That the Mohali Test was going to last under three days was almost a foregone conclusion after the opening day’s play. What remained to be seen was which team had the resources to exploit the conditions. On paper, India had the significant edge, but South Africa’s spinners also made an impressive impact. In the end though, India’s spin trio proved to be too good for South Africa. After the hosts collapsed in their second innings, Ravindra Jadeja followed up with a five-for, and Ravinchandran Ashwin claimed three as India strolled to victory by 108 runs.
Having been bowled for exactly 200, India had given the Proteas a chance of pushing for a win. They needed to play exceedingly well against the spinners to do so. They did not, and India won easily in the end. South Africa made a bizarre move of promoting Vernon Philander to open the innings. It did not work as Jadeja trapped him lbw with his first ball. Ashwin then dealt the Proteas with another big blow, getting Faf du Plessis to edge a flighted delivery. Jadeja then dismissed Hashim Amla, as the batsmen left a ball that hit middle stump.
The biggest challenge for India was too see the back of AB de Villiers, who came in and immediately found a couple of fours. But, Mishra got him for the second time in the match, beating his defence, and taking out the off-stump. That was the game clincher. When Dean Elgar was dismissed for 16, playing a stroke too early to a ball from Varun Aaron that refused to come on, the Proteas had lost five for 45. Stiaan van Zyl batted well for his 36, but Jadeja and Ashwin ran through the tail without much trouble.
Earlier, India began the day confidently, adding 36 runs in the first hour of play without losing a wicket. However, once South Africa got the crucial breakthrough, as Virat Kohli drove loosely outside off, all hell broke loose. India ended up losing eight wickets for 39 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara took his score to 77 when he was done in by Imran Tahir. Ajinkya Rahane then jabbed at Simon Harmer, and short leg took a sharp catch. Wriddhiman Saha hit three crucial fours in his 20, but all the bowlers fell in single-figure scores as India folded up for 200. Against an under-pressure South African batting, it was enough.
--By A Cricket Correspondent