during the Test to set India’s new record.
With the feat, Saha snapped former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s record of nine stumpings. He bagged five catches in the first innings and repeated the same in the second on Monday.
With the win, South Africa have taken a 1-0 lead in the series. The two sides will now play their second Test from January 13 at Centurion. (ANI)